In the spring of 1801, Ludwig van Beethoven completed the ballet, the Creatures of Prometheus based on Salvatore Viganò’s storyline.

The ballet premiered on 28 March 1801 at the Burgtheater in Vienna with 28 performances. It was premiered in New York at the Park Theatre on 14 June 1808, one of the first full length works by Beethoven to be performed in the United States. It is the only full length ballet by Beethoven.

The Australian premier of Beethoven’s 220 years old music and ballet was a matinee performance on 20 November 2022 at the Twelfth Night Theatre, Brisbane. The ballet was historically reconstructed from the 1801 performance with new choreography by Queenslander, Jayden Grogan.

Lucas D. Lynch, conductor and producer informed the audience he was inspired to share Beethoven’s ballet with Australia after hearing the music for the first time, 14 years earlier.

The plot follows Prometheus stealing fire from Zeus to spark life into two clay figures, thereby creating humankind.

Mostly set on Mount Parnassus, the man and woman encounter a multitude of characters from Greek mythology during their journey from birth through education to their wedding:

  • Apollo (god of music, dance, the Sun, light, and poetry)
  • Amphion (built Thebes with the power of music) playing harp
  • Euterpe (delight) playing flute
  • Orpheus (legendary musician) playing cello
  • Mars (god of war)
  • Melpomene (muse of tragedy)
  • Thalia (one of the three graces)
  • Dionysus (god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, wine, fruit, and theatre)
  • Silenus (drunken god of wine)
  • Pan (god of the wild, rustic music and companion of nymphs)

We were fortunate to be able to enjoy this spectacular production firsthand. The balance of comedy and tragedy against Beethoven’s powerfully sublime music was awe inspiring!

2067

Sitting in the garden, gazing at the seemingly erratic flight of a black- white splodged butterfly, I thought, self indulgently, I don’t spend enough time creating!

A glance at the pictures on my phone presented a shot of last night’s Netflix movie on pause. Taken through a gold banded champagne flute.

2067, an Australian dystopian tale of synthetic oxygen sickness and time travel, delivered perfectly.

Much digital wizardry; manipulating perspective, colour and tone, yielded a satisfactory image, herewith posted.

Holiday Monday Ghoul

I’m pleased with the second attempt, more ghoul, less demon.

Finding inspiration in the unusual, I could not resist this image cast on the floor, through last night’s wine decanter.

The first attempt was more imagined, something was eager to be released.

Flowers

In this time of limited travel, physical distancing and quarantine, I wonder if picking, buying and giving flowers are allowed.

Instead, I sketched some for you. I hope you enjoy them as much I enjoyed creating them.

Wishing you, warmth, healing energy, and golden light.

Somewhere over the rainbow

The KLM flight landed just after 6am at Kingsford Smith Airport, twenty years ago, today. The morning was very much like the one today, around 17oC and a huge blue sky.

We had spent the previous month in a heightened state of anxiety; a mixture of panic and excitement. We had packed up our home, shipped it to Australia, furnished the apartment we were letting out, and farewelled our dear friends and family.

The final scenes in the UK are etched on our memories. Friends sat waiting with us until the last moment when we needed to go through passport control and security at Birmingham International Airport. The usual chatter felt somehow constrained by what was about to happen.

This prelude culminated in a long walk of goodbye, amongst tears flowing freely, while carrying more hand luggage than a pack horse would carry in its lifetime.

The relief of taking our seats on the plane to Amsterdam, where we were to pick up an international connection to the Far East, was overwhelming.

Time has dimmed the memory of the stopover in Singapore and the flight to Sydney.

Why is it significant to mark this milestone? It is an opportunity for us to reflect on our choice to make the journey over the rainbow, to become immigrants and aliens in a foreign land. The fact that we have lived over 54% of our adult lives, to date, in Australia is an indication of commitment, at least.

We plan to review our decision over dinner, this evening.

Excerpt from the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, lyrics by Yip Harburg:

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I have heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops

Way above the chimney tops that’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly

Birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can’t I?

Walking

Untitled bronze sculpture, group of figures by Bert Flugelman, 1964, UNSW Sydney, Australia. Taken while traversing the University campus. 

In a previous post I wrote about my dilemma of finding the best way to travel to work on public transport. I think I have the answer. 

The M10 from Leichhardt runs around every ten minutes in the morning. The journey time is between 45 minutes and one hour, depending on traffic. This trip pays a dividend in the form of exercise time. Ten minutes walking from home to bus stop on the flat followed by ten minutes through campus, mostly uphill. 

According to The Conversation I need to walk at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes for five days per week. The remaining 10 minutes can be achieved on the trip home by either alighting two stops early or catching buses whose routes don’t pass the end of our road. 

Any walking I do during the day is a bonus!

Blue Line

Blue Line, 1919

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887 – 1984) America. 

Oil on canvas. 

Part of an exhibition of modernist artists with Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.