July 30, 2017


VELVET, billed as “A Divine Discotheque Circus” is currently exciting Sydney theatregoers at the Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. This ARIA nominated and award winning hit show has announced that due to popular demand, its Sydney season will be extended for a further two weeks and will run until Sunday 20 August.

VELVET lets the audience experience a funky, fun and sexy night at an upbeat disco, complete with glitterball and a non-stop exhilarating disco soundtrack, that never lets up from the opening moment.


Director Craig Ilott has created a hedonistic world, pitting dazzling acrobatics against disco divas as this sparkling show channels the original Studio 54 nightclub. This international ensemble of circus, cabaret and music includes muscle man Stephen Williams, hula boy extraordinaire Craig Reid, acrobatic wunderkind Mirko Köckenberger, sizzling aerialist Emma Goh, Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour as the two sassy sirens plus actor/singer Tom Oliver who plays the young ingénue who slips behind the red velvet rope at the glamorous nightclub that is VELVET as well as musical director and mix master Joe Accaria, alongside the legendary diva Marcia Hines.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond



July 29, 2017


new-dmitry-header.jpgA magical evening of music which had the audience clamouring for more was performed at the City Recital Hall in Angel Place recently when The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra welcomed back Russian violinist, Dmitry Sinkovsky, one of the world’s most dynamic young baroque music stars, for a return season.

With a program that included Italian, German and French music by baroque masters Vivaldi, Locatelli, Telemann, Leclair and Aubert featuring violins and horns, I thought the evening could not get any better until Dmitry Sinkovsky wowed the audience with his singing.

A star student of the iconic Moscow Conservatory, where Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich once taught and Rachmaninoff studied, Dmitry was groomed for an international career on modern violin but changed focus in 2005 and pursued specialised early music training in Moscow, Montreal and Holland. He is now a highly regarded laureate in many European violin competitions, including first, audience and critic’s prizes in the coveted Music Antiqua Competition in Bruges and is in great demand as a soloist and director, not only for his musical prowess, but also his charisma on the concert stage.

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Dmitry performs on an exquisite Francesco Ruggeri violin that was made in Cremona in 1675 and made available to him by the Netherlands based Jumpstart Jr Foundation, which identifies the world’s leading young and gifted musicians and provides them with precious gut-string period instruments crafted by the old masters.

As guest director and soloist on baroque violin, Dmitry will be touring with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in Sydney and Melbourne, plus making his debut in Brisbane.

Sydney: City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place on 2 & 4 August at 7pm.

Melbourne: Recital Centre on 5 August at 7pm & 6 August at 5pm.

Brisbane: QPAC on 8 August at 7.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman


July 23, 2017


Prior to the announcement of the Archibald Prize winner each year, I always look forward to learning which painting receives the honour of being awarded the Packing Room Prize. A cash prize of $1500, the Packing Room Prize is awarded to the best entry in the Archibald Prize, as judged by the Gallery staff who receive, unpack and hang the entries.


Steve Peters, the head packer at the Art Gallery of New South Wales for 35 years, pleased the crowd when he announced his final year judging choice for the Packing Room Prize was a portrait of journalist and television personality Lisa Wilkinson AM, painted by New South Wales Central Coast artist Peter Smeeth.

With 51% of the vote, Steve maintains that the Packing Room Prize should be awarded to a portrait, “that’s good and looks just like the sitter.” Steve said “I looked at the painting and thought, that’s a great likeness. It’s how Lisa looks every morning on the telly. She looks like she’s laughing at something Karl said!”


An Archibald finalist three times, artist Peter Smeeth, who won the Sulman Prize in 2011, is a regular entrant to the Archibald Prize, having entered for the past 34 years, which is almost as long as Steve Peters has been awarding the prize.

Lisa Wilkson said she was thrilled that Peter Smeeth had won the Packing Room Prize and humbled that she was the subject of his work. “I love the Art Gallery of New South Wales, adore the Archibald and as a big fan of portraiture I was taken with Peter’s portrayal. He got me. A particular thank you to head packer, Steve Peters, who picked this portrait, and who, I am told, is retiring after 40 years on the job. Go well,” Lisa commented.

In 2018 the Packing Room Prize mantle will be handed to installation officer Brett Cuthbertson who replaces Steve Peters as head packer.

Sandra Tiltman      Photos: John Pond

Photo Titles:

Peter Smeeth’s Winning Portrait

Steve Peters & Brett Cuthbertson in front of Lucy Culliton’s portrait of Steve and Peter Smeeth’s winning portrait of Lisa.

Lisa Wilkinson