Monday, 18 July 2011

Appreciating the arts.

I went to see Dr Zhivago on stage at Queensland Performing Arts Centre yesterday.
 Australia is hosting the premier of this new musical
so when it was announced that it would be coming to Brisbane, well, I just had to go.

photo and information about the Australian Dr Zhivago link 
It was wonderful...

When the interval lights came up I realised that I had been holding my breath - it was that mesmerising. When the final act was over I was sniffling away with quite a few of my fellow theatre goers! Considering that this is a brand new, just been written production, it flowed beautifully from scene to scene re-telling the history of Russia at the start of the last century. Throw in a love story and you have a winner.

As I was brought up in Wales I was spoilt for choice with the musical talents on offer there. Consequently I think I probably have pretty high standards of expectations when I pay my money to go to the theatre. I wasn't disappointed yesterday. The music was at times quite breathtaking with plenty of power from a relatively small cast. The leads were spot on and each performer held the audience when they sang.
(Dr Zhivago opened in Sydney in February and has also played in Melbourne. The Brisbane season will end on August 14th and I don't think that there are any further locations planned at this time.)

Whenever there is an opportunity to go to the theatre or to a musical performance, be that a large scale touring production or a local amateur group I'm usually pretty keen. Thinking back, my love of drama, theatre and music was nurtured from an early age. From what I know about my family, music, poetry and performance was in their blood.
I wrote a post a few months ago about treasured books from past generations and it was no surprise to me that many of these books were associated with music and poetry.  (link here)

Apart from the family connection, I also think that my education and in particular some wonderful teachers shaped and influenced my appreciation of the arts.
  • I can still remember the thrill of being able to join the school choir with Miss Williams when I got to 'juniors' in primary.
  • One night a week I went to the Welsh equivalent of youth club called 'Urdd' and we would all huddle around the piano with the gentle Mrs Watkins teaching us some of her amazing compositions of 'cerdd dant' (where you sing a counter melody over another melody)
  • Talking of pianos, I had an ancient piano teacher called Mr Allen who had the most enormous cat that took up the whole seat of an armchair. Mr Allen used to scold me for letting my nails grow and making ticking noises on the piano keys...
  • Then there was Novella the eccentric harp teacher with the colourful clothes with matching tights and shoes...she also didn't want you to grow your nails!
  • During my high school years the arts became a part of everyday life - dancing with Miss Davies, singing and music with Mrs Rowlands, and drama with Mrs Edwards, - I loved it. I was lucky enough to be part of the first group to take 'A' Level (final/yr12/13) Drama through the medium of Welsh - that was 25 years ago ...25 years?? I can't believe it!! Mrs Edwards was an amazing drama teacher with a real passion for giving us a full understanding of performing arts. Theatre trips were a constant addition to curriculum studies - everything from contemporary dance to Henrik Ibsen. It all came alive during that time.
I could write and write until tomorrow and the day after about all the memories
that are just flooding back as I'm sitting here...

I'm sure that the seed to appreciate the arts was already there,
but those fantastic teachers allowed it to grow and nourished that growth than continues to this day.

Thank you...diolch.

6 Comments and thoughts:

  1. I've heard that Dr Zhivago is just brilliant. And it must be good for it to make you think about your past music teachers. xx

  2. I loved the novel Dr Zhivago, it was one of the first grown up novels I really loved, so the musical version sounds perfect to me.

  3. Thank you for the review. I will go see it when it comes to north America
    You had a wonderful art education in Wales.

  4. Oh i just found your blog, big fan of the Welsh!! I adore your love spoon in your title, it's gorgeous. I have a humble one from when i was a child, it's still one of my favourite things. Love Posie

  5. I love going to the theatre and I know exactly the feeling of holding your breath! I was (incredibly) lucky to see Les Miserables in the West End of London earlier this year and it was just amazing. (I had never seen it when it was touring in Australia).
    My piano teacher hated long nails too! Melissa x

  6. we were so lucky to have eisteddfods and dedicated teachers and parents to shunt us around to various clubs. Still love singing, nothing beats a collective singing experience and having moved from a private school in th Uk where we sand every week in chapel, I am missing the hymns in my life....what a great grounding we had in many things, one of my enduring legacies from Mr Wynn is a love of debate and public speaking. Any theatre now has to be v high quality to meet my expectations!!