Season Preview: Your guide to the arts in 2024

The way Paul Kildea discovered the songs of William Bolcom was, he admits, “really daggy”.

“This was pre-internet, around 2002. Malena Ernman, who is Greta Thunberg’s mother, is actually a fantastic opera and recital singer,” says Kildea to Limelight.

“She put out a disc of Britten and Balcom cabaret songs. Because I’m such a Britten freak, I of course heard it. She just completely nails those songs, and that’s when I fell in love with them.”

Paul Kildea. Photo © John Appleyard

The idea, then, for Musica Viva Australia’s (MVA) huge opener for 2024 has been kicking around in his head for about 20 years. Created by Kildea and Ian Dickson, Long Lost Loves (and Grey Suede Gloves) brings together Balcom’s songs in a “recital [with a] dramatic backbone of storytelling”, directed and written by Constantine Costi. German-based Australian mezzo-soprano Anna Dowsley returns to perform the songs Kildea pins as a mix of Brecht, Bernstein and Sondheim.