I was very much looking forward to this concert which brought together the Romantic geniuses of John Keats and Franz Schubert. These two contemporary artists of the early 19th century never met in person and both died at just 26 and 31 years of age respectively. This was an era where life was short for most but with Keats and Schubert, just long enough for their passion, talent and insight to inflame the world hundreds of years after with their majestic poetry and music.
Entering the stage together, John Bell and Simon Tedeschi acted as protagonist for Keats and Schubert respectively. At times alone, at other times together, Bell’s poetry readings dovetailed Tedeschi’s stormy and lyrical Schubert offerings, which in turn, illuminated the similarly passionate outbursts and insights of Keats’ poetry. There were too many highlights to mention but I did enjoy very much Bell’s readings of Ode to Autumn, When I Have Fears and Ode to a Nightingale and Tedeschi’s performances of the Schubert Impromptu No 1 from Op 90 and the Adagio from the “Wanderer” Fantasy.
The evening reached its climax with the concluding stanzas of Keats’ Bright Star and the magical pianissimo of Schubert’s music. This was a memorable event where two simple recital formats, spoken words from the stage and solo piano were presented in perfect harmony.
Hoang Pham reviewed Bright Star at Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre Monday September 24, 2018.
More about Bright Star, from the presenter Musica Viva Australia
Australian theatre icon, John Bell AO OBE and internationally acclaimed pianist Simon Tedeschi renew their triumphant partnership with Bright Star, exploring the life, love and genius of two bright stars of the Romantic era – John Keats and Franz Schubert. Though they never met, these contemporaneous geniuses of literature and music were kindred spirits: both died young, having loved a woman beyond his reach due to her superior social standing, and both created masterpieces which still resonate strongly today.
Performing some of the most beloved poems of Keats including ‘Bright Star’, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, and music by Schubert including Ave Maria, Winterreise and Sonata no.18 in G major (‘Fantasie’), Bell and Tedeschi share their insights into the enduring power of these timeless works, and the lives of the artists who created them.
Bright Star available from September 2018
Travel to centres in regional NSW is subsidised through the support of Arts NSW. Musica Viva can book the artists, arrange all travel and accommodation, provide posters, flyers and program information.
If you are interested in bringing an ensemble to your town or city, please contact: