The Weekend Australian - Review - - Profile - Tim Dou­glas

The earth may not have moved un­der her feet, nor did the sky come tum­bling down, but singer Es­ther Han­naford prob­a­bly wished she had on more than a bathrobe when the Prime Min­is­ter popped back­stage to meet her in Syd­ney last Satur­day night. The Help­mann award win­ner had just stepped out of the shower fol­low­ing her open­ing-night per­for­mance as Ca­role King in the mu­si­cal Beau­ti­ful when Mal­colm Turn­bull and wife Lucy ven­tured be­yond the prosce­nium arch to con­grat­u­late her on a tri­umphant (and it was) per­for­mance. The PM is not a reg­u­lar at mu­si­cal the­atre, so his ap­pear­ance was some­thing of a coup for pro­ducer Michael Cas­sel and team. It re­mains to be seen if Turn­bull will ac­cept his in­vi­ta­tion to the Syd­ney open­ing of the far more ir­rev­er­ent The Book of Mor­mon in Fe­bru­ary. One thing, how­ever, is cer­tain: mu­si­cal the­atre is boom­ing. There is now an as­ton­ish­ing four-year book­ing back­log in lo­cal the­atres for main­stage mu­si­cals, and with Broad­way in par­tic­u­lar push­ing out more shows than pro­duc­ers here can stage, the genre is go­ing nowhere in a hurry. It’s all jazz hands on deck un­til fur­ther no­tice. Darryn King meets cabaret king Tay­lor Mac (pages 12-13) in San Fran­cisco for today’s cover story. Mac’s epic A 24-Decade His­tory of Pop­u­lar Mu­sic — billed as a mod­ern Ring cy­cle — will form the cen­tre­piece of Melbourne Fes­ti­val, which opens this week. It’s fair to say Mac has a far more lib­eral world view than Wag­ner did, and the in­spi­ra­tions for his work, as told to King, are truly rev­e­la­tory. Front and cen­tre in the in­aus­pi­cious com­mem­o­ra­tions de­part­ment is the fact today marks the 226th an­niver­sary of the premiere in Vi­enna of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. That in it­self might be com­pletely un­re­mark­able were it not for two hap­pen­stances. First is our chat (op­po­site) with 14-karat golden flute-play­ing lu­mi­nary Em­manuel Pahud; and sec­ond that Syd­ney Con­ser­va­to­rium is next month restag­ing the clas­sic Michael Gow pro­duc­tion of Die Zauber­flote, fea­tur­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of oper­atic talent. At $40 a ticket, it is surely worth the price of ad­mis­sion for any­one in­ter­ested in the fu­ture of the art form.

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