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August 4, 2015

The best way to unplug in Adelaide

Everything is happening at the same time, everywhere and you need to know about it all! If this sounds familiar then you should seriously consider a trip to see the ASO in Town Hall and reset your mind with some all-encompassing Mahler this weekend.

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  • 01: ASO Principal Conductor – Nicholas Carter
  • 02: Ben Folds with the ASO late last year courtesy Chickenhawk34
  • 03: Freddie "much chest" Mercury
  • 04: Cellist Li-Wei Qin
  • Words: Joshua Fanning

Freddie Mercury wanted it all, and he wanted it now, but there’s a reason why the Queen front man moved from Rock and Roll to Opera with Barcelona – he didn’t “want to make another boring rock album”.

Of course rock music has developed since Queen and the pop charts have been filled with new sounds, incredible ingenuity and infectious hooks but what Mercury might have been alluding to, is also what Ben Folds is saying today: it’s hard to make better music than that made by “a bunch of dead German dudes”.


Master Series 5 – Carter Conducts
Friday 7 Aug. 8pm
Saturday 8 Aug. 6.30pm
Adelaide Town Hall
Nicholas Carter – Conductor
Li-Wei Qin – Cello
Jacqueline Porter – Soprano

This weekend the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is reviving some of the best dead German dudes you could hope for. And in our Town Hall no less.

“Why is the Town Hall important?” …we hear you question, before thinking about flicking back to Facebook for another session wading through the feed of Bronwyn Bishop memes.

Adelaide’s Town Hall and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra are like pork chops and apple sauce, like quinoa and sesame seeds – they’re made for each other. And you haven’t experienced anything that better defines our city than hearing the ASO, guns blazing, on King William Street.

This Friday the ASO’s newly appointed Principal Conductor for 2016, the baby-faced but well-travelled, Nicholas Carter will turn his back on the audience before plunging them into the full spectrum of human emotion.

Seventy-plus instruments, all in unison and played with delicacy and power, ultimately combine in your earhole to create a single, beautiful story of human reality.

No amplification necessary either. Have you ever felt an orchestra play in unison? And yes – felt – not heard.

This weekend’s program features more young Australian talent than Nicholas Carter – cellist Li-Wei Qin and soprano Jacqueline Porter will each add a “next level” to the performance.


Wagner – Parsifal Prelude
Schumann – Cello Concerto
Mahler – Symphony No 4
Concert duration: Approx. 1hr 55mins (including interval)
Adult $69-$113
Concession $59-$98
Under 30 $45
Child $25

In fact, Li-Wei Qin perfectly summarises the argument for why you need Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto in your life.

Li-Wei says, “This work is special because of its sheer beauty. Perhaps it is not obviously ‘happy’, however often the ‘tearful’ inner world of Schumann is just hauntingly beautiful.”

And that is the power of this music – rather than just pushing your pleasure button it will show you the outwardly contradictory nature of humans and reveal things that are both frightening and fantastic at the same time.

You don’t need to know anything about classical music to have the same experience as Qin either – you just need to be human.

The ASO in Town Hall is a rare occasion where you get the opportunity to forget about your digital self, the buzzing inner-monolgue of “do I comment or don’t I” and truly revel in the completely analogue experience of being alive.


Picture: Jonathan van der Knaap


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