August at the Academy









Thursday 3 August    Licence to Kill [Bond 16]

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Shortly after an important drug bust, CIA agent Felix Leiter gets married, but the drug lord he arrested escapes, mutilates Leiter and has his new wife killed. His old friend, James Bond, seeks revenge but ‘M’ orders 007 to drop the matter and start a new assignment so Bond deserts Her Majesty’s Secret Service to embark on a personal vendetta and find those responsible.

  • The stunts all look convincing, and the effect of the closing sequence is exhilarating … Licence to Kill is one of the best of the recent Bonds.  [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times]

Without question the most underrated film of the series. Licence to Kill is a tightly plotted thriller free of the silliness and lazy writing that often plagued the Moore years. [GQ Magazine]

  • A pure, rousingly entertaining action movie…   [Newsweek]

  • Both the toughest Bond movie ever and the most entertaining Bond movie ever. A rare entry in the series where the danger seems real.  [Fantastica Daily]

  • The thrills-and-spills chases are superbly orchestrated as the film spins at breakneck speed through its South Florida and Central American locations. [Variety]

  • No one can deny that the action scenes staged by director John Glen are some of the most spectacular of the entire series.  [TV Guide]

  • Some of 007’s earlier adventures fail to hold up, but in a post-Taken world, Licence to Kill has certainly aged well and is an under-appreciated gem in the Bond catalogue.  [Lyles’ Movie Files, November 2015]

  • Licence to Kill ranks as one of the best of the Bond films thanks to Dalton’s athletic, tough and deadly new 007.  [Philadelphia Daily News, May 2014]

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Bacon steak, egg and chips: $7.00



Friday 4 August   Jewels

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.   Carriages: 9.15 p.m.

Balanchine’s ballet was first performed 50 years ago on 13 April 1967.




Jewels dates from late in Balanchine’s career as a choreographer and was the first three-act plotless ballet. There is contrast in both music and style for each of the three acts which are linked only by the dancers’ dazzling costumes encrusted with coloured gems corresponding to the title of the act. For the opening Emeralds, set to music by Fauré, the dancers appear in long green tulle skirts, and the demure choreography is reminiscent of the nineteenth-century French school in its languid and flowing manner. The playful second act, Rubies, is accompanied by Stravinsky’s Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra and full of character and wit.  Its striking angular poses bring to mind the modern New York scene, even evoking movie musicals. Diamonds evokes the classical era of Imperial Russia and the dancers, dressed in flat white tutus, sparkle to movements from Tchaikovsky’s Third Symphony.

Jewels will be preceded by Kenneth Macmillan’s one-act ballet, Concerto, premiered just six months before Jewels, and danced by the Royal Ballet.

  • It is open to doubt whether even George Balanchine has ever created a work in which the inspiration is so sustained, the invention so imaginative or the concept so magnificent.  [New York Times]

  • The Mariinsky is the greatest dance troupe in the world.  [Financial Times]

  • Balanchine’s 1967 creation is a dazzling stylistic potpourri of pure dance, a spectacular sight.  [Dancing Times]

  • Concerto is MacMillan threading Balanchine territory with a sweeping and romantic Pas de Deux and  the Swiss precision of a great corps de ballet, with no tutus in sight.  [The Ballet Bag]

  • Yuhui Choe and Steven McRae blaze cheerfully through the staccato opening section [of Concerto], full of light jumps, and super-fast turns; Marianela Nuñez and Rupert Pennefather bring a lustrous inwardness to the serenely beautiful slow movement.  [The Telegraph]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Beef fillet kebabs, savoury rice and vegetables. Granadilla tart.


Tuesday 8 August   The Kingswood College Concert Band

Girls’ College at 7.00 p.m.

Wednesday 9 August   The Kingswood College Concert Band




Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

The 40-strong Kingswood College Concert Band will be remembered from its very successful visit five years ago and presents two concerts with programmes that include something for everyone. There will be music by Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, songs from the shows, music from the 80s and the James

Bond films, Bohemian Rhapsody, Holst’s First Suite, ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’, the Billy Joel Songbook, the Hallelujah Chorus, Klezmer Karnival, ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and more!

Booking is at Girls College for the concert there and at the Academy for BOTH CONCERTS.

Tickets: $5.00  –  Scholars in uniform: $1.00  –  Academy concert is free to Red Carpet members.



Friday 11 August   Russian Music from the Proms

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.    Carriages: 9.05 p.m.

Rimsky Korsakov: Russian Easter Festival Overture, Op. 36

Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 1 in F sharp minor, Op. 1
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43

The BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky

With the Proms under way in London, here’s one in Bulawayo conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky,the first Russian conductor to be appointed head of a major Western orchestra. Considered – perhaps not surprisingly – a great interpreter of Russian orchestral music, these Prom recordings are superb examples of his art and include a thrilling performance of Rachmaninov’s First :Piano Concerto with Rozhdestvensky‘s wife Viktoria Postnikova as soloist.

