November at the Academy



Thursday 3 November: Silver Streak – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 4 November: Verdi: Otello – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 10 November: Carousel – 7,.00 p.m.
Friday 11 November: A Bridge Too Far – 7.00 p.m.
Saturday 12 November: The Harare Male Voice Choir – 7.00 p.m
Thursday 17 November: The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 18 November: Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 24 November: 50 Club Draw – 6.45 p.m.
Thursday 24 November: Our Mutual Friend – Part 1 – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 25 November: Bernstein conducts Brahms & Tchaikovsky – 6.30 p.m.
Wednesday 30 November: Academy end-of-year concert – 6.00 p.m.


Please note that the usual pattern has been changed on Thursday 10 / Friday 11 November.

Carousel will be shown on Thursday 10 November and the film A Bridge Too Far as a joint promotion with the MOTHs on Friday 11 November which is Armistice Day.  Both will begin at 7.00 p.m. and supper will be available from 6.15 p.m.


Thursday 3 November
Silver Streak
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Gene Wilder died at the end of August.  Several of his films will be shown over the coming months, beginning with Silver Streak which, as well as being one of his most entertaining, marked the beginning of his celebrated partnership with Richard Pryor.

While taking a slow, restful train trip on ‘Silver Streak’ from L.A. to Chicago, mild-mannered George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) finds romance with Hilly Burns (Jill Clayburgh), but later that evening he sees the body of Hilly’s boss being thrown off of the train. Hilly is kidnapped and George himself targeted for elimination, but, in eluding the killers, he falls off the train and ends up being arrested by a local sheriff. He makes his escape in the company of petty thief Grover Muldoon (Richard Pryor) – and that’s only the beginning!


• Time magazine nominated Silver Streak the third best train movie of all time in 2010.

• The American Film Institute listed this as one of the top 100 comedies, and I think they got it right. This was the first and best pairing of Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder.  [IMDb]

• Here’s the thing. My fond memory of Silver Streak had everything to do with Wilder. At nearly every moment he’s on-screen, he’s either doing something that helps you believe the action or makes it all so slyly funny you don’t care that you don’t believe it.  [Los Angeles Times]

• A nifty little Hitchcock knock-off, with great chemistry between Wilder and Pryor.  [Capital Times]

• The beginning of the perfectly splendid comic duo of Wilder and Pryor. And man, do I ever miss them.  []

• Nutty blend of comedy, romance, action and suspense… a highly entertaining picture and the best Wilder/Pryor pairing.  [Maltin’s Movie Guide]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Fish, chips and coleslaw: $7.00


Friday 4 November
Verdi: Otello
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.00 p.m.

Otello is a miraculous union of music and drama, a masterpiece as profound philosophically as it is thrilling theatrically. Shakespeare’s tale of an outsider, a great hero who can’t control his jealousy, was carefully moulded by Arrigo Boito into a taut and powerful libretto. But Otello almost wasn’t written. It had been eight years since Verdi’s last opera, Aïda, and in the interim he had produced only a single work, the celebrated Requiem. Wealthy and greatly revered, he considered himself retired from the theatre and he seemed quite content to pursue philanthropic projects and enjoy his vast manor (which employed 16 gardeners!) without risking his considerable reputation on another opera. It took Boito and publisher, Giulio Ricordi, several years to persuade him to take on a major new work but the result was perhaps his greatest masterpiece.

• Recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera in 1995, this production pairs Renée Fleming at her most luminous as Desdemona with Plácido Domingo in what was arguably the greatest of his 100-odd roles… James Levine conducts with his customary empathy and energy.  [Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical]

• It is good to have on DVD so telling a reminder of Plácido Domingo’s masterly assumption of the role of Otello, particularly when at the Met in 1996 he was singing opposite Renée Fleming as Desdemona, then at her freshest and purest, yet also with power, looking and sounding girlish. James Levine’s direction is high-powered from beginning to end, matching the singing of the principals and controlling the massive forces in this lavish production.  [Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Roast leg of pork, roast potatoes and vegetables.  Ice cream and chocolate sauce.


Thursday 10 November
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

In 1999, Time magazine, in its ‘Best of the Century’ list, named Carousel ‘the Best Musical of the 20th century’, writing that Rodgers and Hammerstein ‘set the standards for the 20th century musical, and this show features their most beautiful score and the most skilful and affecting example of their musical storytelling’.


Richard Rodgers himself said that Carousel was his favourite of all his musicals and wrote, ‘it affects me deeply every time I see it performed’. The score includes classics like If I Loved You, June is Bustin’ Out All Overand You’ll Never Walk Alone, not to mention the eponymous Carousel Waltz.

