Monday, September 12, 2011

Vale Wendy Brazil

We recently reported on the death of music critic and member of the Canberra Critics’ Circle, Bill Hoffmann.

Now another long-time member of the Critics Circle, Wendy Brazil, has died on Saturday, September 10, after a long battle with cancer.

Wendy, who ranged in her critical interests over theatre, dance and music, was a classically trained scholar with a PhD from the ANU in classics in the long history in the Canberra community as a teacher of Latin and Greek. Her artistic tastes were always informed by a classical perspective.

As a reviewer, she was well known for her radio broadcasting on ABC Radio’s 2CY when it had a Canberra spotlight for arts criticism, begun by Keith Richards and continued by Edith Thompson. During those years, Wendy was also closely associated with the late theatre director Ralph Wilson and became his right-hand woman, quite often attending rehearsals, making extensive notes, and reporting on the progress of productions as they developed.

In more recent years she has continued her radio criticism through Artsound FM, Canberra’s arts public radio station.

A familiar figure in the Canberra theatre scene, always accompanied by a large diary in which she wrote her notes, Wendy was always an enthusiast for what she saw and a devoted follower of the choral director and opera singer Tobias Cole and of the Bell Shakespeare Company, for whose recent production of Julius Caesar she was permitted to leave hospital temporarily.

As well as following the performing arts, she also participated as a singer in several choral groups, with a particular interest in devotional music. She was a member of the 2011 Board of Fellows at University House, through which she kept up her interest in the intellectual and academic life of Canberra.

During the past two years during periods of remission from her illness, she continued her work as a reviewer and a teacher and a member of the Critics Circle. Her last circle appearance was at a seminar early this year given by London drama critic Mark Shenton.

A memorial service will be held for Wendy Brazil at University House at 2pm on September 24.

Helen Musa
September 12, 2011