  • The Soviet conductor…brought to the music an easy command and a dramatic sensibility.  [The Times]

  • Gennady Rozhdestvensky is one of Russia’s true masters of the baton…His engagement of the orchestra is equally masterful. With his subtle hands and explicit stick he draws each player into the focus of his interpretive intent. [The Guardian]

  • One of the finest Russian conductors with a real feel for the music. The Rimsky-Korsakov is beautiful. The Rachmaninov displays sensitive communication with the pianist, Viktoria Postnikova, Rozhdestvensky’s wife. It makes one wonder why this concerto is so neglected.  [Classic Archive]

  • This is a conductor who eschews all flamboyance, all the while generating performances of stunning architecture and rhythmic alertness.  [Fanfare]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Haddock pie and vegetables. Carrot cake.



Thursday 17 August   The Moonstone

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.




The Moonstone, a sacred Hindu diamond believed to carry a curse, was stolen from a shrine in India. In 1848, just days before her 18th birthday, Yorkshire heiress Rachel Verinder discovers the jewel has been bequeathed to her by her estranged uncle and it is delivered by a young relative, Franklin Blake, but the next morning, the jewel is gone. It falls upon the renowned detective Sergeant Cuff to attempt to unravel the mystery of the stolen diamond. Has one of the obvious suspects committed the crime, or could there be a more

sinister force at work?…

This acclaimed BBC TV adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ classic mystery, the first detective novel ever written, stars Greg Wise, Keeley Hawes and Antony Sher.

The Moonstone with its quality acting, beautiful haunting music and atmospheric scenery is well worth watching,  []

  • The film captures perfectly Wilkie Collin’s 19th century world and the crime which is at the heart of the story. This is great, plausible and realistic with superb acting and story telling.  [Amazon]
  • There is much to enjoy here, the scenery and settings are great, the photography and music excellent. The principal actors, Greg Wise and Keeley Hawes, are fine, playing it straight and acting their way through the twists and turns of the plot with great sincerity.  [IMDb]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Beef curry, rice and tomato and onion salad: $6.00



Friday 18 August   Donizetti: Gemma di Vergy

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.  Carriages: 9.45 p.m.


Gemma di Vergy dates from the middle of Donizetti’s career when he had already achieved fame and respect with Anna Bolena and L’elisir d’amore whilst Lucia di Lammermoor was just around the corner. The opera was very popular with many performances prior to 1900 but then fell out of the repertoire. A large part of the reason for this neglect is that the music Donizetti wrote for Gemma is difficult in the extreme, both in its demand on the vocalist’s technical virtuosity and on her emotional stamina – Montserrat Caballé, the first modern exponent of Gemma, sang the role in the 1970s and reportedly called it the equal of three Normas! The highly melodramatic plot concerns the Count of Vergy who has obtained an annulment of his marriage to Gemma because they have been unable to have children. Devastated, she reacts with furious intensity, threatening the Count’s intended new bride with a knife, then is driven to despair and madness following the murder of her husband by a servant who is secretly in love with her.

  • There was an outstanding interpreter of the title role in 29-year-old Maria Agresta, whose full, iridescent soprano dealt handily with the music’s demands for bel canto gracefulness as well as for Verdi-like fervour, offering some beautiful pianissimos along the way. She made a tremendous impact in her shattering closing scene.  [New York Times].

  • This production of Gemma di Vergy is the best of all operas I have seen in many, many years. Beautiful traditional costumes and sets, outstanding music and – Glory to God! – no modernisms. This is opera as conceived by the composer and not the whims of modern directors.  [Amazon]

  • Maria Agresta is a wonderful protagonist with singing so refined as to verge on perfection.  [GB Opera Magazine]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members] 

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Roast pork, roast potatoes and vegetables. Ice cream and chocolate sauce.



Thursday 24 August   Enemy at the Gates

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m..

The Germans reached Stalingrad 75 years ago on 23 August 1942.

Joseph Fiennes and Jude Law star in this riveting account of the 1942-43 Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest conflicts in history. Talented sharpshooter Vassili is a rural youth who becomes a national hero by almost single-handedly holding back the German assault. That is, until the Nazis send a gifted marksman of their own to the besieged city, his sole mission to assassinate Vassili.

  • A mainstream movie that works well on three levels -as a psychological thriller, a love story, and as an epic account of a defining battle of the Second World War.  [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Can’t easily be dismissed or forgotten.  [New York Post]

  • A powerful and gripping story of war depicted on both its grandest and most intimate levels.  [Calgary Sun]

  • Impressive visually, with great sets and a grim feel of massive tragedy.  [Houston Chronicle]

  • It’s remarkable.  [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Trbune]

  • Elaborate, exciting and lavishly shot.  [Chicago Tribune]

  • A considerable achievement, a thinking man’s war movie with a more compelling story than that of Saving Private Ryan.  [Hollywood Reporter]

  • It’s good enough to make you want to know more.  [Contra Costa Times]

  • The action is powerful, the drama intense.  [The Mirror]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Pasta with bacon, tomato and cream sauce: $7.00



Friday 25 August   Giordano: Andrea Chénier

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.   Carriages: 9.25 p.m.

Umberto Giordano was born 150 years ago on 28 August 1867.

