How does a PhD differ from an undergraduate degree? Some may think that there is little difference between writing an undergraduate thesis and writing a PhD thesis, but they would be wrong. Beginning a PhD journey is embarking on a journey of self-discovery as much as of the creation of new knowledge, and nothing can truly prepare you for what you will experience. However, here are some points to bear in mind.
Willoughby Theatre Company’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar
Review by Holly Champion
Willoughby Theatre Company is known in Sydney for high-quality amateur/community productions, but director Stig Bell’s contemporary gothic reimagining of Lloyd Webber’s 1970 smash hit still astonishes with its professionalism. Every dollar of the sizeable budget is put to good use in the moody and clever set, glitzy rock-concert lighting and most particularly in the dozens of stylish steampunk-style costumes designed by Matthew Patteson and Kate Campbell-Westerway. Musical director Therese Doyle conducted the 12-piece band with precision and driving tempi that moved the story and the groovy rhythms along at an exciting pace. The steampunk concept intelligently updated the original hippie-counterculture theme to reflect a contemporary questioning of Christianity’s narrative and values.
Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s production of Mark Adamo’s opera Little Women, adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Review by Holly Champion
Mark Adamo’s popular operatic version of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel has now finally been given its Sydney premiere by the Conservatorium’s “opera school”. Adamo’s lush timbres and exotic harmonies are excellently interpreted by musical director (and this evening’s conductor) Eduardo Diazmuñoz, with his orchestra of Con students. The young singers are highly impressive, in a happy blend of good casting, looks and acting, and great—if sometimes not quite fully mature—singing.
Presumably to allow as many students the chance to shine as possible, the production has been double-cast for several of the roles, with Cast A performing on opening night and Thursday 16th, and Cast B on Tuesday 14th and Saturday 18th. I had the pleasure of seeing Cast A on opening night. I sat in a seat that was a little too far forward for the high proscenium and—despite the fact that it is sung in English—the necessary supertitles. I had a crick in the neck, but came away happy nevertheless.