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

2013 Diaries amd Newsletters


March at the Academy


Friday 1 March

Puccini: Il Trittico

6.30 p.m.

Thursday 7 March   

The Italian Job

7.00 p.m.

Friday 8 March    

Verdi: Attila

6.30 p.m.

Thursday 14 March  

Get Carter

7.00 p.m.

Friday 15 March    

Two Ballets by August Bournonville

6.30 p.m.

Thursday 21 March

Student Concert

5.15 p.m.


7.00 p.m.

Friday 22 March      


6.30 p.m.

Saturday 23 March     

Academy Busking

10.00 a.m.

Thursday 28 March  

Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

7.00 p.m.

Friday 29 March        

Good Friday : Academy Closed


Before the details…

… a couple of other items:

  • We intend to show a film with- we hope! – wide appeal on the occasional Friday evening and move the music to Thursday evening.  Part of the idea is to attract older schoolchildren on a night when they won’t have to do homework and can stay up a bit later!  We’ll see how it works and begin this month on Friday 22 March with the new Bond film, Skyfall.  Eroica will follow the Academy Student Concert the previous evening.
  • Red Carpet Subscriptions are now due.  Details have been circulated but please ask for them if you either didn’t receive or can’t find them!  Concert subscriptions will be offered when we have some concerts to offer…
  • The Peterhouse Concert promised for March has now been postponed to next term.


Friday 1 March   Puccini: Il Trittico    
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.  Carriages: 10.15 p.m.

Il Trittico – the triptych – consists of three one-act operas, and death is central to all three!  In Il Tabarro [The Cloak] there is a murder, in Suor Angelica a dead child and in Gianni Schicchi death is the springboard for a deception and an excellent joke.  In contrast to the seriousness of the first two operas, Puccini raises the curtain on Florentine sunshine in the last and ends this thoroughly satisfying threesome with his only comedy.  This production from La Scala “brings a fairly traditional approach, and the casting does not disappoint either, with Piero Cappuccilli as the vindictive Michele in Il Tabarro, Rosalind Plowright in the title role of Suor Angelica and Juan Pons portraying the artful Gianni Schicchi.”

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members] Supper available during the interval : Stuffed roast fillet with roast potatoes, rice and cauliflower cheese; Pineapple cream cake


Thursday 7 March   The Italian Job   

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

Michael Caine turns 80 on 14 March and to celebrate a much-loved actor, there will be two very different films this month and more across the rest of the year.

The Italian Job has been described as “the greatest Brit-flick crime caper comedy of all time… Michael Caine is the hippest ex-con around, bedding the birds (several at a time) and spouting immortal one-liners (‘You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!’). The inheritor of a devious plan to steal gold bullion in the traffic-choked streets of Turin, Caine recruits a misfit team of genial underworld types including a lecherous Benny Hill as well as three plummy public-schoolboy rally drivers and uses the occasion of an England-Italy football match as cover for the heist.  In his final screen appearance, Noël Coward joyfully sends up his own patriotic persona, but The Italian Job’s real stars are the three Mini Coopers, patriotically decorated red, white and blue, that run rings round every other vehicle in an immortal car-chase sequence…”

Admission: $3.00 [free to  film members]


Friday 8 March   Verdi: Attila

Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.  Carriages: 9.30 p.m.

Verdi’s ninth opera concerns the Huns’ invasion of Italy at the end of the Roman Empire, and  Riccardo Muti conducts a fine cast in “this outstandingly dramatic performance from La Scala. It helps that the chorus takes a vital part, and the relative brevity of the piece, with one key number following promptly on another, makes a strong impact in a production with traditional costumes and atmospheric sets. Samuel Ramey in the title role and Giorgio Zancanaro as the Roman general Ezio, both at their peak, are ideally cast and Cheryl Studer is equally outstanding as Odabella.”  [Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music]

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

Supper available during the interval : Chicken with honey and soy sauce served with rice and mixed vegetables; Milk Tart


Thursdays 14 March   Get Carter   
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m