Andrea Chénier was a great success at its premiere at La Scala, Milan in 1896 and has remained Giordano’s most popular opera, full of heart-stopping big tunes and powerful emotional situations. If it is not as well-known as it should be, it is perhaps because in summary it sounds a little too like Puccini’s Tosca (which it preceded by four years): there is a tussle between political opponents over a woman, an attempt to save a condemned man, a tenor writing poetry on the eve of execution. The difference is that Gérard is not a villain like Scarpia, he is an idealist whom the French Revolution has betrayed as much as it has his rival, the poet Chénier. His temptation to abuse his power to seduce the virtuous Maddalena is a momentary one, though its consequences are terrible.




Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House in London.

  • Andrea Chénier may not be the best-known opera in the repertoire, but rarely has it been so magnificently served as in this production.  [Tutti Magazine]

  • Kaufmann is performing the title role for the first time, and it’s hard to imagine him bettered. His striking looks make him very much the Romantic and romanticised outsider of Giordano’s vision. His voice, with its dark, liquid tone, soars through the music with refined ease and intensity: all those grand declarations of passion, whether political or erotic, hit home with terrific immediacy.  [The Guardian]

  • The Countess de Coigny in sumptuous purple satin is sung to great effect by Rosalind Plowright, as is Elena Zilio’s Madelon…never less than compelling on screen, Jonas Kaufmann is a perfect foil to Eva-Maria Westbroek’s Maddalena who wrings every last drop of emotion out of La mamma morta…but the man of the hour is Antonio Pappano who conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House as if all their lives depended on it.  [ BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 ****]

  • Captivating from start to finish, Giordano’s flawed masterpiece Andrea Chénier is presented in a sterling production under director David McVicar. Kaufmann’s voice is in superb condition, expressive and compellingly projected in his arias. [MusicWeb International, September 2016]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00):  Salt beef with carrots and potatoes and vegetables. Milk tart.



Monday 28 August   The Fidelio Trio

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

The ”virtuosic Fidelio Trio’ (Sunday Times) are Darragh Morgan (violin), Adi Tal (cello) and Mary Dullea (piano).  Shortlisted for the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards, the Fidelio Trio are enthusiastic champions of the piano trio genre, performing the widest possible range of repertoire on concert stages across the world; they also broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 3, RTÉ Lyric FM, WNYC, NPR and feature regularly on Sky Arts documentaries.

Their very generous programme is:

Beethoven: Piano Trio No.4 in D major, Op.70, No.1 – ‘Ghost’

Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor

Saint-Saëns: Piano Trio No 2 in E Minor, Op.92

The Ravel and Saint-Saëns Trios featured on the Fidelio’s latest CD release and were a Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice: ‘The Fidelio’s interpretation [of the Saint-Saëns] possesses admirable clarity and definition, polish and brio, qualities they bring also to a very different world of sound in the Ravel Trio. In both works their interpretative touch is secure, their rapport instinctive. Together with their eloquence and passion, this all adds up to something special.’  [November 2016]

Tickets: $10.00 and $5.00, free to Red Carpet members. Booking at the Academy from Monday 21 August (9.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.)

Dinner will be available after the concert, cost $10.00: Stuffed roast chicken, roast potatoes, bread sauce and vegetables. Malva pudding and cream.


Thursday 31 August   The Last of the Mohicans

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.  [50 Club Draw; 6.45 p.m.]

The film was released 25 years ago on 26 August 1992

The Last of the Mohicans is an epic historical drama set in 1757 as the English and French battle for control of the North American colonies and stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe and Jodhi May. Settlers and Indians alike are forced to take sides and Hawkeye, a white man adopted by the last members of the Mohican tribe, unwittingly becomes the protector of the two daughters of a British colonel – but they are targeted by Magua, a sadistic and vengeful Huron warrior determined to destroy the girls’ father for a past injustice.

  • An exciting, visually stunning, and satisfying epic adventure.  []

  • It’s the most ecstatic piece of action movie-making I’ve seen in years.  [Entertainment Weekly]

  • Incredible and flawless.  []

  • A lush and irresistible historic adventure.  [Flipside Movie Emporium]

  • Simply terrific action film.  [Your Movies]

  • The action is richly detailed and thrillingly staged.  [Rolling Stone]

  • A spellbindingly beautiful old-fashioned epic.  [Good Morning America]

  • Big, bold, and gloriously sweeping.  [ReelViews]

  • Painstakingly, breathtakingly re-created by director Michael Mann, this landscape makes room for heroes with principles greater than the circumference of their biceps.  [Washington Post]

  • One of the best motion pictures ever made. An emotional, rich journey full of plenty of twists and turns, with the perfect hero to root for in Day-Lewis. The most impressive aspect of the entire film is perhaps director Michael Mann’s eye for scenery – this movie contains some of the most breathtaking shots in cinematic history.  [Rotten Tomatoes – 96% rating]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Fillet steak rolls,  sauce and salad: $7.00


Friday 1 September   Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa  

Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.    Carriages: 10.10 p.m.

Tchaikovsky’s opera Mazeppa and the poem by Pushkin that inspired it are both based on a real life historical figure, Ivan Mazeppa, the ruler of a Cossack people who early in the 1700s struck an alliance with Charles XII of Sweden, and led a Ukrainian revolt against the Russian Czar, Peter the Great. Mazeppa’s plan failed and he and Charles were defeated at the Battle of Poltava. Another more personal (and factual!) event in Mazeppa’s life also features, a decidedly operatic May-December romance between the elderly Cossack general and Mariya, the young daughter of a man Mazeppa condemns to death.

