Living in Tasmania stories
Hobart parties on after a fine Baroque
Hobart Baroque doubled attendances and drew excellent reviews in April and the city is now gearing up for Savour Tasmania in May, Dark Mofo – with a spectacular light show – in June and then the Festival of Voices in July.
Savour Tasmania’s 2014 celebration will begin first, opening on 21 May in TMAG’s Watergate Court with a Tasmanian-style whole roasted pig and cocktails.
Attendees will sample the handiwork of PorkStar chef Daniel Wilson of Huxtable in Melbourne, Jesse Gerner from Bomba in Melbourne, Matteo Rao of the Italian Pantry and Waji Spiby of Waji Catering.
Wilson, uses Tasmanian ingredients routinely at his restaurant, but will be making his first visit to the State. “Tasmania’s produce really is the world’s best produce,” he said.
The Asian theme of this year’s event will permeate a five-course dinner on 22 May at Henry’s in the Henry Jones Art Hotel. The host’s Executive Chef, Andre Kropp, will collaborate with Will Meyrick of Sarong and Mama San in Bali and E&O (Eastern + Oriental) in Jakarta. The popular Long Table Dinner will be staged at PW1 on Saturday 24 May, with further Asian dishes from Meyrick, as well as from Sydney’s Dan Hong and Christopher Shane and Melbourne’s Chan Yai Ching. Local chefs Cheryl and Naser Daci of Daci and Daci will serve up some surprises.
A Rare Food and Cider event and a Red Wine Weekend will be among other Savour happenings that are sure to bring local and interstate foodies to the table.
On Friday 30 and Saturday 31 May, Wilson and another noted interstate chef, Jesse Gerner, will join forces to create two memorable six-course meals with matched wines in Burnie. The talented duo will apply their own signature flair to local produce at Bayviews restaurant.
Hobart’s waterfront will be transformed in June following a decision by Hydro Tasmania to partner the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) and the City of Hobart to deliver a Dark Mofo highlight.
A huge installation, Articulated Intersect, will light up the sky from dusk to dawn and be visible over a 15-kilometre radius.
The public will be invited to use lever-controllers on the ground to manipulate powerful searchlights to create their own light sculptures in the sky.
Created by Mexican-born artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Articulated Intersect is an interactive artwork from the collection of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. Hydro Tasmania CEO Steve Davy said: “We are proud to partner with MONA to present this amazing piece of public art as a forerunner to a program of events and initiatives later in the year to celebrate Hydro’s centenary.”
Dark Mofo, the wintery step-child of the museum’s popular annual summer festival Mona Foma, will be staged in Hobart from 12-22 June.
The inaugural Dark Mofo last year attracted more than 128,000 visitors over 10 days in the traditionally low point of the tourism cycle.
This year there will again be music, art, food and noise, as well as lights.
Lovers of drone metal will enjoy a triple-bill featuring genre connoisseurs SUNN O))), American experimental heavy rock group Earth and Canadian metal four-piece Veil of Darkness.
The Bronx will be paired with Australia’s High Tension, and another triple-treat show starring The Gin Club with guitarists Jeff Land and Mick Thomas.
American filmmaker David Lynch will present the Texan singer-songwriter Chrysta Bell, while a popular US childrens’ TV show Yo Gabba Gabba Live! will also make the trip to Hobart.
Twelve days after Dark MoFo wraps up, the 10th annual Festival of Voices will trill into life on 4 July.
The headline acts will be leading Australian singer/songwriters, Ben Lee and Clare Bowditch, along with America’s a cappella champions, The Exchange.
The 10-day festival will spill across the city, taking advantage of the best venues and locations and ensuring the community is involved.
Festival CEO, Paul Kooperman, said: “We are thrilled to include exclusive opportunities for singers from all over Australia to come to Hobart and work with our headliners Ben Lee, Clare Bowditch and The Exchange.
“Yes, they will be performing but to be able to work so closely with these major artists is unique to our festival and a rare, exciting opportunity for singers of all levels of ability, ambition and background.”
Australia’s biggest singing event will again involve individual songsters and choirs. It will encompass contemporary and classical music, choral and cabaret, gospel spirituals, story-telling and hip hop, attracting music lovers from across Australia and keeping Hobart in the national spotlight.
The Tasmanian capital enjoyed a tourism injection and an excellent PR dividend from the second Hobart Baroque in March.
Visitors attracted to the festival from interstate and overseas doubled, as did ticket sales. More than 8,500 enjoyed the centrepiece opera Orlando.
Writing for the Brisbane Times website, Michael Shmith enthused: “Hobart is indeed the place for a festival, particularly a Baroque one. Somehow, the further south you go in this world the purer the music sounds.”
A focused and charming production of Handel’s 1733 opera, Orlando, was wonderfully performed, directed and designed, according to Shmith.
“Moreover, it fitted the glorious interior of the Theatre Royal, which was built just 126 years after Orlando was composed, almost as if it had been written with the architectural and acoustical specifics of this auditorium in mind.
“Never mind that this production was originally for a bigger, wider stage (it originated from the Glimmerglass Festival, in upstate New York), Hobart was Orlando’s town.”
In other Baroque events, Shmith described Catalan countertenor Xavier Sabata’s voice as “a cocktail of smoke and steel”.
He thought the technique, artistry and poise of Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva, 24, to be proof that divas are born, not made through experience.
“All in all, Hobart Baroque provided three nights of marvellous music in the ideal setting. Leo Schofield and Jarrod Carland are on to a winner, and I hope Tasmania’s new government realises what a gift it has.”
Does that suggest an interstate bidding war is looming?
Meanwhile, the inaugural Festival of Golden Words at Beaconsfield sold out almost all its paid sessions and packed out two marquees for its free events.
More than 70 well-known writers were involved in the 16-event weekend festival in March.
Organisers are now considering whether the festival should be an annual or bi-annual event.
In Launceston, the Encore Theatre Company production of The Phantom of the Opera attracted a record 10,022 people to the Princess Theatre over its three-week season.
“We are clearly over the moon [about the way] northern Tasmania has taken this production to its heart,” Director Belinda King said.
Encore’s next blockbuster production will be War of the Worlds.
Image courtesy of Dark Mofo
1 May 2014, Edition 149