From the editor

Jo Litson
Editor of Limelight

Before the recent federal election, it was clear the ABC would fare better under a Labor government than the Coalition. When the Coalition delivered its 2018 budget, it froze the ABC’s budget indexation from July 2019, meaning a cut of $83.7 million over three years. This came on top of a $254 million budget cut to base ABC funding in 2014. Labor had promised to reverse the pause on indexation.

There had already been some turmoil when ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie was sacked in September. Chairman Justin Milne resigned shortly afterwards following revelations he had pushed for Guthrie to get rid of presenter Emma Alberici and political editor Andrew Probyn, and tried to interfere over editorial matters following complaints from then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

All this was concerning. But who would have thought we would see the Australian Federal Police raid on the ABC that took place last month, just weeks after the election? A raid that followed one on the home of News Corp political editor Annika Smethurst the day before. Both were related to stories that were over a year old. In the case of the national broadcaster, it was The Afghan Files, which suggested Australian troops may have committed war crimes in Afghanistan.

The AFP claimed the stories had the power to “undermine Australia’s national security”. In fact, they are clearly in the public interest. In any democracy, the public has the right to know about such things from an independent media. The AFP raids are deeply disturbing, and have naturally raised eyebrows internationally. We have long taken press freedom for granted in Australia. The fact that we are now having these conversations is scary. Limelight stands alongside all the Australian journalists who have protested the raids and the attack on the freedom of the press.

At the time of writing, Ita Buttrose, the new ABC Chair, and Managing Director David Anderson had had a brief meeting with PM Scott Morrison and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. Buttrose described it as “constructive” and told the media that Morrison had “taken on my comments and we’re looking forward to working together and going ahead”. Let’s hope so. Our democracy depends on it.

The features

Tudor Rose

As Ermonela Jaho prepares to take on Donizetti’s Three Queens for Opera Australia, beginning with Anna Bolena, Justine Nguyen talks to the soprano about the role’s challenges and delves into the origins of the operas – which Donizetti never envisaged as a trilogy.

Rising Tsar

Love, torture and death are vividly painted in Janáček’s rhapsody for orchestra Taras Bulba. Australian World Orchestra Artistic Director Alexander Briger discusses the Czech composer’s Russian obsession and why his retelling of Gogol's bloody tale is one of his greatest masterpieces.


Nicholas Carter couldn't be happier with the way the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra has nurtured and developed his career. But as he tells Jo Liston, with a new position in Austria, and other exciting international offers in his calendar, it's time to put down the baton as Adelaide's Principal Conductor.

This Royal Throne

It may be 66 years since a British monarch has been crowned, but that's not stopping Paul McCreesh. The Gabrieli Consort director talks to Clive Paget about the last four coronations and how he's recreated a fantasy version from out of the best bits of each.

A Gift From Gander

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, 38 US-bound planes were redirected to Newfoundland. In 2011, Irene Sankoff and David Hein visited "The Rock" for the 10th anniversary reunion of passengers and locals. They tell Jo Litson about the uplifting musical they wrote from the interviews they did there.

Different Strokes

With three commissions for three very different Aussie groups, Nico Muhly's focus is very much Down Under in 2019. Clive Paget caught up with the prolific composer in his Manhattan studio to discuss Anglican choirs, what he learned from Philip Glass, and the need for the odd boundary.

Special offer

The 30th and final Huntington Estate Music Festival takes place in Mudgee, November 20 – 24. To celebrate, Limelight subscribers have the chance to win a double pass to the Finale Weekend, valued at $1,900. The winner and their guest will enjoy four world-class concerts, two artist ‘in conversations’, two dinners, two lunches, canapés and award-winning wines from Huntington Estate.

The Finale Weekend begins on the evening of Friday November 22 and ends after a lazy lunch in the sun on Sunday November 24. The winner and their guest will enjoy performances by pianists Ian Munro, Alexander Gavrylyuk and Aura Go, violist Maxim Rysanov, harpist Isabelle Moretti and tenor Andrew Goodwin, and ensembles Trio Marvin, Arcadia Winds and the Goldner and Australian String Quartets.

Five runners-up will receive a copy of Classic 100: Composer from ABC Classic.

For your chance to win this prize, simply tell us who your favourite composer is and why when you subscribe, give or renew a Limelight subscription.

The Regulars


Paul Kildea appointed as Music Viva AD

What I'm Listening To

Guitarist Karin Schaupp

Five Questions for...

Pianist Stewart Goodyear

Around the world

Holland Festival tackles Stockhausen's Aus Licht

Guest Column

Katia Beaugeais on being a composer-saxophonist

Guy Noble's Soapbox

Trash or treasure: the dark side of tourism

Opera Column

Jack Symonds on Elliott Gyger's Oscar and Lucinda

Did you hear about...

Saint-Saëns' lifelong trouble with women?

Backstage with...

German violist Nils Mönkemeyer

World Premiere

Connor D'Netto's new string quartet

Rising Star

Conductor Thaddeus Huang


German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser

Composer of the Month

Norway's national hero, Edvard Grieg

Musical Journey

Durham and its awe-inspiring cathedral


This month's round-up of everything worth experiencing in dance, theatre, visual art and film

Broadcast Guide

The best of classical music and arts across ABC and independent stations this month

Digital & Cinema

The best of classical music and arts in Australian cinemas, and what's available online this month

My Music

Actor Belinda Giblin

Recording of the month

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