In this acclaimed 1970s British thriller, shown on his 80th birthday, Michael Caine is a hardened gangster returning to his hometown in search of the truth behind his brother’s death. Though originally from Newcastle, Jack Carter (Caine) has made his name as a tough enforcer for a London crime boss.  On hearing of his brother’s death, he returns to Newcastle for the funeral and to investigate his suspicion that his sibling may have been murdered.  After visiting a local gangster (played by John Osborne!), Carter is threatened and advised to head back to London.  He refuses and descends further and further into the city’s underworld as his investigations begin to pay off.  His search is merciless, unrelenting and fraught with danger and it becomes clear that he will stop at nothing to exact his own brand of justice…

Admission: $3.00 [free to  film members]


Friday 15 March   Two Ballets by August Bournonville: Napoli & La Sylphide 
Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.  Carriages: 10.15 p.m.

August Bournonville was a remarkable dancer and choreographer who created many ballets for the Royal Danish Ballet which regards its interpretations of these classics as being in the most faithful and pure tradition.  La Sylphide and Napoli are the best-known of his works and the former, created for the Royal Danish Ballet in 1836, is the oldest ballet to survive in the regular repertoire, a tale of love, rejection and dreadful revenge.

Napoli, by contrast, is the result of a trip to Italy made at the instigation of Bournonville’s friend Hans Christian Andersen.  He was inspired by his stay in Naples to create his happiest masterpiece which, against a colourful Italian background, tells the story of the young fisherman Gennaro and his beloved Teresina who is lost in a storm and falls prey to the sea-demon Golfo.  “The ballet has everything – plot, humour, stage tricks, fairies and realism, enjoyable sets and costumes, and a final divertissement which demonstrates superb technique in solos, pas de deux and varied groups alike.”

Admission: $3.00  [free to Red Carpet members]
Supper available during the interval : Rump steak with a red wine and mushroom sauce served with sautéed potatoes and peas; Apple crumble and custard


Thursday 21 March   Student Concert
Robert Sibson Hall at 5.15 p.m.

With the end of term approaching, the Academy’s usual Student Concert will present a wide range of performers and music including the debut of the Saturday School.

Free Admission

Thursday 21 March   Eroica

Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.

On 9 June, 1804 Beethoven and his pupil Ferdinand Ries assembled a small group of musicians to give the first performance of his Eroica Symphony for his patron Prince Lobkowitz and his guests, including the hypercritical Count Dietrichstein.  This 2003 film with Ian Hart as Beethoven is based in part on Ries’ recollections of the event and ends with a performance of  the symphony in its entirety by the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]
N. B. Supper available during the interval : Sausage casserole served with rice, broccoli and gem squash; Granadilla tart

Friday 22 March   Skyfall

Robert Sibson Hall at 6.30 p.m.

The new James Bond!  When Bond’s latest assignment goes gravely wrong and agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked, forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Gareth Mallory, the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond. 007 takes to the shadows aided only by a field agent, Eve, to follow a trail to the mysterious Silva whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves.


  • “A full-blooded, joyous, intelligent celebration of a beloved cultural icon. 4 out of 4 stars.”  [Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times]
  • “Everyone connected with this brave, wholly successful enterprise deserves congratulation.  Whether or not it triumphs at the Oscars – and I hope it will – I don’t see how anyone can deny that this is a cracking story, very well told. There hasn’t been a more entertaining picture this year.”  [Chris Tookey, Daily Mail]

Admission: $3.00 [free to  film members]


Saturday 23 March   Academy Busking!
Zonkizizwe from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon

Academy students, the ZAM Band and Girls’ College will provide music and entertainment throughout the morning.  There will also be a cake sale so come prepared!

Thursday 28 March    Beethoven: Missa Solemnis
Robert Sibson Hall at 7.00 p.m.  Carriages: 10.00 p.m.

