John Bell & Simon Tedeschi in ‘Bright Star’ – reviews

John Bell & Simon Tedeschi in ‘Bright Star’ – reviews
October 5, 2018 Jacqueline

Following the triumphant success of their collaboration in 2017, with the recording and national tour of R. Strauss’ Enoch Arden, pianist Simon Tedeschi and John Bell AO OBE return to the stage together with BRIGHT STAR

Sydney Morning Herald live review:
“The music included Impromptus op 90 (numbers 1 and 4), Tedeschi applying precision of articulation without losing the poetry. On the Adagio from the Wanderer Fantasie​ he emphasised a solemnity that was delicate rather than austere, before the ensuing starburst of melodic rapture, torrential density and tranquil denouement… Bell’s (unamplified​) reading of such texts maximised the music of the verse. Understated, without downplaying the dancing loveliness, his delivery, in a favourite Keats phrase (that also applies to Schubert) “dissolved” the self – also the ultimate achievement of Shakespeare, a hero and inspiration for both artists.” [4.5 stars] – John Shand, SMH (Riverside Theatres, 18 November 2018)

Classic Melbourne live review: “There were too many highlights to mention… The evening reached its climax with the concluding stanzas of Keats’ Bright Star and the magical pianissimo of Schubert’s music. This was a memorable event where two simple recital formats, spoken words from the stage and solo piano were presented in perfect harmony.” – Hoang Pham, Classic Melbourne (Melbourne Recital Centre, 24 September 2018)


Australian theatre icon John Bell AO OBE and internationally acclaimed pianist Simon Tedeschi present their new work, Bright Star, exploring the life, love and genius of two ‘bright stars’ of the Romantic era – poet John Keats and composer Franz Schubert.

The performance will feature some of the most beloved poems of Keats including ‘Bright Star’ – enjoying renewed fame with Jane Campion’s award-winning film of the same name – ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, alongside music by Schubert including his Impromptus op.90, the beloved Wanderer Fantasy D.760 and late piano sonatas including the Sonata no.18 in G major (‘Fantasie’).

Keats and Schubert never met or exchanged admiration for one another’s artistry, yet shared many things in common – both died too young and fell for unattainable women; both created enduring masterpieces yet received little recognition during their lifetimes; and both shed light onto the human condition that resonates to this day.

Bright Star will see Bell and Tedeschi not only perform but share their insights into the enduring power of these timeless works, and the lives of the incredible artists who created them.

Bell is one of Australian theatre’s most illustrious figures, having played a role in the development of our nation’s rich artistic culture as an actor and director, and founder of Bell Shakespeare. Director of operas including Tosca, Carmen and Madame Butterfly for Opera Australia in Sydney, Melbourne and on tour, Bell continues to garner critical and popular acclaim as actor and director in sellout seasons for Sydney Theatre Company with The Father, Diplomacy for Ensemble Theatre and a highly anticipated return with Bell Shakespeare in Moliere’s The Miser in 2019 . Tedeschi is one of the most acclaimed and sought-after pianists in Australia, known equally for his performances of Schumann, Grieg and Mussorgsky as his Gershwin and jazz collaborations. With tours and awards in Europe, USA and Asia, as well as winning the ABC Young Performer Award, Tedeschi performs as soloist with the Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, tours for Musica Viva, and appears in festivals and venues around the country including Canberra International Music Festival, Adelaide Festival Centre and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

Sunday 29 July, 7pm at Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney – sold out
Thursday 20 September, 7pm at Gunnedah Regional Conservatorium (NSW)

Friday 21 September, 7:30pm at Macquarie Regional Conservatorium, Dubbo (NSW)
Monday 24 Sept, 6pm at Melbourne Recital Centre (VIC)
Sunday  30 September, 2:30pm at UKARIA Cultural Centre (Adelaide) – sold out
Friday 9 November, 7:30pm at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (NSW)
tickets here
Saturday 18 November, 3pm at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta (NSW) tickets here

Performance is 75 minutes with no interval.
Special thanks to Musica Viva Australia and Genevieve Graham for support for Bright Star’s creative development.

Further links:
Enoch Arden LIVE REVIEWS John Bell and Simon Tedeschi
Interview with John Bell, Sydney Morning Herald, September 2018