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09 October, 2018

Culture and tulips in the Southern Highlands.

One does not have to travel to Sydney as the arts come to the Southern Highlands on a regular basis.  Ruddigore is one of the least known Gilbert and Sullivan works but is a dark classic, famous for patter songs.  It originally ran in London in 1887 for 300 performances and earned Mr Gilbert 6000 pounds.  I last saw it in Armidale, NSW, in 1965!  The Bundanoon Soldiers’ Hall performance on Sat 29th September was full and frolicsome.  G&S were forerunners of today’s West End and Broadway musicals. 

Selby and Friends concerts continue in Mittagong and Bowral, returning to their original location, now fully refurbished, at Chevalier College in 2019.  Every two months for many years renowned pianist Kathryn Selby has brought three or four virtuoso musicians for a chamber concert centring on Beethoven but featuring many others from before and since including some contemporary works.  The concerts are always an entertainment and often an education as well, ideally timed for 5pm on Saturday evenings.  Next concert is Sat 13 October. 

The Australian Haydn Ensemble continue their performances, the latest at Kangaloon Hall on Sat 6th October with the same program played the following day at the Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room (Winx on the sails!).  This featured an important 19th century genre being transcriptions of full symphonic works for smaller groups of instruments.  This was the only way most people living away from the big centres (as most did) would ever hear the great symphonies of Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and others.  We were treated to a wonderful performance of Beethoven’s first symphony in C by 6 string instruments plus flute.  It was brilliant, being both familiar and different at the same time.  

Local born pianist Andrew Rumsey has been doing a popular French duet program around the towns too including the Rose Room in Burradoo.  Too much on for me to get there but it must have been fun. 

I have seen the tulips in Bowral each week for the past several and while some beds are over their peak, there are still lots to see … and finally the double Japanese cherry is starting to flower.  With some light rain, nobody is complaining. 

Best wishes to locals and visitors alike. 

Andrew Byrne ..