news & views
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
email@example.com 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.