September 24, 2016


Celebrity Cruises, the modern luxury cruise line, is celebrating an exciting new partnership as gold sponsor of the 2016 Lavazza Italian Film Festival, to be held at the Palace Norton Street in Italy’s Sydney home of Leichhardt.

There will be special ‘Roman Cruise Holiday’ themed activities throughout the month long festival, including presenting the closing night film, the 1953 classic Roman Holiday, starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The new 4K restoration of Roman Holiday follows Princess Anne (Hepburn) and Joe Bradley (Peck) as they travel around Rome capturing vivid images of their adventures at notable landmarks, including the Trevi Fountain, The Colosseum, Mouth of Truth, Spanish Steps and Roman Forum. This Hollywood classic is one of the most viewed romantic comedies of all time.


Throughout the Lavazza Italian Film Festival, those attending the festival can capture and share their Italian moments on social media with a special Roman Cruise Holiday themed stage set up.


Adam Armstrong, managing director of Celebrity Cruises Australia said “It’s an honour to partner with this much loved festival, it’s no wonder this is Australia’s biggest cultural film festival. We’re extremely proud to help bring a bit of Italia to Australian audiences in whatever small way we can. Other than being there in person, I can’t think of a better way to experience the culture and passion of Italy than via the magic of film. We hope audiences are captivated by the carefully curated and beautifully modern selection, and that they’re inspired to create their own stories in Europe as a result. For those who watch the films and are inspired by the festival to travel to Italy, a European cruise with Celebrity Cruises is an effortless and beautiful way to create memories in Italy and Europe,” Armstrong concluded.

roman-holiday-movie-poster-1020258634Festival Director Elysia Zeccola Hill says, “The Lavazza Italian Film Festival is a proud tradition at Palace Cinemas which celebrates our love for all things Italian. We are thrilled to partner with Celebrity Cruises for the first time this year and showcase its luxury experiences to the movie going audience. We hope that this is the start of a long standing association between Celebrity Cruises and Palace Cinemas which continues for many more years to come.”

“Roman Holiday” will no doubt whet the appetites of those who view this iconic movie to take a trip to Rome plus visit other European destinations.

To have your own Roman holiday experience in 2017, Celebrity Cruises, with its standout “X”, the mark of modern luxury, is offering a choice of four of the world’s youngest and most sophisticated cruise ships, sailing to over 100 of Europe’s most beautiful destinations. This premium cruise line with its cool, contemporary design and world class dining, from elegant bars and lounges, to their unique Lawn Club with half an acre of freshly manicured real grass at sea, is the perfect way to travel.

One lucky movie goer who enters the Lavazza Italian Film Festival’ s People’s Choice Award will have the chance to take a ‘Roman Cruise Holiday’. To go in the draw to win a European cruise for two on beautiful Celebrity Reflection, festival patrons simply need to choose their favourite film from the Lavazza Italian Film Festival offering.

Sandra Tiltman    Photos: John Pond / Film Company


September 24, 2016


Based on the real life tumultuous romantic relationship between early 1900s legendary filmmaker Mack Sennett and accidental starlet Mabel Normand, this will be the first Sydney professional production of Jerry Herman’s “Mack and Mabel”.

Both a poignant love story and a joyous celebration of Hollywood’s golden age, this dazzling musical comedy is told in flashback from the point of view of Mack, who admits to two obsessions: movies and Mabel Normand.

Mack is a struggling director in the early 20th century, when the fun of the silent screen was dominated by the hysterical chaos of The Keystone Cops and the glamour of the Bathing Beauties, a world where heroes wore capes, girls were tied to the railway tracks and it all ended with a pie in the face. Mabel is the girl from the deli who erupts onto the set with a sandwich delivery. Mack spots potential and Mabel becomes a star. Spanning the years from 1911 to 1938, the show charts their rise and fall, both professionally and romantically.

Awarded eight Tony Award nominations, the show features an outstanding score by Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, La Cage aux Folles) including classic Broadway hits I Won’t Send Roses, Tap Your Troubles Away, Movies Were Movies, Look What Happened to Mabel, Wherever He Ain’t and Time Heals Everything.

Originated by Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters, the roles of Mack and Mabel in the Australian production will be played by Scott Irwin (Helpmann Award nominee for Hairspray, High Society) and rising star Angelique Cassimatis (Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Show).

Directed by Trevor Ashley and presented by Working Management in association with Hayes Theatre Co, “Mack and Mabel” will be playing at Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point from 18 November 2016 for a strictly limited season.

Sandra Tiltman


September 24, 2016


Internationally acclaimed Australian pianist Sarah Grunstein will be performing J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations next month at concerts in Sydney and Melbourne. These two concerts, which are a rare opportunity to hear one of Australia’s finest international pianists, will be held at the Melbourne Recital Center on Thursday 20 October and the Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room on Tuesday 25 October.

The Melbourne Recital Center concert is presented by the Australian Bach Society and the Australian Friends of the Tel Aviv University (Victoria) whilst the Sydney Opera House concert is presented by the Australian Bach Society.

Praised by the New York Times for her “penetrating musical intelligence”, her performance “tempestuous” and “imbued with a luminous calm, Sarah has performed in the United States, Austria, Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and her homeland.

Many will remember Sarah Grunstein as the pianist who, as a young teenager, performed the soundtrack for Bruce Beresford’s early Australian film, “The Getting of Wisdom”. Soon after she moved to New York, graduating from The Juilliard School, where she was later appointed as a Teaching Fellow and earned her doctorate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Sarah is passionate about performing Bach. From her early studies with Australian pedagogue Nancy Salas, she learned about 18th century styles, character, dance, emotion, and improvisatory performance. This was at a time when most people were still performing Bach in a very “rigid” way. Sarah remarks, “People ask me how I do what I do. I’ve studied and played a lot of Bach and have read much about 18th and 19th century style, not only musical style, but compositional style, improvisation, improvisatory performance and the language of various arts genres including dance, visual arts, and literature. Even though I am playing music that was composed for the harpsichord, I treat the piano as a piano and let my ‘pianist-voice’ speak. Keeping in my mind and heart Bach’s compositional language and what I believe was his creative intent, I go to town with it.”

In its demands of musicianship, keyboard technique and stamina, Bach’s Goldberg Variations is perhaps one of the most challenging works in the keyboard literature. Composed for a two-manual harpsichord, the work demands more of the pianist than even the harpsichordist. The pianist must negotiate the various “hand-crossings” (sometimes one hand directly on top of the other), a physical intricacy and contrapuntal overlapping of which the harpsichordist who would be playing on two manuals, is spared.

Sarah’s career has been marked by her magnetic charisma, musical intelligence and sublime expressivity. Passionate about engaging with audiences, her concerts will include her introductory talk with audiences about the Goldberg Variations.

A longtime Steinway Artist, Sarah’s career has included concerts at New York’s Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and London’s Southbank Centre.

Sandra Tiltman