April 10, 2017

DSC00232 (1).jpg

Cake followed by a chamber orchestra concert, what an irresistible combination.

The first Musica Viva Coffee Concert of the year was held recently at North Sydney’s Independent Theatre, a superb venue for this delightful event. Morning tea began at 10am, followed by an hour of music from 11am, by The Goldner String Quartet, one of Australia’s greatest chamber ensembles, who thrilled the audience with Beethoven’s exquisite ‘Razumovsky’ Quartet op 59 no 2.

DSC00220 (1).jpg

Another treat was their playing of ‘Interwoven’, created by emerging Sydney composer Elizabeth Younan, who was recently named Young Composer of the Year by Fine Music FM. ‘Interwoven’ was created as part of the Sydney Conservatorium’s National Women Composers Development Program.

DSC00237 (1).jpg

The entire 2017 season will feature The Goldner String Quartet, who will be bringing a couple of guests to the concerts. Musica Viva’s Artistic Director, Carl Vine AO said “Only
once before, in 2012, did we devote an entire year of Coffee Concerts to these splendid musicians. It proved to be one of the most popular years since the series began.” Guest appearances by Australian pianist Piers Lane and virtuoso cellist Umberto Clerici will add to the appeal of the concerts.

DSC00225 (1).jpg

The music was wonderful and I especially enjoyed the selection of delicious cakes. I must confess that I did try a few as they looked so inviting. I would recommend booking for the second concert in the series on 24 May 2017.

What a clever idea to hold the concert series in the daytime, when many people prefer to go out and at a venue that is easy to get to, with street parking available near by. I am amazed that more concert promoters do not follow Musica Viva’s lead.

Sandra Tiltman  

Photos: John Pond


April 10, 2017


Paulini, one of Australia’s finest vocalists and performers, will play the leading role of Rachel Marron in the Australian premiere of the international award winning hit musical “The Bodyguard”. The Australian tour will open at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre on 21 April 2017, followed by seasons in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Based on the smash hit Warner Bros film which starred Whitney Houston as Rachel and Kevin Costner as Frank Farmer, the former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, who is hired to protect superstar singer Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge, but what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

Australia first fell in love with Paulini and her impressive five octave range during the inaugural series of Australian Idol. One of her childhood idols was Whitney Houston and Paulini won the National Star Search Competition in her teens with her rendition of Whitney’s timeless classic “When You Believe”. The Fijian born singer songwriter went on to release three highly acclaimed albums and has collaborated with some of the world’s best music producers. With her incredible voice, stunning looks and engaging personality, Paulini is one of Australia’s most uniquely talented performers.

Produced by John Frost, Michael Harrison and David Ian, “The Bodyguard” is written by the acclaimed, Oscar nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill, The Empire Strikes Back) and features a book by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman).

Kip Gamblin and Paulini in THE BODYGUARD (c) Peter Brew Bevan.jpgKip Gamblin will be playing the role of bodyguard Frank Farmer, made famous by Kevin Costner. The principal cast also features Prinnie Stevens as Nicki Marron, alongside Andrew Hazzard as Sy Spector, Patrick Williams as Bill Devaney, Brendan Irving as the Stalker, Damien Bermingham as Tony and Glaston Toft as Ray Court.

Featuring many irresistible classics including One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Greatest Love Of All, I Wanna Dance With Somebody plus one of the greatest hit songs of all time, I Will Always Love You, the audience will probably be singing all the way home.

John Frost commented ““The Bodyguard” has been a huge hit everywhere it has played since its 2012 world premiere in London. I have no doubt Australia will fall in love with this iconic story and those soaring ballads all over again”.

Sydney: Lyric Theatre, The Star from 21 April 2017.Performance Times: Tuesday 7pm, Wednesday – Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6pm. Matinees: Tuesday & Wednesday 1pm, Saturday & Sunday 2pm.

Melbourne: Regent Theatre, 191 Collins Street from 24 August 2017. Performance Times: Tuesday 7pm, Wednesday/Thursday 7.30pm, Friday/Saturday 8pm, Sunday 6pm. Matinees: Tuesday & Wednesday 1pm, Saturday & Sunday 2pm.

Sandra Tiltman


March 28, 2017


unspecified-3.jpegApplejack Hospitality’s popular beachside restaurant, Bondi Hardware, at 39 Hall Street, Bondi Beach recently celebrated its 5th birthday in great style, with a fantastic party like only they know how to throw.

