Donald McDonald rss

The Sleeping Beauty: The Australian Ballet

Culture buff

5 September 2015

It is not possible to imagine classical ballet without the music of Tchaikovsky. The scores of his three full length ballets provide the dramatic impetus and emotional underpinning of the… Read more

Vadim Gluzman

Culture buff

29 August 2015

The oldest professional orchestra in Australia with the longest continuous history, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will next year celebrate its 120th anniversary. Its founder and first conductor, Alberto Zelman was,… Read more

Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh in The Present

Culture buff

22 August 2015

Last week’s opening by the Sydney Theatre Company of The Present was a high water mark in its history. Adapted from Chekhov by the Artistic Director, Andrew Upton with a… Read more

Edvard Grieg and Gerard Willems

Culture buff

15 August 2015

‘I Love a Piano’ sang Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, courtesy of Irving Berlin, in Easter Parade. So do most people, none more so than Wayne Stuart, who designed, invented… Read more


Culture buff

8 August 2015

It was at a Ball at the Trocadero in August 1955, sixty years ago this month, that I first heard it live; ‘Rock Around the Clock’ changed everything. The film… Read more


Culture buff

1 August 2015

It is an out and out masterpiece so any new production of The Marriage of Figaro matters a great deal. Opera Australia is opening a new production at the Sydney… Read more


Culture buff

25 July 2015

It’s the play with no name, literally. Chekhov’s first play, written in 1878, was never completed despite its estimated five hour length, was never edited or published and it remained… Read more

Packing Room Prize 2015 winner: Bruno Jean Grasswill

Culture buff

18 July 2015

It was a sparkling winter morning when the Art Gallery of NSW revealed the 47 finalists for the Archibald Prize together with those for the Wynne and Sulman Prizes. There’s… Read more

“Journey”.  Distributed by Sony Entertainment.

Culture buff

11 July 2015

My 18-year old consultant can’t understand why I haven’t written a column about games – video and computer games, that is. The numbers are impressive; last year the Australian games… Read more

SDC De Novo, Emergence. Photo by Peter Greig

Culture buff

4 July 2015

They’re just recovering in Adelaide from the sold-out success of the Cabaret Festival which was directed by the wonderful, endlessly talented Barry Humphreys. But more quality (and fun) is on… Read more

Hadleigh Adams

Culture Buff

27 June 2015

This is a very operatic time in Sydney; the SSO has just done Tristan & Isolde, OA has opened it’s Winter Season with Turadot and now Pinchgut Opera is presenting… Read more

Tristan and Isolde soprano Christine Brewer

Culture Buff

20 June 2015

Surely the most luxuriously sensual of all operas, Tristan & Isolde makes voyeurs of us all.   This opera is being brought back to the Opera House by the Sydney Symphony… Read more

William Dobell at Wangi Wangi - now Dobell House

Culture Buff

13 June 2015

Bill Dobell is back in town. At least an aspect of his output, titled Painter in Paradise: William Dobell in New Guinea, is on show at the S H Ervin… Read more

Young woman trying on earrings 1657, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Dutch 1606–1669) The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (Acquired, 1781 from the collection of the ‘Comte’ de Baudouin, Paris)

Culture buff

6 June 2015

Another announcement: more cultural infrastructure to dramatically increase the exhibition space at the Art Gallery of NSW. The architects are Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa who were once engaged to… Read more

Stefan Jackiw

Culture Buff

30 May 2015

Forty years ago I predicted an imminent Mendelsshon revival; I’m still waiting. This month brought a false dawn; at the Opera House the Ballet was presenting The Dream to Mendelsshon’s… Read more

Portrait of William Bligh, in master’s uniform c.1776 attributed to John Webber R.A. (1751-1793) oil on canvas Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra. Purchased with funds provided by the Liangis family 2015.

Culture Buff

23 May 2015

The Laird’s House at Skara Brae on Orkney overlooks the Neolithic settlement, uncovered in a huge storm in 1850. Predating Stonehenge, nothing is really known yet about its prehistoric inhabitants.… Read more

Diego Torre as Don Carlos, Milijana Nikolic as Princess Eboli, José Carbó as Rodrego, Count of Posa

Culture buff

16 May 2015

Elijah Moshinsky is back in town, in Melbourne, where it all began. Responsible for the most insightful and beautiful productions presented by Opera Australia in the ‘80s and ‘90s which… Read more


Culture buff

9 May 2015

By any measure it was a glamorous auction. The auctioneer was Mark Politmore, aka 7th Baron Poltimore, Deputy Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe and a regular guest on Antiques Roadshow. He… Read more

Piotr Anderszewski

Culture buff

2 May 2015

Sensible birds fly to the warmth in the winter. Humans, not being birds and not always sensible, have to make special plans to escape the cold. Sensible music-lovers can fly… Read more


Culture buff

25 April 2015

The garbage bins from MTC’s production of Endgame are being packed away at the Southbank Theatre to make room for something completely different and much more energetic. It’s the Sydney… Read more

Christopher Lowrey as Gernando, Emily Fons as Faramondo

Culture buff

18 April 2015

A baroque music festival in Hobart sounded right with particularly appropriate settings such as the Theatre Royal and the pretty Town Hall. But this exotic bird has flown north to… Read more

Helen Garner

Culture buff

11 April 2015

Writers’ Festivals may well be taking over the world. Worse things could happen but their expanding scale and level of public support is fascinating. Perhaps it’s a manifestation of the… Read more


Culture Buff

4 April 2015

The Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn was greatly loved by our generation and several before us. It is derived from his incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which premiered… Read more


Culture Buff

28 March 2015

We’re all keen on infrastructure at the moment so it’s worth remembering what an astounding impact the Suez Canal made when opened in 1869. Cairo’s Royal Opera had opened just… Read more

Hugo Weaving by James Green

Culture buff

21 March 2015

In her memoir Must You Go?, Antonia Fraser records an exchange between her husband Harold Pinter and Samuel Beckett in Paris in 1984. ‘Pinter to Beckett after talking for some… Read more