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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents -

THERE is a pretty ob­vi­ous so­lu­tion to Opera Australia’s empty seat prob­lems and the cost of stag­ing mas­sive pro­duc­tions in con­ven­tional the­atres (‘‘O brave new world’’, Jan­uary 21-22): move su­perb con­tem­po­rary op­eras such as Of

Mice and Men into smaller venues — Syd­ney’s Car­riage works, for ex­am­ple — more suited to work that tra­di­tional au­di­ences will not sup­port; and de­velop part­ner­ships with schools and youth or­gan­i­sa­tions to pass on un­sold seats free or for a nom­i­nal charge on the day of the per­for­mance, thus build­ing new au­di­ences and avoid­ing the dispir­it­ingly reg­u­lar sight of un­filled seats, even for pop­u­lar works from the reper­toire. Gil­lian Ap­ple­ton Leura, NSW Ed’s note: It was in­deed de­press­ing to see Of Mice and Men fail to find a big au­di­ence. It had

yourview@theaus­tralian.com.au from An­thony Dean Grif­fey one of the great per­for­mances of the year.) I RE­ALLY en­joyed Bron­wyn Wat­son’s story on Tiepolo’s The

Ban­quet of Cleopa­tra (Public Works, Jan­uary 14-15). It’s a great picture. When Ken­neth Clark vis­ited the Na­tional Gallery of Vic­to­ria in 1948 I think he de­scribed it as ‘‘as an iso­lated ex­am­ple of the splen­did’’ and I be­lieve the NGV got un­der the guard of the Na­tional Gallery in London, beat­ing them to it. I al­ways en­joy Wat­son and Christopher Allen. Larry Fo­ley Fre­man­tle, Western Australia A BRIL­LIANT ac­tress she may be, but Is­abelle Hup­pert’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ten­nessee Wil­liams’s A Street­car

named De­sire is wor­ry­ingly in­cor­rect (‘‘La belle Hup­pert’’, Jan­uary 14-15). Blanche Dubois does not fall in love with her sis­ter’s hus­band Stan­ley. The con­trary is true: she de­spises and fears him. The love and at­ten­tion she craves is from her sis­ter, Stella, and it is the strug­gle be­tween Blanche and Stan­ley for as­cen­dancy in this love that forms the core of the play. [Hup­pert will ap­pear in a mod­ern-day ver­sion at the Ade­laide Fes­ti­val.] Stan­ley’s bru­tal rape of Blanche and Stella’s de­lib­er­ate choice to sac­ri­fice Blanche and be­lieve Stan­ley’s sub­se­quent de­nial of the rape in or­der to save her mar­riage is his ul­ti­mate vic­tory over Blanche. To de­pict Blanche as lov­ing Stan­ley is a com­plete (and trite) dis­tor­tion of the play’s in­ten­tions. R. Dou­glas Prospect, South Australia I AM an ad­mirer of the writ­ings of Colleen Mccul­lough (‘‘Af­ter the best­seller, the del­uge’’, Jan­uary 14-15), be­cause she is an Aus­tralian writer of world class, and be­cause of the prodi­gious re­search, ef­fort and de­tail she put into the Mas­ters of Rome se­ries. In her lat­est bi­og­ra­phy,

Life with­out the bor­ing bits, I won­der if she re­gards readers who write to her as some of the bor­ing bits. Decades ago, I wrote to her in that idyl­lic Nor­folk Is­land home sug­gest­ing a theme for a novel; I got no re­ply. Years later, and giv­ing her the ben­e­fit of my doubts, I wrote again. This time I got a curt re­ply from her sec­re­tary. Ken Moore Glam­or­gan Vale, Queens­land To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, let­ters must con­tain an ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters may be edited for length and clar­ity.

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