Donald McDonald rss

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


Culture buff

1 November 2014

I’m oversensitive to criticism of Australia by famous authors. Richard Flanagan, elated at winning the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North, proceeded to tell British… Read more


Culture buff

25 October 2014

A highly successful tour of European festivals is a great boost to an orchestra. Not just to morale but to performance standards. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has enjoyed those benefits… Read more

James Green

Culture buff

18 October 2014

Happy is the theatre company that can enjoy the regular services of a genuine international star, as admired on stage as she is on film. Cate Blanchett’s commitment has extended… Read more


Culture Buff

11 October 2014

I’ve never entirely understood why big cities have arts festivals. Melbourne and Sydney are both big cities by any international comparison and yet they spend considerable sums to stage festivals.… Read more


Culture Buff

4 October 2014

He was born into Australian ballet aristocracy but now lives in Houston. Stanton Welch is the son of Marilyn Jones and Garth Welch, two of this country’s greatest and most… Read more


Culture Buff

27 September 2014

It all began in the mid-1960s for the Brilliant Creatures: Germaine, Clive, Barry & Bob, now given de luxe treatment in a two part documentary on the ABC. Germaine Greer,… Read more


Culture Buff

20 September 2014

It’s chamber orchestras at 20 paces. Both the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra have recently announced their programs for 2015; they want your business. Both present multiple… Read more


Culture Buff

13 September 2014

The village of Bibbenluke sits at the point where the Monaro Highway crosses the Bombala River. It’s beautiful, remote,  and harsh country; home to Lucy Culliton, one of the most… Read more


Culture Buff

6 September 2014

After a red-carpeted fanfare the Emmy Awards were announced last week in LA.  There is no hope for me; my suburban tastes confirmed by the fact that I watch none… Read more


Culture Buff

30 August 2014

Oh dear, the Helpmann Awards have come round again. The winners were announced in Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, a most appropriate setting. The Live Performance industry body is to be commended… Read more


Culture buff

23 August 2014

I was hung once, in the Archibald, that is. Paul Newton, having been commissioned to paint me by the ABC, entered the resulting portrait in the Archibald Prize of 2008.… Read more


Culture buff

16 August 2014

Popes come and popes go but generally not after only 33 days; which is what happened to Albino Luciani, elected Pope John Paul 1 in August ‘78. Once on the… Read more

‘No-Tin (Wind), a Chippewa Chief’ (1832) by Henry Inman (detail)

Leave plenty to the imagination

1 February 2014

It seems they’re all the go at the moment; major historical survey shows, that is. There was Australia at the Royal Academy, London (too late, you’ve missed it; it closed… Read more


Conqueror on College Street

12 January 2013

It turns out that the least remarkable thing about Alexander the Great was his sexuality. Having been admired to the point of veneration for more than 2,000 years, Alexander’s star… Read more

Could the BBC fiasco happen here?

24 November 2012

On 11 and 12 November, the ABC aired the docudrama Devil’s Dust about the James Hardie asbestos case. As drama it was very high-quality with uniformly excellent performances, direction and… Read more

Traveller’s Diary

3 November 2012

Sailing up the River Neva towards St Petersburg (or Petrograd, or Leningrad) must have filled visitors with expectation and apprehension for more than 300 years. Created out of swamp land… Read more


3 December 2011

Cate Blanchett is starring in Gross und Klein (Big and Small) at the Sydney Theatre. Written in 1978 by Botho Strauss, one might wonder why this exercise in German Cold… Read more

What’s ailing Aunty

13 August 2011

It has been said by its leadership that the times suit the ABC. That may be true, but it is relevant to ask whether the ABC suits the times. The… Read more

Foreign notes

23 July 2011

The cruise was to begin at Piraeus, the port for Athens. We had arrived there two days earlier to deal with my Virgo anxieties that we might miss the departure… Read more

An emperor among galleries

1 January 2011

It is extraordinary that objects, the like of which one hasn’t seen for 27 years, should seem so familiar. This is surely a testament to the impact the terracotta warriors… Read more