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Brisbane Baroque – Dido and Aeneas, Purcell’s Masterpiece

Dido abandoned

Dido Abandoned by Andrea Saachi

At Brisbane during the Brisbane Baroque Festival to be held 10 – 18th April, 2015, there is a sumptuous program of glorious music on offer in key venues across the city.

Seventeenth century English composer Henry Purcell’s delightful and only true opera Dido and Aeneas takes little more than an hour to perform, but it will be sure to ‘banish sorrow’ and ‘shake the cloud from off your brow’.

Baroque music united all that this virtuoso era offered, especially when musical melody was exploited by the human voice in powerful performances of sensuous beauty and soaring vitality.

Henry Purcell (1659-95) is considered one of the greatest of the Baroque period and one of the greatest of all English composers. Affectionately dubbed Orpheus Britannicus when he died, just like his namesake he charmed all with the beauty and divine nature of his music with its bold harmonic forms.

Henry_Purcell_by_John_Closterman

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) by John Closterman – courtesy National Portrait Gallery, London

He started his career in music as a chorister in the Chapel Royal during the restoration and reign of Charles II (1630 – 1685).

Purcell with great creativity exploited the possibilities of poetic expression and orchestral colour and he combined brilliantly philosophical thought and musical aesthetics to render and translate into music the passions, preferences and affections of modern man.

During his all too short life he provided a number of verse anthems and full anthems for the liturgy of the Church of England with sublime settings of the Morning and Evening Service, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Te Deum and Jubilate.

One of the greatest and most rewarding joys of my life has been singing these sublime sacred works to his music in choir.

He also wrote in a wide variety of musical forms ranging from miniature pieces for harpsichord to large-scale works for the court and the theatre, although his genius as a composer for the stage was hampered by there being no public opera in London during his lifetime.

His earliest surviving compositions date from 1680 his theatre music, in particular, made his name familiar to many who knew nothing of his church music or the songs he wrote for the court.

Canticum-Choir-Brisbane

Canticum Choir led by Emily Cox at Brisbane

Indeed one of the most important musical developments in Restoration London was the gradual establishment of regular public concert.

Presenting this masterpiece in concertante form under the magnificent dome of Brisbane’s City Hall, will be a cast of youthful Australian artists, featuring some of Australia’s finest emerging young soloists, members of Brisbane’s Canticum Chamber Choir

Accompanied by the splendid Orchestra of the Antipodes, whose musicians play on original instruments and led by Brisbane Baroque’s Music Director, Erin Helyard, Dido and Aeneas will be a highlight of this year’s festival

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NGV, Shifting Gear: Design Innovation and the Australian Car

Holden 1

GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY, Detroit (manufacturer) United States est. 1908 GM HOLDEN LTD, Adelaide (coachbuilder) est. 1931 Pontiac all-enclosed coupe (Silver Streak) 1938 body designed Hartley Chaplin and Tom Wylie Collection of Violet Cecil, Melbourne

Time to shift into Top Gear to celebrate the future of design and architecture at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) where, for the first time, an Australian art institution will showcase the Australian car industry.

Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 6 March 2015 to 12 July 2015.

From the days of the horseless carriage through to today’s refined and most efficient mean machine, this is the story of the designers and engineers who made the car industry in Australia so great.

Muscle cars, racing cars and performance vehicles will be on display alongside ephemera and memorabilia, employed to both uncover the stories behind the scenes and to help celebrate the most compelling moments in the history of Australian automotive design.

Enthusiasts will have a fabulous time.

Rear Pontiac 1938

GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY, Detroit (manufacturer) United States est. 1908 GM HOLDEN LTD, Adelaide (coachbuilder) est. 1931 Pontiac all-enclosed coupe (Silver Streak) 1938 body designed Hartley Chaplin and Tom Wylie Collection of Violet Cecil, Melbourne

Aussie icons like the FJ, the Chrysler Charger, and the Holden Monaro will feature alongside the great Aussie Ute, fair dinkum, an Aussie bloke’s style accessory. The Tarrant Roadster, the first petrol car produced for sale in Australia and demonstrate the remarkable design talents of those who sought to establish a car industry in this country. The  two-seater roadster designed by Harley Tarrant was the first production car built in Victoria and first petrol driven car for sale. Then there isan Elfin Streamliner 1961, an integral part of an ongoing tradition of manufacturing since 1957 at the Elfin Sports Cars Company of Adelaide.

2005 EFIJY concept

GM HOLDEN LTD, Melbourne (manufacturer) est. 1931 Holden Efijy coupe, concept car 2005 designed by Richard Ferlazzo and GM Australia Design Collection of GM Holden Ltd, Melbourne

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, “Shifting Gear will be the first major exhibition of Australian car design and is exclusive to the NGV. As part of the NGV’s commitment to showcasing design this exhibition will uncover how the modern automobile is far more than simply a means of transport; it is a sophisticated design object that reflects contemporary aesthetics and social values.”

Opening Weekend: The Past Present and Future of Car Design will be under discussion. Such was their success overall that both General Motors-Holden and Ford have retained centres for design excellence in Australia, despite their companies ceasing to manufacture here.

Shifting Gear guest curator Harriet Edquist, Director of the RMIT Design Archives, commented that Australia has an astonishingly vibrant history of ingenious car designs. ‘The exhibition shows the diversity and ingenuity of Australian automobile design…’ said Professor Edquist.

Families and friends will be able to enjoy a great field trip day out together…

2005 Holden Efijy Concept

GM HOLDEN LTD, Melbourne (manufacturer) est. 1931 Holden Efijy coupe, concept car 2005 designed by Richard Ferlazzo and GM Australia Design Collection of GM Holden Ltd, Melbourne

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