  • Mazeppa is blessed with a number of dramatic moments especially the stunning ‘Battle of Poltava’ which has Gergiev in his element. The beautiful costumes are a joy to observe and the lavish stage production is truly a visual feast.  [Classical Net]

  • The production is in the best spirit of the Mariinsky, sumptuous to look at and full of period atmosphere, a faithful attempt to match what the composer might have expected to see on stage. This is a very distinguished production and a hugely enjoyable evening.  [Penguin Guide]

  • This Kirov production from 1996 is aces all the way. The production itself is just outstanding – perhaps the best of any opera on DVD. The large staging, gigantic Russian choruses (always a plus), superb costumes, and incredible orchestra, make this a pure visual treat. And the filming (by Brian Large) is perfect with incredible sound! The singers, especially Nikolai Putilin as Mazeppa, are excellent.  [Amazon]

  • Singing and acting are exceptional in every role. The staging is grand and realistic with hundreds of costumed singing extras on stage as required. The dancing in the party scene is everything you could hope for with wild leaps, spins and jumps.  For the terrific tone poem describing the Battle of Poltava, there is even a full marching band playing on stage!  [MusicWeb-International]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members] 

Dinner available from 6.00 p.m. ($10.00): Stir fried chicken with peppers and pineapple with rice or noodles. Chocolate éclair.







The Academy proposes to launch a drama group for children and teenagers in the second term on a weekday afternoon.  The cost will depend on the numbers enrolling for the group and the day will be chosen to suit the majority who have shown interest – this seems preferable to naming a specific afternoon at this stage. 

Anyone who is interested should give their names to the Academy office either by e-mail ( or telephone (60684 / 67195) and state their preference for an afternoon – sessions will last for two hours.
There are many benefits to joining a drama group and it’s perhaps worth listing a few:


  1. CONFIDENCE: joining a drama class helps your confidence grow. You may start off feeling nervous at the thought of performing in front of the smallest audience, but you’ll be surprised at how before long you are up on stage without any nerves. Even performing in front of your fellow class members will soon become a comfortable experience.
  2. SOCIAL: drama is a very social experience, so it’s a great way to meet people
  3. CREATIVE: sometimes we need to let our creative side loose. Frequently our everyday lives do not provide any opportunities to use our imagination. Everyone can benefit from creative activities, and drama is a fantastic way of unleashing your creativity.
  4. FUN!: then there’s the fact that drama is a great deal of fun. At first you may feel self-conscious, but throw yourself into the exercises and it won’t take long for your discomfort to pass. You’ll find yourself laughing at and with your classmates, and we all know how good laughter is for us.
  5. NEW HOBBY: if you need a new hobby, drama is a great option and one that opens up a lot
    of opportunities. You can dedicate as little or as much time as you want. If you’re short on time, a weekly class may be enough. Or you can get involved in greater depth and be part of performing a play. It’s up to you!
  6. OTHER: performing isn’t the only aspect of putting on a play. There are a lot of backstage participants supporting the actors. If you’re a textiles student or good at sewing you could work on costumes.You can get involved in writing or directing. Or there’s working on publicity, designing the programmes, or working on the ticket office. Drama is a fantastic hobby; we can’t all be professional actors but there is often a very high standard in amateur theatre. Even if you don’t want to perform to the public, a drama class is fun, educational and has applications in other parts of your life. It’s also very social and friendly.


Please contact the Academy office if this is of interest!

A Busy Week at the Academy!



As an Academy fund-raiser, there will be a special showing of the Oscar-winning film with a red carpet, snacks and drinks!

Tickets from the Academy: $10.00



The second in the series of historical dinner talks will cover the early days of the present city of Bulawayo from the time of the Matabele Rebellion through to 1940. There will be a two-course dinner.

Tickets are $25 per head, available from the Academy (cash or swipe machine) or by calling/whatsapping Violette on 0772851609 (Ecocash, cash, RTGS), with proceeds going to the Bulawayo Help Network.



The end-of-term concert will also include the Girls’ College Music Group and performers from Eastview School as well as the Academy’s own students ranging from classical cello to pop vocals!

Admission Free.


The March draw for the 50 Club will take place after the concert and before…


The murder of a curator at the Louvre reveals a sinister plot to uncover a secret that has been protected since the days of Christ. Only the victim’s granddaughter and Robert Langdon, a famed symbologist, can untangle the clues he left behind. The two become both suspects and detectives searching for not only the murderer but also the stunning secret of the ages he was charged to protect.

“They say The Da Vinci Code has sold more copies than any book since the Bible. Dan Brown’s novel is utterly preposterous; Ron Howard’s movie is preposterously entertaining.”   [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members]



Live in Vienna was recorded at the Hofburg Palace, the seat of Austrian imperial power and the music is accordingly almost all Viennese – Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Mozart, Robert Stolz and many others, and room is also found for The Sound of Music! – against the background of the most beautiful, stylish scenery you can imagine.

