Xenia Hanusiak reports from the Sydney Festival in Australia, probing in depth provocative creations offered by composer Liza Lim and pianist Bernadette Harvey.
About Xenia Hanusiak
As an opera singer, writer, cultural commentator, curator, and diplomat, Xenia Hanusiak contributes to the stage, the page, and the intervals in between. Xenia holds a PhD in Literature, two degrees in classical music, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Theatre, Literature, Art History). Her collection of essays, feature articles, commentaries and columns have appeared in The Age, The Australian, ABC, South China Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Boston Globe, and specialist literary and music publications such as Music and Literature and La Scena Musicale.
Entries by Xenia Hanusiak
Interdisciplinary artists Janis Brenner and Muyassar Kurdi talk to Xenia Hanusiak about intergenerational collaboration, the vitality of laughter, and “Movement on Film,” their joint project at Areté Venue & Gallery.
Drawing upon two recent albums and welcoming a handful of well-chosen guests, the pianist Lara Downes celebrated the 200th anniversary of Clara Schumann’s birthday in a National Sawdust recital.
At the 2019 ONE Festival mounted by Opera Omaha in April, individual vision combined with collaborative effort to create a broad range of successful, memorable experiences, Xenia Hanusiak reports.
Xenia Hanusiak reports on a new touring work by Laurie Anderson, ‘The Language of the Future,’ presented in collaboration with the German ensemble Zeitkratzer at the Ultima festival in Oslo.
For every musician, their instrument is their most prized possession. For refugees, this instrument can also be the passport to freedom and safety. This was the case for Syrian musician Mariela Shaker, whose violin became her entrée card to the United States. At the National Sawdust/Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts co-presentation of the Canales Project’s program “Between Two Worlds,” Shaker brought her experiences to the stage through story and sonata.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported on a gala event held in New York, meant to raise funds to bring a Chinese panda to the city. Meanwhile, in The Guardian Vladimir Ashkenazy called upon British musicians to maintain artistic relationships with Europe, despite any potential barriers imposed by Brexit. Each case illustrates a different approach undertaken to dissolve borders. Both exemplify “soft power.”
Having completed its fifth year, the Prototype festival is a success. But in applauding a festival for its vision, we can also ponder uncomfortable questions, some of which might be unanswerable. What do we expect from a 21st-century opera? Does it have a cultural obligation to the representation of gender? What is its role in advocacy? Is it possible to be progressive and retrospective at the same time?
I am on my way to see a workshop of a “new performing edition” of Handel’s four-hour opera Ariodante, the vision of director R. B. Schlather and musical director Geoffrey McDonald. I am nervous and slightly cynical about what “new” means to an opera composed in 1734, and how contemporary rhetoric keeps sending the message that opera is dead and everyone needs to bring it back to life. Am I going to another post-modern memorial service?