One of the great joys of my life was watching Steven Heathcote represent a Prince on stage many times during his wonderful career with the Australian Ballet. From what I understand from friends in the know he is truly a Prince among men as well.
News came across my desk recently that Steven Heathcote had returned to teach a whole new generation how to dance the Russian icon Swan Lake, a ballet composed by Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky in 1875-76, which inspired my thoughts on what is a Prince?
Swan Lake is a tragic tale of love and life about the lovely Princess Odette turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer. The only way for the spell to be broken is by the power of eternal love.
Prince Siegfried is the man also chosen to save the ‘Queen of the Swans’ but despite his best efforts the whole thing ends messily as the lovers drown themselves in a lake. Although we are all heartened to know they are reunited forever, even if only in death.
It’s perhaps the downside of Cinderella.
Some day my prince will come
Some day we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go
To be happy forever I know
In embracing ‘modern’ culture and talking to young women around the town when I am out and about I find there is a propensity to believe the idea of a Prince arriving to ‘save them’ still prevails.
Promotional jargon and powerful imagery seems to be pushing all the goal posts far beyond old boundaries, telling me that a Princess is what most men want too, preferably one that looks like a supermodel or a glamorous actress in Hollywood.
Even scarier is the idea both may want and demand a relationship that offers more than ’50 shades of grey’.
And now another new movie Cinderella is back to guide them.
The difference is that in the 1950 musical, which certainly dazzled me, the figures were animated.
This time Lily James an actress young women all know as the rebellious Lady Rose in the period drama Downton Abbey on TV , is now a real life Cinderella albeit a woman who has promised her mother she will always be kind.
Sitting next to a gaggle of gorgeous young girls in a café recently who had seen the movie was illuminating. All the chairs were so close I couldn’t help but hear their conversation about the type of Prince Charming they idolized.
Goodness I thought have times not really changed as I have been led to believe?
We have certainly looked at a lot of women of influence in our time, and the occasional man of power and perception here on the ‘Circle’.
So is it socially and culturally a good time to re-evaluate what being a Prince among men is really all about or to at least promote some sort of discussion about it?
I’m wishing (I’m wishing) for the one I love
To find me (to find me) today
And the prince answers Snow White: Today!
Things that go bump in the night or inanimate objects which suddenly leap into life have never really piqued my interest until I read Michael Schmicker’s new book, The Witch of Napoli, which is among the top 100 best sellers on Amazon.
Suspenseful and a huge amount of fun the central character is Alessandra Poverelli, a medium whose skill at contacting the spirit world has come to the attention of believers in psychic phenomena and sceptics who aim to prove Alessandra is just like all mediums – a fake.
Of historical interest The Witch of Napoli is set in Naples in 1899 amidst a lively, mostly poverty-stricken Neapolitan society eager for the next sensational event to be reported in lurid detail by tabloids of the day.
The story is narrated by Tomasso Labelli, a young photographer, who attends a Spiritualist séance.
He is hoping to improve his standing with his newspaper editor by taking photos which pander to the public’s latest fad: communicating with the dead.
He is not disappointed.
The séance is conducted by the unconventionally beautiful medium, Alessandra Poverelli. Alessandra has garnered a rep amongst wealthy recently bereaved Neapolitans as a medium who can deliver and deliver Alessandra does – when the table she is sitting at levitates Tomasso clicks into action and takes a shot which changes both their lives forever.
Alessandra and her ability to invoke the spirit world captured in black and white, Tomasso’s photograph is front page news and so is Alessandra.
Camillo Lombardi, a wealthy Jewish psychiatrist, arrives in Naples to investigate. Camillo convenes a séance to see whether Alessandra has the gift of second sight or whether her gift lies somewhere between trickery and illusion.
Convinced Alessandra is the real deal when the ghost of his dead mother makes an appearance, Camillo puts a proposal to Alessandra: he will finance a tour of the Continent, to prove to scientists and sceptics alike that her psychic powers are genuine thereby establishing a new branch of scientific research.
Alessandra’s mother died when she was six years old, her father, murdered not long after, she escaped village life to live a precarious existence on the streets of Naples.
This tragic beginning to Alessandra’s life is compounded by her marriage to the local Mafia boss, Pigotti, a thug who beats her and steals the money she earns from séances.
Author Michael Schmicker (pictured) has provided a creative description of late nineteenth century to early twentieth century European life skilfully and convincingly written, the séances are both intriguing and exciting.
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Last week I really just scratched the surface of the talent that was showcased at Fashion Palette 2015 held at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney.
This week I look at the next four designers who impressed the audience with their sensational style, all of whom were captured so superbly by my colleague Sydney photographer Steven Godbee.
Let’s start with the first of the two swimwear labels who were included on the runway, Aqua Blu,
Established in 2000, this Sydney label creates an extensive range of contemporary separates and fabulous prints.
Catering for sizes 8 to 18, they also provide fuller cup fittings so every woman can find her …
In a wonderful spirit of Trans-Tasman collaboration, The Choir of Newman College at the University of Melbourne is going to New Zealand to sing up a storm and more with some of the locals. The choir will join forces with the renowned New Zealand ensemble the Affetto Players directed by Gary Ekkel for the Main Event – performing Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers, which was first realised in the glorious surroundings of St Mark’s at Venice.
A celebrated New Zealand early music ensemble, the Affetto Players will support the Bass solisit and Director of the Choir of Queen’s College as they bring to the fore innovative works by Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643). On Violin Miranda Hutton & Cathy Shuggs (Melbourne), Cornetto Danny Lucin (Melbourne) & Peter Reid, Sackbut John Gluyas, Grant Sinclair & Pablo Ruiz Henao and Gamba Polly Sussex with Organ David McFarlane (Melbourne).
Twin tenors Daniel and Matthew Thomson will join Netherlands Radio choir soloist Helen Thomson on Tuesday for the program commencing April 7, 7:30 pm at St Peter Cathedral, Hamilton, then Wednesday April 8, 7:30 pm at St Matthew in the City, Auckland, Friday April 10, 7:30 pm at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, Saturday April 11, 12:30 pm at Oamaru Basilica and finally Sunday April 12, 2:00 pm at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Christchurch BOOKINGS eventfinda
At St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin on April 9, 7:30 pm selected soloists Polly Sussex will also feature on Viola da Gamba and David Macfarlane on harpsichord and organ in a special presentation Les Ombres Silencieuses, Music of the French Baroque. The event is in honour of the musicians who played in the court chapel for King Louis XIV (1638 – 1715).
David McFarlane will be playing the Cathedral’s main organ, which was built with some 3500 pipes by the legendary family of builders Henry Willis III in 1919 and installed in 1920. This program will include works by the most important French composer of his generation Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s La reniement du Saint-Pierre and Meditations pour la Careme, as well as French viol player and composer Marin Marais’ splendid tribute to his master Tombeau pour Monsieur de Lully. BOOKINGS eventfinda
What is a Prince, why are girls still looking for one to carry them off - instead should they be out there looking for his shoe instead - what are they made of?
Rio Tinto is paying Victorian student entry costs to NGV Melbourne's exhibition A Golden Age of China to learn about another culture's evolution through its art
A landmark exhibition Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy on show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from April 20 – July 26, 2015
Going out on a Bang with Bach at Brisbane Baroque 2015 sounds like a great way to end a great week of musical performance under the rotunda @ Brisbane City Hall
The Orchid Show, an annual event at The New York Botanical Garden is showcasing 'chandelier's' in 2015 so look up and enjoy glorious orchids in bloom for Spring