Top 10 Australia Culture On this week 30/08/2020 (COVID-19 EDITION)

Keep your chin up. Your neck’s gotten fatter and angles help.


10) Viennese Night

1st September

What: Clink your glasses to an evening of champagne-filled romance and melody featuring excerpts from Franz Lehár’s most popular titles such as The Merry Widow, The Land of Smiles and Giuditta, as well as music by fellow creators of the ‘Silver Age’ of Viennese operetta – and excerpts from the most enduring and popular operetta of them all, Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus (‘The Bat’). The ever-stylish BBC Concert Orchestra graces the stage, under its Principal Conductor Bramwell Tovey.

Why: Vienna waits for you. And it’s uncomfortably shrill at many points. Billy Joel really should’ve been more clear about that.


9) Salford Quays

3rd September

What: Omer Meir Wellber, the BBC Philharmonic’s Chief Conductor, is a keen fan of Haydn. ‘Apart from period-instrument ensembles,’ the conductor notes, ‘hardly anyone plays him much these days, and bigger orchestras need to be able to play his music. I’m going to be conducting a lot of Haydn with the BBC Philharmonic.’ Accordingly, two Haydn works will frame the programme of this live performance – the overture to Philemon und Baucis, a puppet play written in 1773 for the Esterházy court; and the Symphony No. 80, composed 11 years later at the height of the composer’s international fame.

Why: Add a sweeping symphonic element to your nightmares that feature puppets.


8) White Fragility: Beyond The Echo Chamber

31st August

What: African American workshop facilitator Nanette D. Massey of Buffalo, N.Y., believes we are way beyond holding hands when it comes to talking about race. This is your chance to contextualise race and equity from an unfiltered, real world, lived experience rather than a theoretical framework that only “echoes” back what you think you already know. The goal is to leave audiences with self-clarity and the ability to participate in conversations within their own personal spheres of influence with genuine confidence, humour, and humility.

Why: Try to be less of an idiot than you were yesterday.


7) Playing Doubles

4th September

What: The cavernous Royal Albert Hall auditorium is an ideal space to explore the clean harmonies and the decorative melodies of the Baroque concerto. Period-instrument ensemble the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is joined by leading violinists Nicola Benedetti and Alina Ibragimova (the latter a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist) to perform two-violin concertos by Vivaldi and Bach – Bach’s concerto being composed following a study of Vivaldi.

Why: Bach on Vivaldi with an intimate, aggressive fiddle.


6) City Halls, Glasgow

6th September

What: This commission is from Glasgow-based composer Jay Capperauld. Expressed in the context of the recurring 24-hour process that regulates our sleeping patterns, Circadian Refrains (172 Days Until Dawn) is Capperauld’s orchestral response to the cyclical nature of lockdown, enforced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why: Bet you never thought the sound of your brain slowly untethering itself in corona isolation would sound so goddamn sophisticated.


5) Brian Stelter in Conversation with Judd Apatow

2nd September

What: Brian Stelter is the chief media correspondent for CNN Worldwide and anchor of Reliable Sources, which examines the world’s top media stories every Sunday. Prior to joining CNN in 2013, Stelter was a media reporter at The New York Times. Judd Apatow, one of the most sought-after comedic minds in the industry, has directed, produced and written many of the biggest comedy films and hit TV shows of the last two decades. They will be discussing Stelter’s new book, “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth”.

Why: The famous guy behind The 40 Year-Old Virgin and a multimillionaire former CNN host. Two voices that really need to be amplified right now.


4) Anoushka Shankar: New Explorations 

5th September

What: Boundary-crossing, multi-Grammy-nominated sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar returns to the Proms, showcasing two of her most recent collaborations. In the centenary year of her father Ravi Shankar’s birth and with the aim of presenting ‘ragas and the sitar in a new light’, she combines recordings of some of his works both with her own sitar improvisations and with live electronics by composer/producer Gold Panda.

Why: Shan-KAR. Groovy man.


3) Laura Marling and 12 Ensemble 

7th September

What: Featuring brand-new string arrangements performed by the London-based 12 Ensemble – whose collaborators include The National and Max Richter – this Prom journeys through the back catalogue of folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling, whose recent live performance the Guardian described as ‘like being dosed with a vitamin I had been leaving out of my diet’. The BRIT Award winner and four-time Mercury Prize nominee takes the Royal Albert Hall stage for a one-off acoustic retrospective. Songs from her latest album including Fortune and the album’s title-track, Song for Our Daughter, sit alongside those from earlier albums including Alas, I Cannot Swim – released when Marling was just 18.

Why: The magnesium of folk artists.


2) An Evening with Jon Meacham

4th September

What: Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer, a contributing writer for The New York Times Book Review and a contributing editor of Time magazine. John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and his teachers in nonviolence, Reverend James Lawson and Martin Luther King, Jr., to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

Why: A vitally important figure of recent history whose legacy has been meticulously deconstructed by a man who has done actual research. It’s basically porn.


1) Ron Funches: Awakening

6th September

What: Combustion Live brings you comedian Ron Funches. In his first global comedy stand-up event, actor-comedian Ron Funches (Harley Quinn, Bojack Horseman, Bob’s Burgers, Final Space, Conan) offers his optimistic but realistic views on the changes in his personal life and the world at large.

Why: He’s been in everything you love and also New Girl. Every resume has a black spot.

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