“What can I say that hasn’t been said before? It’s Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra. If it’s your kind of music (and if it’s not, there must be something wrong with you), you’ll love it.”  [Amazon review]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00): Chicken, vegetable and cashew nut stir fry with rice or noodles. Scones with jam and cream.  Must be ordered in advance!



Sadly, both Adri and Deon will be leaving Bulawayo in early April.  They will be joined by friends for this farewell concert including Rose Green, Jessie Ndlovu, Emma Price, Dorothy Sikwela, Graham Bishop, Pieter Cloete and Jan Cloete.

The programme will include:
Haydn: Andante molto from Trio in C Major
Schubert: Entr’acte from Rosamunde
Mozart: Fantasie in D minor
Albeniz: Recuerdos de la Viaje
Deon Marcus: Ballade in C minor
Handel: Ombra mai fu
Cello Solo TBA
Frank: Panis Angelicus

Plus a selection that will include Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Love Changes EverythingEmpty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les MiserablesJealously, Return to Sorrento, John Denver’s Perhaps Love and, for extra measure, A Love Until the End of Time and O Mio Babbino Caro! And of course Dawn from Pride & Prejudice!

Admission: $5.00 – no advance booking

Wine and cheese will be available after the concert, the latter as part of the ticket price, the former at a modest price!

History Dinners

History Dinner Talks

The Academy is delighted to announce that it will be hosting a first for Bulawayo!

Paul Hubbard will over the next two months conduct a lively series of historical dinner talks, and it seems fitting that all proceeds will go to the Bulawayo Help Network to assist the elderly, the people who represent our history and yet are so often deeply disadvantaged.

The second in the series will cover the early days of the present city of Bulawayo and the Matabele Rebellion through to 1940, and will take place with a sumptuous two-course dinner on Wednesday 22 March at the Academy starting at 6.00 p.m.

Tickets are $25 per head and available from the Academy (cash or swipe machine) or by calling/whatsapping Violette on 0772851609 (Ecocash, cash, RTGS).

 Depending on demand the evening may be repeated on Wednesday 29 March.



As an Academy fund-raiser, there will be a special showing of the Oscar-winning film with a red carpet, snacks and drinks!

Dress the part and come to the Oscars at the Academy! Tickets from the Academy: $10.00 


Admission Free


Admission: $5.00 – no advance booking

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’


October at the Academy



Thursday 6 October: Mamma Mia! – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 7 October: Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon – 6.30 p.m.
Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October: Chapatti –  Good Home Wanted – 7.00 p.m. N.B. At the Bulawayo Theatre
Thursday 13 October: The 39 Steps – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 14 October: Kiss Me, Kate – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 20 October: Jurassic Park II – The Lost World – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 21 October: Chailly conducts Mendelssohn – 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 27 October: 50 Club Draw – 6.45 p.m.
Thursday 27 October: Child 44 – 7.00 p.m.
Friday 28 October: Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne – 6.30 p.m.


Thursday 6 October
Mamma Mia!
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


Set on a colourful Greek island and with a plot whose main purpose is to serve as the background for a wealth of ABBA songs, Mamma Mia! needs little introduction. With a cast including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Julie Walters, it tells the story of ‘bride-to-be Sophie who is on a quest to find her father before the big day. There’s just one problem… she’s just not sure who he is. After secretly reading her mother Donna’s old diaries, she discovers he is one of three past lovers and, despite knowing her mother would not approve, she invites them all…’

  • An absolutely hilarious, rousing and joyous celebration that ought to have you dancing in the aisles.  [Pete Hammond,]
  • Mamma Mia! is a feel-good musical experience, pure and simple. The actors display a buoyant commitment to the material and the songs, of course, remain undeniable wonders.  [MTV]
  • … all the swing and sparkle of sequined bell-bottoms.  [Channel 4]
  • This film is an utterly joyous experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who enjoys musicals and/or Abba’s music.  [IMDb]
  • Cute, clean, camp fun, full of sunshine and toe tappers.  [Empire]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Beef curry, rice and tomato and onion salad: $6.00


Friday 7 October
Rossini: Moïse et Pharaon
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 10.30 p.m.

Moïse et Pharaon was Rossini’s second work for the Paris Opera and received with huge enthusiasm. One of his lesser known but most spectacular operas, it tells the familiar story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt

  • The production is traditional to the core, with sumptuous scenic design and elaborate costumes. Those who know Rossini only from his fizzy comic operas like The Barber of Seville or La Cenerentola will be blown away by this dramatic work. He could really write a historical spectacle. With fabulous sets, huge ensembles, a silly side love story, orgiastic dance sequences and cinematic sweep, this is Rossini gone Hollywood. But all the spectacle in the world can’t save a bad opera. Luckily, with the La Scala Orchestra and a cast of thousands (or so) led by Riccardo Muti, Rossini’s music lives up to the grandeur of the production. Touching duets, tuneful dance numbers and rousing choruses will keep even the most casual opera fan engaged until that Red Sea parts.  [Patrick Neas,]
  • A vivid and well-sung performance of a work that deserves greater circulation. It is very welcome and highly recommended.  [MusicWeb International]
  • I would give 10 stars if available for this great traditional production,  []
  • …an impressive staging of one of Rossini’s opera masterpieces. This production emphasises the dramatic moments of the biblical account beautifully and also demonstrates the composer‘s mastery of the French tradition: solos and choral work are superb compositions, the duets are expressive and touching. This recording brings a Rossini experience of the highest rank onto the screen.  []
  • Muti leads his forces with conviction in this 2003 La Scala production that has enough of the requisite grandeur and a cast that manages the score’s difficulties well enough to show the work’s strength and validity…The whole production gives a welcome sense of the grand style. [Ballet Review]
  • With Riccardo Muti leading a stellar cast, you can experience Moïse et Pharaon in all its uncut, grand-opera glory.  [Opera News]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Classic buttermilk chicken, sautéed potatoes and vegetables. Chocolate cake.


