Donald McDonald rss

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

Choragic Monument, Royal Botanic Gardens

Culture buff

14 March 2015

Nowadays we don’t often look to modern Greece for inspiration except for its physical beauty and the charm of its people. But the Ancients were another matter, still providing inspiration… Read more


Culture buff

7 March 2015

So familiar, Miriam Margolyes seems like one of us. Well, she is actually, because she took out Oz citizenship and lives here (at least at Robertson, NSW) for part of… Read more


Culture Buff

28 February 2015

Adelaide is the perfect festival city and its once biennial, now annual, Festival has been the pace setter for others around the country. Last year ticket buyers from outside South… Read more

Robyn Nevin by James Green

Culture buff

14 February 2015

He gave himself the name ‘Tennessee’; a creative and public relations masterstroke for a still unknown 28 year-old writer. Born Thomas Lanier Williams in New Orleans in 1911, he died… Read more

The Giants  Pascal Victor - Artcomart - Royal de Luxe - Nantes 2009

Culture buff

7 February 2015

Readers already know from this column something of the forthcoming Perth International Festival (13 Feb-7 Mar) with its huge Journey of the Giants street marionettes from Royal de Luxe in… Read more


Culture buff

31 January 2015

Possibly in the most beautiful setting of any theatre in the world, Sydney’s Wharf Theatre saw its first performances 30 years ago. On 17 January 1985, the Sydney Theatre Company… Read more

Alexander McCall Smith: Photo: Graham Clark

Culture buff

24 January 2015

This is a great time of the year to make progress with that stack of unread books. One of my daughter’s gifts was What W.H. Auden Can Do For You… Read more


Culture buff

17 January 2015

Wanting to love it was not enough; Mr Turner just didn’t quite do it for me. Mike Leigh’s new film about JW Turner proves that looking intriguing and beautiful isn’t… Read more

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Photo: Brooke Holm

Culture buff

10 January 2015

Not many people would still argue that fashion, as in garments, has no place in an art museum. After all, the way that people decorate their bodies with clothing and… Read more


Culture buff

3 January 2015

I’m a bit perplexed about a current Christmas (perhaps I should say Xmas) craze. This is not a moan from a grumpy old man who didn’t find what he wanted… Read more

Anthony Minghella’s Madama Butterfly in Perth from 24 Feb

Culture buff

13 December 2014

The arts are alive and well heading into 2015   To follow a career in the performing arts, which I did for over four decades, you need to be a… Read more


Culture buff

6 December 2014

We’ve established that capital city festivals are for other people. Their principal purpose is to bring people into the city, not only tourists but people from the regions and the… Read more


Culture Buff

29 November 2014

John Hearder was a society photographer whose studio and display window were on Castlereagh Street between Rowe Street and the old Theatre Royal. In late December 1958 the display was… Read more


Culture Buff

22 November 2014

Andy Warhol is the star but Roy Lichtenstein is the master. That’s the quick take out of POP TO POPISM which is the current show at the Art Gallery of… Read more


Culture buff

15 November 2014

Jane Turner is to play a mother with a difficult daughter. No, it’s not a stage version of Kath & Kim, it’s a West End hit play, part of the… Read more