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In the face of his prodigious output of consistently fine music, it’s easy to take Haydn for granted. We enjoy triumph over adversity and lives cut tragically short, neither of which he suffered. But the story of how a boy with a good voice, one of twelve children born to a poor wheelwright and his wife, became the toast of Vienna, then London, then the known world, and how fame never swelled his clever head, makes the plot of Slumdog Millionaire look commonplace.

Iconic Australian actor John Bell is nearing “Papa” status himself. Who better to personify the spirit of this extraordinary humble Joe in a new musical/theatrical/biographical entertainment by young playwright Rachel McDonald?

Concerts illustrated with a smattering of letters are nothing new. This evening goes much deeper and has to, because Haydn was too busy writing music to bother with many letters. In fact after he died, a burgeoning French novelist pen-named Stendhal, invented some on his behalf. Fake news. Beautifully written, but fake nonetheless.

McDonald skilfully weaves historically confirmed sources, real letters and such romantic re-imaginings into a piece that allows the ever-present, self-deprecating and funny Haydn to recount his life, comment on his posthumous reputation and poignantly reveal some bedroom secrets.

Oh yes, and to re-encounter and admire some of his greatest work, as performed with impeccable eighteenth-century finesse by AHE. You will hear it afresh too, through the ears of its creator. A unique and unmissable event.


Visitor Safety Information

Before you arrive at City Recital Hall, familiarise yourself with our new venue protocols here.

Please do not attend this event if you are feeling unwell. If you have tickets and are no longer able to attend:

  • View our updated Terms & Conditions 
  • Visit www.health.gov.au for the latest advice and information about COVID-19
  • Contact the Coronavirus Information Line 1800 020 080 for any health enquiries

Details correct at the time of publication.

  • Artists
    John Bell

    Musicians

    Skye McIntosh
    Violin
    Matthew Grecco
    Violin
    Karina Schmitz
    Viola
    Daniel Yeadon
    Cello
    Melissa Farrow
    Flute

    Concept
    Skye McIntosh & Rachel McDonald

    Script & Adaptation
    Rachel McDonald

    Music
    Selections from Haydn String Quarters and Symphonies