• Truly some of the most beautiful and most sophisticated music to come out of Broadway.  [Rotten Tomatoes]

• Among several Rogers and Hammerstein masterpieces, it really stands out. Few musicals before or after dare to go to some of the dark places Carousel takes us. It’s a fascinating journey.  []


• It is impossible to describe Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel without using the word ‘haunting’. Considered by most critics and admirers to be their darkest musical, it’s a blend of beautiful and memorable music, a story of love unspoken, feelings unexpressed, disappointment, joy and death.  [Classic Film and TV Café]

• Excellent film version of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s memorable adaptation of Ferenc Molnar’s Liliom, with Gordon MacRae as rowdy carousel barker Billy Bigelow, who tries to change for the better when he falls in love with Shirley Jones…. moving characters, timeless songs. [Maltin’s Movie Guide]


•  A haunting, beautiful film, Carousel wasn’t a success with audiences when it was released in 1956, but over the years, it has gained in reputation. The power and beauty of R & H’s famous, lyrical songs provide a haunting, sad atmosphere that elevates it above the average Hollywood music and it now stands as one of the best examples of the genre.  [DVD Talk]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet Members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Macaroni cheese: $6.00


Friday 11 November
A Bridge Too Far
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

A Bridge Too Far is the true story of Operation Market Garden, the Allies’ attempt, in September 1944, to hasten the end of the Second World War II by driving through Belgium and Holland into Germany. The idea was for US airborne divisions to take the towns of Eindhoven and Nijmegen and a British airborne brigade to take the town of Arnhem. They would be reinforced in due course by a land-based corps driving up from the British lines in the south. The key to the operation was the bridges, as if the Germans held or blew them, the paratroopers could not be relieved. Faulty intelligence, hubris in the Allied high command and stubborn German resistance ensured that Arnhem was a bridge too far.


• A gripping bit of cinema.  [Moviehole, 4 July 2005]

• Richard Attenborough’s monumental war drama about one of the most stirring battles of World War II presents the most impressive all-star cast ever assembled for a single production. It is a cut above most cinematic portrayals of historical events… The film shakes you. The pity of it touches you… [IMDb ] ]

• Fantastic WW2 epic with a 1970s ‘all star’ cast.that recreates this complicated and tragic military venture with breathtaking sweep, historical accuracy and sober-eyed humanism.’  []

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film Members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m. Beef curry and rice with tomato and onion salad: $5.00 (special price!)


Saturday 12 November
The Harare Male Voice Choir
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

The Harare Male Voice Choir is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee with a series of concerts combined with the Phoenix Choir, including this one in Bulawayo. Further details to follow.

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00)


Thursday 17 November
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

This is another but very different film set during World War II. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a German concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.


• See it at all costs. It is both wonderful and devastating.  [New York Observer]

• The power of the story and the performances is indisputable.  [Rolling Stone]

• The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an impressively directed and acted drama that packs a powerful emotional punch.  [View London]

• It’s a noble, sincere undertaking that will see many leave the cinema with fresh insights. You can’t really ask for much more than that.  [Sky Movies]

• One of the most strikingly original movies about the end of childhood I’ve ever seen.  [Flick Filosopher]

• An unforgettable motion picture experience. Powerful and moving beyond words.  []

• The power of this story and the way director Mark Herman tells it through the innocent eyes of an eight year old boy overcome all the hurdles with its child-like simplicity that clutches our hearts.  [Urban Cinefile]

• This beautifully rendered family film is told in a classic and old-fashioned style, in the best sense, providing poignant and powerful teachable moments.  [USA Today]

• The performances never falter, and even James Horner’s heavy-handed score can’t dim the film’s unfathomable, unshakable ending.  [Boston Phoenix]

• A devastating experience for both the characters and the audience.  []

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Sausage, mash gravy and cabbage: $6.00


Friday 18 November
Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.25 p.m.

Mozart was just 18 when La Finta Giardiniera (‘The Pretend Gardener’) was first seen in early 1775, though he already had a number of operas to his name. A comedy with a plot of extravagant complexity, the opera provides early evidence of Mozart’s ability to capture the more serious truths that lurk beneath a farcical surface. It has been rising in popularity in recent years. Its central character is a young noblewoman, Violante Onesti, who is disguised as a gardener and going under the name of Sandrina. She is recovering from the emotional and physical wounds inflicted on her by her former lover, Count Belfiore, who is now betrothed to the tempestuous Arminda. Lescot’s striking staging provides a contemporary take on the 18th century and the designs evoke a garden by means of plants and shrubs in large pots – notably, Arminda is symbolised by a ferociously oversized Venus Flytrap. Later, as the plot thickens, the stage is spectacularly transformed into a forest.