Friday 7 & Saturday 8 October
Chapatti – Good Home Wanted
N.B. Bulawayo Theatre at 7.00 p.m. – NOT at the Academy!

This is a Reps Theatre production, a story of love lost and hope rekindled, delving into the human emotions of two people who meet by chance. Starring Mike Blackburn and Betty Hobb, the play is directed by Graham Crutchley who was responsible for the recent hit ‘The Pianist’. Word from Harare is that this is a ‘highly recommended as a piece of theatre not to be missed, with excellent feedback on the story, the set and the performances.’

Tickets: $7.00.  Booking at the Bulawayo Theatre


Thursday 13 October
The 39 Steps
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


The year is 1914 and Richard Hannay, a mining engineer who is visiting Britain for a short time before returning to South Africa, is shocked when one of his neighbours, Colonel Scudder, bursts into his rooms one night and tells him a story that Prussian ‘sleeper’ agents are planning to assassinate a visiting foreign minister to provoke an international crisis. However, Scudder is murdered and Hannay is framed for the death by the ‘sleepers’ so flees to Scotland as he attempts to clear his name and to stop the agents …

  • …a ripping yarn with a splendid cast of British character actors, good use of locations and a spiffing climax.  [IMDb}
  • I always thought Hitchcock’s version could not be beaten but…..I was wrong. For sheer all-round excitement, good performances, excellent script and superb set pieces you need look no further.  [Amazon,]
  • For a film released in 1978, it sure zips along and is ridiculously entertaining with action scenes straight out of a modern blockbuster starting with the Lost Boys style steam train/railway bridge sequence and the James Bond style ambush with the guys with some of the most unique weaponry in film history. This all builds to the frankly mind-blowing Houses of Parliament set piece finale.  []

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.   Pasta with a bacon, tomato and cream sauce: $7.00.


Friday 14 October
Kiss Me, Kate
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.55 p.m.


Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Kiss Me, Kate is Cole Porter’s best-known musical and features some of his greatest songs including Another Op’nin’, Another Show, Why Can’t You Behave, Wunderbar, So In Love, I Hate Men and Too Darn Hot, not to mention Brush Up Your Shakespeare.  This London revival won the 2001 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical and the 2001 Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Musical, and was filmed live in front of the Victoria Palace Theatre audience in August 2002. The cast includes Brent Barrett and Rachel York, veterans of the multiple award-winning North American production, as well as Colin Farrell.

  • I suspect this may be just the tonic that London’s commercial theatre desperately needs: an almost flawless revival of Cole Porter’s Shakespeare-based musical… There may be greater musicals than Kiss Me, Kate: there are few that provide such constant, time-suspending pleasure.  [The Guardian]
  • The show tops its personal best so often that, by the end, the audience floats out of the theatre on a wave of unalloyed joy.  [The Independent]
  • The whole thing is a tremendous treat from a golden era.  [The Express]
  • With its blissfully tuneful score, superbly witty lyrics and great charge of Broadway energy, this blazingly confident show shines like a beacon.  [Daily Telegraph]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Pork schnitzels, stuffed potatoes and vegetables. Chocolate éclair.


Thursday 20 October
Jurassic Park II – The Lost World
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Four years after the failure of Jurassic Park, John Hammond reveals that there was another island on which dinosaurs were bred before being transported to Isla Nublar. Left alone since the disaster, the dinosaurs have flourished, and Hammond is anxious that the world see them in their ‘natural’ environment before they are exploited. He assembles a team to visit and document the area but when they reach the island, they soon discover the presence of another group of people who are not there for biological data but instead have something more sinister in mind.

  • A remarkably underrated film that’s actually improved with age. The effects are still dazzling, the film-making is top notch… [, 26 May 2015]
  • The Lost World is a movie that takes the viewer on one of the most pleasurable rides you’re ever likely to embark upon, without insulting your intelligence in the process.  [Urban Cinefile]
  • Spielberg amply delivers the goods with The Lost World, a beautifully crafted series of nightmarish set pieces with no other goal in mind than to scare and delight the audience.  [Boxoffice Magazine]
  • Not as good as the original perhaps, but, as sequels go, it’s way, way above average.  [Empire Magazine]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Bacon steak, egg and chips: $7.00 


Friday 21 October
Chailly conducts Mendelssohn
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.30 p.m.

