I was asked by The West Australian to compile my top five concerts for 2015 and I thought I’d share my list with online readers too. It was an interesting process. Turns out 2015 has been a big year for opera in Perth (or maybe my opera-bias is showing?!). It was also a good reminder of the diversity of Perth’s classical scene.
The list is below in no particular order and includes one disappointment too.
Top Five Concerts
*PIAF The Rabbits: I loved this all-age opera. The Tan/Marsden allegory of rabbits colonising a land of marsupials was told with uncomfortable directness using a vibrant mix of art forms including pop artist Kate Miller-Heidke singing her own compositions.
*LOST & FOUND In the Shadow of Venus: I can still picture soprano Sara Macliver driving a convertible through Northbridge piazza with her FIFO husband. LOST & FOUND opera productions have become the subject of dinner-time conversation; this is how to keep the art form alive.
*Burt Bacharach: I will always remember watching this music legend perform songs that have become the soundtrack to our lives. The 87 year old closed the concert with a new song, his voice thick with emotion as he sang: ‘The day will come when I will have to leave you/ But I will leave the best of me with you.’
*Decibel: After Julia: Eight women composers commissioned to ‘sound out’ a response to Julia Gillard’s tenure as prime minister. The result, performed by Decibel ensemble in April, was an incisive example of music as social commentary.
*WASO Brahms Festival: The genius of Asher Fisch as he contoured both the micro spaces between phrases and the macro sweep of Brahms’ symphonies creating music that was tender, life-affirming and majestic.
*Australian Chamber Orchestra Reflections on Gallipoli:
This montage of horrific photographs, brutal storytelling and troubling music revealed how much the Australian art scene cashed in on ANZAC funding without pausing to culturally critique this dark part of our history. A black spot on the ACO’s normally outstanding concert series.
What were your favourite gigs this year? Or your biggest disappointment?
Head to The West to see what other critics thought.
Happy New Year to everyone and see you at a show next year!