• Three hours of pure happiness  [La Croix]

• Wonderfully simplistic staging and direction allied with outstanding singer acting are matched in the pit.  [MusicWeb International]

• Lescot mercifully refrains from ‘clever’ gags…The characters, all clad in contemporary white costumes, and their chaotic relationships are clearly drawn…All the cast seem natural stage animals and take well to the camera… Haïm encourages playing of energy and colour from her period band and works up a fine comic lather in the act finales.  [Gramophone Magazine]

• BBC Music Magazine Opera Choice – November 2015

• The performance is immensely likeable. Emmanuelle Haïm is a splendid Mozartian. Tempos throughout are finely judged, and she draws from her orchestra idiomatic playing that encompasses variously both sensitivity and real dramatic strength… La Finta Giardiniera is a long opera that can easily outstay its welcome; that it is does no such thing here is to the credit of all concerned.  [Early Music Review]

• The mostly young cast all sing and act superbly – sometimes a little OTT, but deliberately so. Emanuelle Haïm conducts Le Concert d’Astrée with great exuberance, keeping the whole thing fizzing along.  []

• Enea Scala brilliantly conveyed Belfiore’s journey from a foppish, vainglorious figure of fun to a lover genuinely remorseful for his past mistakes, and displayed a secure, focused line in his singing. Erin Morley was an equally appealing Sandrina, with a voice of limpid clarity allied to a fine dramatic sense of her ability to transform Belfiore after their mutual moments of madness. Marie-Adeline Henry was a gloriously fiery Arminda.  [Opera]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Baked sweet and sour chicken, rice or noodles and peas.  Granadilla tart.


Thursday 24 November
Our Mutual Friend – Part 1
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

At the peak of his powers, Charles Dickens composed this shocking tale of murder, greed, and obsession centred on the courtship of two ravishingly beautiful, but starkly different women. Ever fond of ironic symbols, Dickens creates a world where money is made from mammoth dust heaps and from corpses fished from the Thames. Paul McGann, Anna Friel, David Morrissey, Steven Mackintosh, and Keeley Hawes star in this meticulous recreation of Dickens’s last completed novel, which many regard as his greatest.  ‘The plot has a very modern feel, using flashbacks and dislocations of time that make it perfect for film’, notes producer Catherine Wearing. ‘The mood-filled landscapes of the River Thames, the dust mountains, and a society obsessed with money dominate these extraordinary love stories.’


• Our Mutual Friend is a well plotted and directed mini-series with a great deal to offer that should keep any period drama aficionado entertained. It has comedy, drama, love, crime… Whether or not you have read the book you will enjoy this riveting and romantic production.  [Vintage Review]

• No surprise a tale of Dickens would be dark, brooding, and more than a little creepy. What is surprising is the incorporation of romantic tales within this darker work, which make for a full tapestry of human experience and emotion.  [Rotten Tomatoes]

• Our Mutual Friend, a sumptuous six-hour adaptation of Charles Dickens’ last novel, easily establishes itself among the very best of the long-form British adaptations. Visually stunning, with an opulent budget, no other series more accurately captures the feeling of Dickens’ England, from the waterfront sets to the huge ensemble cast of oddballs, scum, slime, and heroes.  [IMDb]

• I just want to put in a word for the crew that filmed, lit and designed this. It is ravishing and the attention to detail is astonishing. At almost any point you can freeze-frame the action and the result is like something you’d see in the National Gallery. Technically this is by far the best thing the BBC has done for years.  []

• The production’s generous running time enabled scriptwriter Sandy Welch to include virtually every important detail in this complex saga of how a mysterious waterfront death inextricably linked the lives of two young women, Lizzie Hexam (Keeley Hawes) and Bella Wilfer (Anna Friel). The richness of the Dickensian prose was complemented by the visuals.  [Hal Erickson, Rovi]

• At six hours, this version of Our Mutual Friend is a long production, but not a moment too long. A mystery, a love story, a critique of the pursuit of wealth and status, this is perhaps the best adaptation of Dickens ever to be committed to film.  [Simon Leake,]

Each episode runs for 90 minutes and an episode of ‘Fawlty Towers’ will act as a curtain-raiser.

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Spaghetti bolognaise and salad: $7.00


Friday 25 November
Bernstein conducts Brahms and Tchaikovsky
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.30 p.m.

Leonard Bernstein conducts Brahms’ massive Second Piano Concerto (with Krystian Zimerman as soloist) and Tchaikovsky’s epic Fifth Symphony.

• Bernstein puts everything into his conducting [of Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony] and is quite unbelievable. A masterful performance by a wonderful orchestra and a sublime conductor. Highly recommended.  [Amazon review]

• Zimerman deserves 10 stars for his performance of the Second Piano Concerto. It is three in one – Passionate, Musical and Precise.  [Amazon review]

• This is piano playing of superlative finish – Zimerman delivers the notes (and I mean all of them) with amazing command.  [Gramophone]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Haddock pie and vegetables. Jelly and ice cream.


December (provisional)

• Thursday 1 December – Our Mutual Friend – 2

• Friday 2 December – Bellini: I Capuletti e Il Montecchi

• Thursday 8 December – Our Mutual Friend – 3

• Friday 9 December – Humperdinck: Hansel and Gretel

• Thursday 15 December – Our Mutual Friend – 4

• Friday 16 December – Cinderella – ballet

• Friday 23 December – King’s Lessons and Carols

• Thursday 29 December – 50 Club Draw

• Thursday 29 December – Grand Finales

• Saturday 31 December – Dad’s Army Christmas Special / Berlin Philharmonic ‘World Encores’

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