Riccardo Chailly’s inaugural concert as Conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra captures the full atmosphere of a unique musical occasion in a feast of Mendelssohn from the orchestra the composer founded. The concert includes an overwhelming performance of the Second Symphony, the Hymn of Praise, with its celebratory choral last movement as well as the ever-popular overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream with outstanding vocal soloists including Anne Schwanewilms and Peter Seiffert.

  •  A really wonderful recording. The orchestra responds perfectly to the conductor’s wishes.
  • Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang is done very well by the Leipzig orchestra and the Gewandhauschor under Chailly’s inspired direction. It features distinguished soloists as well as first-rate vocal and orchestral work in Chailly’s enthusiastic, glorious reading.
  • This is a tremendous performance. The orchestra and chorus have this music in their blood – and they really sound right for it.  [Amazon reviews]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Beef fillet kebabs, savoury rice and vegetables. Scones with jam and cream.


Thursday 27 October
Child 44
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.


Based on the best-selling novel by Tom Rob Smith Child 44 is the story of an idealistic security officer, Leo Demidov, who decides to investigate a series of child murders in Stalin’s Soviet Union, a country where supposedly this sort of crime doesn’t exist. The state will not hear of the existence of a child murderer let alone a serial killer and Demidov is demoted and exiled but decides, with just the help of his wife, to continue pursuing the case.

  • Child 44 grows in stature and suspense as it gains focus, eventually revealing itself as a dark depiction of desperately unjust, fearful times.  [Radio Times]
  • Once it gets going, it becomes gloweringly compelling.  [Daily Telegraph]
  • Espinosa (director) manages to engineer some standout moments and Tom Hardy delivers a cruelly believable portrait of a good man trapped between a hammer and sickle.  [Sky Movies]
  • A tense thriller set in Soviet Russia in 1953…tightly directed with surprisingly good pace…fine performances, especially by Hardy, Rapace, and Oldman with exceptional dark and forbidding cinematography enhanced by understated music.  [Tolucan Times]
  • Pretty underrated film with two of the best working actors we have today: Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.  [Metacritic]
  • A brave, slow-burn of a thriller.  [Total Film]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Supper available from 6.15 p.m.  Cold meats and salad: $7.00.


Friday 28 October
Offenbach: La Vie Parisienne
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.
Carriages: 9.45 p.m.


La Vie Parisienne was Offenbach’s first full-length piece on a contemporary subject, a satirical portrayal of Parisian life in the Second Empire, and it became one of his most popular operettas.  It was conceived as an entertainment for and about the hordes of tourists visiting Paris for the 1867 Exposition Universelle but this production updates it to the present, so that instead of waiting for the train at the opening, for example, the two heroes are in the arrivals section of an international airport.

  • Director Laurent Pelly brought to the operetta all the gusto and humour the subject calls for – his staging is wild and frenzied and it’s all performed with such vigour and vaudevillian élan that it’s hard to resist the appeal.  [Presto Classical]
  • A popular hit …. It is good to see Pelly on such sparkling form. Aided and abetted by his usual high-octane team, he convincingly updates this satire on hedonistic Second Empire morals to the present day.  [Financial Times]
  • The sheer energy of the dancing and the whole spirit of irreverence is so well caught that one feels like joining in the applause. Sébastian Rouland leads the orchestra and chorus of the Lyon Opéra in a performance that is true to the spirit, if not the letter, of the work.  [Gramophone Magazine]
  • A stylish production from Lyon Opéra, the music and the libretto are allowed to speak for themselves as loud and clear as they always have done…  [BBC Music Magazine *****]
  • This is a brilliant performance of Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne. The director Laurent Pelly, orchestra and cast provide us with a superb production. The updating of the story is in excellent taste and the production positively fizzes with tremendous energy musically and dramatically.  []

Admission: $3.00 [free to Film members] 

Dinner available during the interval ($10.00):
Roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes and vegetables. Lemon cheese cake.       


November (provisional)

  • Thursday 3 November             Silver Streak (Gene Wilder)
  • Friday 4 November                   Verdi: Otello
  • Thursday 10 November           A Chorus Line
  • Friday 11 November                 A Bridge Too Far
  • Thursday 17 November           The Madness of King George
  • Friday 18 November                 Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera
  • Thursday 24 November           Our Mutual Friend – Part 1
  • Friday 25 November                 Bernstein conducts Brahms
  • Wednesday 30 November       Academy end-of-year concert

Singing Lessons!

Discover your own voice: (Anyone can learn to sing in tune…)

The Academy is pleased to announce that it is able to offer vocal lessons with immediate effect.
Please contact the Academy office(60684 / 67195) for further details.

(The Academy also offers tuition in piano, violin, flute, clarinet, recorder, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, guitar and drumming.)

Here are some comments from members of the audience and musicians on the Music Festival held in May 2012 –

“The music festival was a triumph.  You, and your team excelled yourselves.  Undoubtedly one of the best festivals I have had the privilege of attending, both from the music & organisational aspects.  Everything ran so smoothly, the music was varied, & performed to an exceptionally high standard, with the maximum amount of enthusiasm and good will.  A feast of music, which will hopefully remain vivid in our minds  until the next time.
I almost forgot to compliment you on the way you included so many school choirs & orchestras in the festival – what a remarkable experience for young people in Zimbabwe to have the opportunity to perform alongside such talented musicians”.

