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Wednesday, December 08, 2004
A Huntington review

Yesterday, I said that there wasn’t much on the net about the Huntington Estate Music Festival. Just for fun, I googled again and found a review by ‘The Times’ music critic, Hugh Canning. It covered this year’s performances and I urge you to read it. (I’m afraid I wasn't able to provide the link for a while, but here it is now.

I suppose I can agree with a lot of what Hugh Canning says, so let’s deal firstly today with what appears ro be a bit of an anomaly, shall we? (We’ll leave the other bits for ‘later’.)

There is a very old Peter Sellers (not 'Peter Sellars', the opera dirctor) film, adapted from a novel I’ve read – the details escape me – called ‘Only Two Can Play’. It’s very amusing, and even better on recent watching. Sellers plays a sometime theatre critic, opposite a spoiled and wilful Mai Zetterling. She drags him away halfway through a play for some ‘activity’ – I dunno what. He expects to be able to complete his review from knowledge of the play’s first half and the local playwright’s turgid style. This he does and files his copy which duly appears in print the next day. Alas, unbeknownst to our rutting couple, the theatre burns down before the second half starts.

So what has this got to do with Hugh Canning’s piece? Well, he seems to have got his stuff published mighty soon after the event. His review seems to appear in ‘The Australian’ dated 5th (or was it 6th which would exonerate him?)December but several of the major contributions to the Festival were only performed on the 5th and ‘The Australian’ carries a mention of one and a review of another. These were Mozart’s E flat K452 Quintet for Piano and Winds and Bach’s Cantata ‘Ich habe genug’. Canning writes:
Any festival that offers… Mozart's sublime Piano and Wind Quintet (Neal Peres da Costa and the ACO wind principals) gets my vote.
I suppose we must allow him that, but it would have been nice to read about the performance (beautiful). Canning also writes, rather haughtily:
Rhodes's gravely beautiful account of Bach's solo bass cantata Ich habe genug (I have now enough) with the ACO strings brought the festival to a moving close.
What if the winery had burnt down or the programme/artists had been changed? What if Teddy Tahu Rhodes had given a poor or indifferent performance? (He didn’t: see last Josh.) Can Murdoch’s journalists really file copy that quickly or am I suffering from delusions brought on by driving all night?

Teddy Tahu Rhodes was indubitably one of the major stars of this year’s Huntington Variety Show. In 2005, he is scheduled to appear with Australian Opera as Don Giovanni, a perfect role for him, and as Papageno with WNO in the UK. I, for one, will be trying to catch him in Cardiff or wherever. If you have the opportunity, don’t miss him.

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