“In a sense, this DVD is as much about the gala reopening of the Dresden Frauenkirche that had been totally destroyed in the Allied fire-bombing of Dresden on the night of 13 February, 1945 as it is about Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. After the bombing, the Frauenkirche stood for a day, then collapsed spontaneously and the building’s ruins lay largely untouched until 1974 when the reconstruction was begun. That effort took thirty years and the new church, built as closely as possible to architect George Bähr’s original 1743 plans, was consecrated in late October 2005, sixty years after its predecessor’s destruction. This concert took place the following week, and what could be more apt that to present Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis?- especially as Dresden gave the first performances of the work in Germany, partially in 1829, and completely in 1839.”

The programme will also include a suite from Beethoven’s ballet music, The Creatures of Prometheus and the Choral Fantasy, both conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Admission: $3.00 [free to Red Carpet members]

April – provisional as always

Thursday 4 April  | Ladies In Lavender | 7.00 p.m.
Friday 5 April | Ponchielli: La Gioconda | 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 11 April | The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [Hollywood version]| 7.00 p.m.
Friday 12 April | Britten: Albert Herring | 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 18 April | Independence Day : Academy Closed
Friday 19 April | Puccini: Tosca | 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 25 April | Trade Fair : Academy Closed
Friday 26 April | Trade Fair : Academy Closed

Best wishes as always,

Michael Bullivant

2012 Music Festival



As I think (hope!) you already know, the Eighth Bulawayo Music Festival runs from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 May.   A preliminary programme is attached – there may be minor changes but this is pretty much what will be on offer.

Booking will open on Tuesday 10 April and season tickets will cost $75.00.   As you’ll see from the programme, there is a pre-festival dinner on the Tuesday evening, 22 May at the Bulawayo Club.   This will be a substantial finger supper and courses will be interspersed with music from several of our musicians.   Those not taking part will be there as guests and we plan a thoroughly convivial evening which will end with a sing-along led by Leslie Howard who has a repertoire of over eight hundred songs and will be happy to take requests!   Numbers will be limited for this event and we hope that you will join us for it as well – tickets will be $25.00 including wine so the total package is a very convenient $100.00!

The Festival itself will perhaps be the most ambitious yet.    No fewer than twenty-one musicians will be joining us from beyond our borders and there will be two large-scale concerts featuring hundreds of performers from right across Bulawayo plus contingents from Harare.

The musicians include (in order strictly alphabetical!) the Amici String Quartet, Juliette Bausor (flute), Sharon de Kock (violin), Coady Green (piano), Leigh Harrold (piano), Leslie Howard (piano), the Junior Odeion String Quartet, Mary King (mezzo-soprano/conductor), Njabulo Madlala (baritone), Piet Moolman (conductor), Alenka Ponjavic (soprano), Richard Sisson (piano, composer, conductor, etc!), Christopher Smith (piano), Morgan Szymanski (guitar) and  Petroc Trelawny (narrator, interviewer).

The provisional programme is attached and you can see that there is a great wealth of music on offer.   As well as the dozen or so classical concerts there will be plenty of other music to enjoy including pop and gospel concerts, Indian music and dancing and an Africa Day Celebration.   Three of the major highlights will be:

  • a  performance of Carmina Burana with soloists, a choir of 150  plus children’s chorus, two pianos and seven or eight  percussionists – early rehearsals suggest that this will be an event not  easily forgotten!
  • the first performance of a major commission from Richard Sisson,  The Song of the Carnivores, involving children from ten schools in both eastern and western suburbs as well as a host of  instrumentalists and many of the professional musicians.  Choirs are already working on the music all over the city and another memorable evening  is guaranteed.
  • the final concert with an orchestra of twenty in a programme of thee concertos plus The Carnival of the Animals.

There will also be a concerts devoted to music by Schubert, another to Mendelssohn, a celebration of Debussy (born 50 years ago this year), piano quintets by Dohnanyi, Fibich, Schumann and Shostakovich  – and much more.  One rather different event will be silent films with live accompaniment – including Laurel and Hardy’s Big Business with Leslie Howard as pianist!

All in all, a festival where you can’t afford to miss anything at all so make sure of your seat by buying a season ticket on 10 April!

Best wishes as always,

Michael Bullivant