“WOW, is the only way to describe the fantastic week of the 8th Festival.  The music was outstanding this year and I think maybe the best yet.  A lot of variety, and of course the wonderful Song of the Carnivores and Carmina Burana.  We would like to thank you and your committee most sincerely for an amazing 5 days in Bulawayo  –  blissfully cut off from the rest of the world listening to an endless supply of amazing performances.  You really have created an incredible festival with so many positive spin offs for the promotion of music for those less privileged young Zimbabweans”.


“Sorry for delay in telling you that that Carmina Burana was absolutely top class; in fact world class! Howard and I are not into that kind of music but it was really fantastic! You could easily take this on tour throughout the world and I am almost certain that you would have full houses every night.   Many thanks to you, the Academy, all the talent that was brought in to produce such a performance, and obviously most of all, those who performed that night; It was just so very special”.

“Please forgive my delay in writing to thank you and EVERYONE concerned in making this year’s festival the best ever, and the most memorable!   The innumerable hours of work, dedication and manifold problems you had to contend with must have taken years off your lives!!   But the rewards must be that we all had a blast!!   And we loved almost every moment – the exception being the Petroc saga!   We do hope that he has recovered from his ordeal and he has recovered completely from his injury. There were so many highlights – but for me The Song of the Carnivores (we were at the first session) and The Carnival of the Animals (with Richard Sisson’s inimitable commentary) stood out – but we loved it ALL!!!!   So THANK YOU and congratulations, and looking forward to the next one!”


To be able to meet a lot of fellow musicians for the first time and bond with them quickly through making music and then share that bond with a receptive audience (as the Bulawayo audiences always seem to be) is one of life’s great joys, and continuously reminds me why I want to be a musician. I hope you’ll have me back in future years – time, money and programming desires permitting!”

I just wanted to send you an email thanking you for the wonderful opportunity you gave to me in inviting me to be a part of such a wonderful festival and trip.  I had an amazing time in that the people there are delightful, the music performed was beautiful and exceptional”.


“I enjoyed the festival immensely and was thrilled to be part of it! Everyone was so welcoming and warm and the audience so appreciative, it was a real pleasure. I would particularly love to do more workshops next time and found the collaborations with school children really exciting and fulfilling!”

“The festival was very special and certainly an experience I will never forget. I had a great time meeting you and everyone involved. It was a great pleasure and joy performing to the people there tremendously.   What moved me is the humility of all the people. The love for the music and apart from anything it made us musicians feel that our talent and what we had to bring was needed and appreciated”.









Avid Donates Composing Software

  The Academy has recently received a generous donation of four units of Sibelius 7 software and four units of the Keystation Mini 32.  The donation was made by AVID Software’s regional branch in Dubai, and especial thanks are due to Pavan Mulani, their Field Marketing Specialist for Emerging Markets.

BZAM, the British trust fund supporting the Academy, was instrumental in sourcing the donation.  Sibelius 7 is the most advanced and up-to-date form of the well-known music-writing programme and will be of inestimable value to both the Academy staff in preparing music for their own needs and to its senior students.  It will also be invaluable in preparing parts for Richard Sisson’s Festival commission, The Song of the Carnivores, and the choral workshops associated with it.  All at the Academy express their very real gratitude to both Pavan and AVID and to BZAM.

China flag

China Donates to Academy

The Chinese government has made what is almost certainly the largest single donation in the Academy’s history, with US$80 000 worth of musical instruments, office and A/V equipment. The instruments included ten flutes, ten violins, three violas, five cellos, two double-basses, three each of trumpets, trombones and saxophones, five guitars, four drum-kits, a keyboard – and a “horizontal Chinese harp”.  There were also two 42 inch flat-screen televisions, both desk and laptop computers, ink-jet and laser printers, cameras, video cameras, scanners, fax machines, an amplifier and an electrically controlled screen.

Apart from the very welcome updating of office equipment, the additional resources have enabled the Academy in conjunction with its own equipment to establish three rooms with full DVD facilities, two with projectors and screens and the third with a television, so that it can accommodate audiences of up to 300, 50-60 or 15-20.  It also means that the Hudson Room can now function as an audio-visual room both for groups and individuals working at individual desks with computers equipped with the Sibelius programme and sound facilities.

The donation was handed over at a special concert given by Academy students on 23 June attended by Mr.Li Hua, First Secretary at the Chinese Embassy, and Senator David Coltart, Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture.  Mr.Li said that “music goes beyond borders and it has a universal language that everyone understands. Through music, nations can be brought closer to each other.”

Senator Coltart extended his thanks to the Chinese government and went on to explain how the donation had arisen, saying that he was invited to the Peoples Republic of China late in 2010: “I met the Chinese Minister of Culture last year when I visited the country and I was taken to a magnificent opera centre.  During my visit there, my ministry was given a donation of musical instruments as a token of appreciation which we could use at our own discretion.”  He went on to explain that he thought the Academy was a worthy recipient and commented: “It is a miracle that the Academy has survived this long. It has gone through a lot and has withstood the test of time.  It has done wonderful work for the community.  We hope that the next generation of children will learn to appreciate classical music.”