In this month’s lively issue we celebrate the life and work of the incomparable Steve Reich, who, at 87, is busier than ever.

Julian Day talks with the hugely influential American composer (“the most original musical thinker of our time”, according to The New Yorker) about his six-decade career. He also discusses Reich’s pioneering minimalist music with leading musicians including Roland Peelman, who has programmed three of Reich’s groundbreaking works in this year’s Canberra International Music Festival.

Also this month, Limelight’s London-based Editor-at-Large Clive Paget takes a deep dive into the mystery of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the work that saw Elgar, then in his early 40s, become Britain’s leading composer almost overnight. But what of the so-called ‘Enigma’ and its “dark saying”, which the composer referred to but would not explain? Was he having us on? Conductors Sir Andrew Davis and Jaime Martín share their theories on Elgar’s musical picture gallery.

Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales are set to collaborate with the Australian Chamber Orchestra on an irreverent concert entitled For the Love of Music with Chat 10 Looks 3, which will combine interviews, music and laughter. Harriet Cunningham talks to the beloved ABC journalists and chart-topping podcasters about what to expect, with ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti also weighing in.

In another major feature, arts writer Steve Dow takes a look at what is being done to challenge discriminatory attitudes towards disability and change perceptions of normalcy in Australia’s arts and culture sector.

Limelight April 2024 cover

Sarah Mainwaring appears on the April 2024 cover of Limelight in a promotional image for Back to Back Theatre’s Multiple Bad Things © Jeff Busby

Ahead of her return to Australia for shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, Broadway legend Audra McDonald tells Jo Litson why she studied classical voice at Juilliard, why her husband describes her as a “truth-seeking missile” and why her favourite roles are off stage, as an activist, wife and mother.

Jo also speaks to Australian composer Lee Bradshaw about his score for the first grand opera in Arabic, which is poised to open in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Patrick Nolan, Opera Queensland’s CEO and Artistic Director, lifts the lid on the inaugural Brisbane Bel Canto, a festival inspired by Jessica Pratt’s performance as Giulietta in Bellini’s The Capulets and the Montagues. “I wanted Brisbane audiences to be able to experience her voice,” Nolan explains, adding that a festival is a perfect way to “shine a light on this extraordinary period of singing”.

In his monthly Soapbox, Guy Noble relives the magic of seeing two vastly different musical geniuses performing live: Leonard Bernstein and Peter Schickele, creator of P.D.Q. Bach, Johann’s “most unusual son”.

In the Sacred Cow column, opera director Greg Eldridge calls for the elimination of the term “maestro” – which will no doubt come as another kick in the seat for Bradley Cooper after his film Maestro lost out to Oppenheimer in the recent Academy Awards.

In the Cutting Edge column, Elizabeth Jigalin and Oliver John Cameron discuss their site-specific work Sonant Traces, which has its world premiere at Sydney’s newly revived White Bay Power Station, and in the Playing Up series, we get to grips with the seldom-heard Glass Harp and Cimbalom with ANAM’s Head of Percussion Peter Neville, who explains how the these instrument are played and why they were chosen for a concert featuring music by Mozart and Ligeti.

Meanwhile, in this month’s My Music, actor John Bell shares his lifelong passion for the works of the great composers and reveals how a chance invitation shaped his taste in music forever.

As always, our review section is packed with the latest in classical music releases from our team of expert critics. We also take in the cinema version of Simon Stone’s production of Mefistofele for Opera di Roma and Werner Herzog’s Oscar-nominated story of a Tokyo public toilet cleaner, Perfect Days.

Don’t miss your April issue.

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