Not only was it a birthday celebration but it was also a relaunch. Applejack Hospitality’s Neutral Bay venue SoCal had taken over the venue for the summer and now this has come to an end, with Bondi Hardware returning better than ever.


The birthday party gave guests the opportunity to have an exclusive first look at the refreshed venue. Bondi Hardware has retained plenty of elements from its rustic roots, but with a lighter boho and industrial feel plus lots of fresh whites, lush greenery and Moroccan textiles and of course the same warm, laid back vibes it’s famed for.


There’s also an exciting new menu that Group Executive Chef Kasper Christiansen worked with the Bondi Hardware team to create. Some of the venue’s most popular dishes have been re-visited and re-worked. During the evening we tasted lime-cured Kingfish tostadas, kimchi paste, avocado & nori dust as well as sriracha buttermilk fried chicken sliders, Monterey jack and bacon mayo. Crispy lamb salad, hummus, feta, Israeli couscous, pear and mint yoghurt was my favourite. Baked artichoke dip with toasted pita breads and feta & sundried tomato polenta bites with basil sour cream topped off these culinary treats.

I tried two very easy to drink cocktails during the evening. The one I enjoyed most was the Garden Party: Blueberry infused Beefeater Gin, elderflower liqueur, basil, lemon, vanilla & rhubarb bitters, although I think the Young Cuban: Havana 3 year old Rum, Aperol, lime, fresh mint & sparkling wine came in a very close second. There was also a selection of beers, ciders and wine available, but who can resist a cocktail or two. I’ll just have to make another visit to Bondi Hardware to test the cocktails again.

Sandra Tiltman


March 28, 2017

DSC00131 (1).jpg

The new on-site brewery, bar & restaurant, Endeavour Tap Rooms, owned by award winning Australian brewer Endeavour Vintage Beer Co and hospitality professionals Applejack Hospitality (Bondi Hardware, The Botanist, SoCal, Della Hyde & The Butler), has recently opened. Conveniently located at 39-43 Argyle Street, The Rocks, this new venue should prove to be a very popular destination for both city workers and tourists who love a beer.

DSC00129 (1).jpgThe renovation of the heritage listed premises into a contemporary space, whilst paying homage and respect to the building’s classic history, coincided with the $15 million NSW Government initiative to renew and revitalise heritage retail tenancies in The Rocks, inspired by successful strategies in heritage retail precincts around the world, including SoHo in New York City and Le Marais in Paris.

The newly installed brewery, offers a selection of on-site brewed beers, served from eight taps, only available at the venue.

Their restaurant menu lends itself to the exceptional beers on tap, using the best local ingredients where possible, from producers that support ethical farming practices. The evening I visited Endeavour Tap Rooms, Head Chef Sam Tingle created a special selection of dishes from the venue’s menu, which showcased their American barbequed and smoked style food. The Kingfish tostada, corn and guacamole; Crispy pork hock and black vinegar chilli; Pacific oysters, parsley and verjuice; Smoked chicken wings with herb Baja sauce and Smoked Mirrool creek lamb ribs with spicy plum sauce were all delicious.

DSC00123 (1).jpg

Endeavour is an Australian brand, rich with integrity and focussed on using the finest ingredients and Applejack delivers consistent fun and friendly service with a focus on epic food. The team at Endeavour Tap Rooms wanted to create a venue with the heart of Endeavour and soul of Applejack. I believe they have succeeded and have created a venue which Sydneysiders and visitors will enjoy for many years to come.

Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond


March 26, 2017


In the opening play of the Genesian Theatre Company’s 73rd season, Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas introduces us to a range of deep and quirky characters in his masterpiece “Under Milk Wood”.

A day in the life of a Welsh seaside village sounds quite tame but the fictional Milk Wood is a village like no other. The inhabitants reflect the village’s name, “Llareggub”, which is “Bugger All” backwards. During one Spring day we learn of the desires and dreams of the residents plus their loves and regrets. Here we meet Lily Smalls, who stares at herself in a mirror, the blind sea captain who dreams of his love, plus a woman who lives with her two dead husbands.

The town’s rich history, along with its collection of surprising characters, allows us to see not only how strange life can be but shows us the joys and despairs of age and youth.

Combined with a set designed by Martin Searles and direction by Ylaria Rogers, the fine cast brings life to what could truly be described as a very unusual group of residents.

The play is closely associated with the late Welsh actor, Richard Burton.

“Under Milk Wood” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 8 April 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman


March 3, 2017


London’s biggest comedy hit, “The Play That Goes Wrong”, is in its third sold out year and has recently enjoyed its 1,000th performance in the West End.

