In our cover feature for the May issue of Limelight, conductor Sir Simon Rattle and bass-baritone Gerald Finley talk to Clive Paget about why Janáček’s animal tale The Cunning Little Vixen – which they have recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra – is one of the most profound and personal operas ever written.

Limelight May 2021

Composer Paul Dean tells Christopher Lawrence about the “weight of history” that comes with writing a work called “Symphony” ahead of the first performances of his new commission celebrating the Australian World Orchestra’s tenth birthday – and how his first ideas wound up in the bin – while Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s new Artistic Director, the singer-actor Alan Cumming, talks to Steve Dow about how he has fared in the face of “Ms Rona”, why he connects with Adelaide, and why ageing is hilarious.

On a more serious note, Amanda Harris uses the examples of John Antill’s orchestral ballet Corroboree – neither the first work, nor the last, in which a non-Indigenous composer sought to represent Australian distinctiveness by evoking Aboriginal culture – and the Australian Aborigines’ League’s production Aboriginal Moomba – Out of the Dark from the 1951 Jubilee, to discuss the issues around representation and cultural appropriation in Australian music history.

Also in this issue, Limelight’s Editor Jo Litson talks to Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith about her new play Berlin, Clive Paget rounds up the latest recordings – and reveals our Recording of the Month, innovative flautist and composer Keyna Wilkins explains why improvisation should be a democracy in Cutting Edge, Antony Pitts celebrates the 50th anniversary of Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet with The Song Company, while film critic Lynden Barber reviews Supernova and Justine Nguyen takes a look at a new book about the role of children in opera.

There’s plenty more: Jazmin Ealden tackles gender diversity in classical music, Laura Vaughan reveals the secrets of the Viol family, Catherine Alcorn shares her musical experiences, and Maggie McKenna who is about to perform in the musical Fun Home for Sydney Theatre Company, answers Five Questions. There’s also the return of favourite regulars, Guy Noble’s Soapbox and Peter Berner’s cartoon.

The May 2021 issue of Limelight is available online from 19 April and in stores from 4 May.

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