Now its Australia’s turn to enjoy this fun filled show featuring the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society which is attempting to put on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.

Described as Fawlty Towers meets Noises Off, “The Play That Goes Wrong” is currently making audiences laugh in Melbourne before touring to Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth.

Written by Mischief Theatre members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, the play has won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, The Whatsonstage award for Best New Comedy and the Moliere Award in Paris for Best New Comedy.  An extended extract from the production was featured at the Royal Variety Performance in the UK and the follow-up play “Peter Pan Goes Wrong” has enjoyed two hugely successful West End runs as well as being filmed for TV and broadcast on BBC1 in England on New Year’s Eve, co-starring Poirot legend David Suchet.

Photo A TPTGW_08J3226_PhotobyJeffBusby.JPG

The cast includes former Neighbours star Brooke Satchwell, Darcy Brown, Francine Cain, Adam Dunn, Luke Joslin, George Kemp, Jordan Prosser, Nick Simpson-Deeks, Tammy Weller and James Marlowe.

When UK Director Mark Bell visited Australia recently to undertake auditions, he commented that he is looking forward to working with this ‘interesting’ and possibly incompetent bunch of would-be thespians. “If their auditions are anything to go by, this cast is going to be hopelessly hilarious and The Play will definitely Go Wrong.  I for one can’t wait to see this debacle unfold.

The production continues to run in London, Paris, Budapest and Rome as well as simultaneously touring the UK and soon to open on Broadway.

Melbourne: Currently playing at the Comedy Theatre, 240 Exhibition Street until 19 March.

Sydney: Opening 5 April 2017 at Roslyn Packer Theatre, 22 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.

Sandra Tiltman


February 5, 2017
Brandenburg Choir

Brandenburg Choir

Australia’s Brandenburg Orchestra, the five time ARIA Award winning baroque orchestra, is opening their 2017 season with Handel’s Messiah. The world’s most performed baroque work is being played for the very first time by the Brandenburg in Sydney and Melbourne from 22 February 2017.

The Messiah was first performed almost 275 years ago in Dublin, where women were urged to wear dresses without hoops and men not to carry swords, so they could fit more people into the Musik Hall. It still fills recital halls around the globe and is a tradition for concertgoers across all ages.

Artistic Director, Paul Dyer

Artistic Director, Paul Dyer

Artistic Director Paul Dyer promises a Messiah like no other, having assembled an international soloist team, featuring Spanish Soprano, Greek Alto, American Tenor and Australian Bass. Paul commented “Over three years of planning, negotiating, crossing fingers and toes has resulted in one of the most magnificent seasons we have produced yet at the Brandenburg. We’ve got it all: old friends return, new friends join us and I get to tick something off the bucket list when I conduct Handel’s Messiah for the very first time. I can’t wait to share this very special season with you!”.

Paul added “Handel was the greatest composer that ever lived. I would uncover my head, and kneel before his tomb.” That’s what Beethoven said about Handel, the great master of the baroque and composer of what must surely be the world’s most performed concert work, the oratorio, Messiah. The iconic Hallelujah chorus is guaranteed to fill your hearts with joy. Who doesn’t experience an endorphin rush when they hear or perform it? The Messiah brings people such overwhelming pleasure and it is easy to understand its phenomenal popularity.”

Along with the Brandenburg Choir and Orchestra, featured soloists include Spanish soprano Lucía Martín-Cartón, winner of the Renata Tebaldi International Voice Competition who toured Australia in 2015 as a guest artist with Les Arts Florissant.

Greek countertenor Nicholas Spanos, won Best Young Artist of the Year in Greece and his recording in the title role of Handel’s Tamerlano won the prestigious ECHO Klassik Award.

Sydney based, American tenor Kyle Bielfield is a Masters graduate of New York’s prestigious Juilliard School. His career covers classical and pop/electronic music as well as opera performances in the US and Canada.

Messiah Soloists

Messiah Soloists

Australian baritone David Greco, who recently returned to Sydney after eight years study and work in Europe, is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague in The Netherlands. David has a long association with the Brandenburg, returning to Australia to perform as a soloist on numerous occasions. As a young singer, he was a member of the Brandenburg Choir.

Sydney: City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place on 22 & 24 February plus 1, 3 & 4 March at 7pm
with a Matinee on 4 March at 2pm.

Melbourne: Recital Centre on 25 February at 7pm & 26 February at 5pm.

Sandra Tiltman