MASTERPIECES FROM THE RIJKSMUSEUM

November 27, 2017

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The first major exhibition of Dutch masters in Sydney, featuring 78 exceptional works of art from Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, including a room dedicated to Rembrandt, is on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age showcases Dutch art and life during the 17th century, an era of wealth, power and cultural confidence. Dutch artists only began to depict distinctively Dutch landscapes in the 17th century, inspired by their unique environment with its terrain, windmills and abundant waterways. Scenes of everyday life, especially those set in the home, were incredibly popular during this time, with works portraying feasting and drinking with family and friends, children being cared for and people simply reading or sitting in quiet contemplation. The sea has always been a dominant factor in Dutch history, shaping the country’s life and commerce and during the Golden Age, marine painting emerged as another area in which Dutch painters excelled.

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Landscapes, townscapes, architecture and interior scenes as well as marine scenes were the subjects of many of the era’s paintings. The Dutch Republic gave rise to a huge number of talented painters, but while most specialised in a single genre, such as portraiture, still life or landscape, Rembrandt painted almost everything.

Exhibition curator, Peter Raissis, said Vermeer’s “Woman Reading A Letter” (1663) and one of Rembrandt’s greatest works, “Self-portrait as the Apostle Paul” (1661), are at the heart of Sydney’s exhibition and are viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year in the Rijksmuseum’s famed Gallery of Honour.

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Alongside masterpieces by Vermeer and Rembrandt, where an entire room is dedicated with seven of his paintings and 16 etchings, are outstanding paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael, regarded as the greatest landscapist of the Golden Age and Jan Davidsz de Heem, renowned for his dynamic, colourful compositions of flowers and Judith Leyster’s painting of “The Jolly Drinker”.

It was customary for the affluent Dutch middle class to have themselves portrayed in paintings, whereas, in most European countries this was a privilege reserved for nobles and aristocrats. The exhibition’s portraits of merchants, scholars and artists reflect the increasing self-confidence and prosperity of the Golden Age’s society.

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During the exhibition, a variety of educational programs are available for visitors of all ages. The Gallery will host a lecture series featuring local and international experts, late night programs, music, daily guided tours and many other events to give visitors the opportunity to enjoy interactions with the artworks.

The exhibition runs until 18 February 2018.

Words: Sandra Tiltman Photos: John Pond

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BLOODY MURDER

November 10, 2017

The Genesian Theatre’s current production of “Bloody Murder” is a very entertaining combination of comedy and murder mystery. Written by Ed Sala, this play will have the audience guessing “who dunnit” right from the start.

Lady Somerset has invited six guests to her isolated country estate and when one is murdered, just before revealing a dark secret, she refuses to let her party be interrupted, even by the police. The action heightens when the murderer strikes again and the remaining guests come to the realisation that they must work together to find out who is actually making the choice of who will live and who will die.

Directed by Michael Heming, this play is unlike any ordinary murder mystery, as it has the audience laughing right from the first victim. The acting skills of the excellent cast keep the audience on the edge of their seats while they look for clues and try to find answers

“Bloody Murder” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 2 December 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman


THE CROWN, SEASON 1 ON DVD and BLU-RAY

November 8, 2017

Sandra T. with Royal Friend

Royal watchers and history buffs are in for a treat with The Crown, Season 1 due for release on 15 November 2017, just in time for Christmas. The Blu-rayTM, DVD and Premium Collector’s Edition DVD will make wonderful presents for friends and family or why not buy one for your own enjoyment.

Claire Foy is brilliant as the 25 year old newlywed Queen Elizabeth II, bringing to life the era when the British Empire was in decline and the political world in disarray. A new era dawns when Queen Elizabeth II takes the throne, facing the daunting prospect of leading the world’s most famous monarchy while forging a relationship with legendary Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, played by John Lithgow.

Created by Peter Morgan, The Crown, with its opulent sets and ornate costumes, explores the Queen’s private journey behind the public facade with daring frankness. A winner of Emmys and Golden Globe awards, The Crown, is both an exceptional and lavish account of Queen Elizabeth II’s rise to the throne.

Sandra Tiltman

#TheCrownAU,    @ViewingLounge


BITTERSWEET OBSESSIONS: MONTEVERDI & BACH

October 28, 2017

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s current production Bittersweet Obsessions: Monteverdi & Bach not only provides the featured music of Claudio Monteverdi and Johann Sebastian Bach played on their period instruments but brings to the stage soprano Natasha Wilson, tenors Karim Sulayman & Spencer Darby and baritone Jakob Bloch Jespersen plus Aikido performers Melanie Lindenthal and Andrew Sunter.

Paul Dyer AO, the Brandenburg’s Artistic Director, has truly put together an exciting programme with performances that range from a baroque pastoral to a modern day café. Billed as offering laughter, tears and vengeance the programme is sung in Italian and German, plus they even offer English surtitles.

Concert goers who like their classical music with a touch of fun will especially enjoy the finale performance of J.S. Bach’s Coffee Cantata. As well as beautiful music, the audience has the added pleasure of listening to performers singing the virtues of coffee and the benefits of drinking this ever popular beverage, amidst a stage set with baristas, bags of coffee beans and an espresso machine.

I always enjoy the Brandenburg concerts and this one rates as one of their best.

Sydney: City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place on 25, 27, 28, 31 October & 1 November at 7pm, plus a matinee on 28 October at 2pm.

Melbourne: Recital Centre on 4 November at 7pm & 5 November at 5pm.

Sandra Tiltman


NEW CANON PHOTO GALLERY AT HYATT REGENCY

October 9, 2017

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Hyatt Regency Sydney and Canon Australia have collaborated in the opening of “The Gallery”, located in the Hotel’s Heritage Bar, a whitewashed airy space fronting Sussex Street, that will feature photographic works from a selection of the country’s premier photographers.

Works covering such themes as music, sport, food, fashion and pure celebrity will be displayed over the coming months until June 2018.

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For the opening exhibition, two images from each of the selected photographers have been hung, showcasing what’s in store for upcoming exhibitions, where a new featured photographer’s works will be displayed commencing on the first Friday of each month.

Portraiture photographer Hugh Stewart’s Celebrity Portrait series, featuring subjects such as Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine, Julie Bishop, Jenny Morris and Asher Keddie will be on display in November.

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Other photographers include Sean Scott (ocean landscape), Jarrad Seng (music and travel), Cybele Malinowski (fashion and music), Krystle Wright (adventure sports), Michelle Aboud (editorial, advertising and portraiture) and Simon Harsent (fine art and advertising).

The free exhibitions will run from 6:30am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday and visitors will have the opportunity to purchase images on display, with proceeds to support select charities.

Sandra Tiltman      Photos: John Pond


FIGARO AT THE GENESIAN

September 16, 2017

IMG_5845.jpgFast paced dialogue plus a convoluted story full of intrigue, keeps the audience alert and on the edge of their seats, while watching the Genesian Theatre’s latest production. Charles Morey’s “Figaro”, is an adaptation of “Le Mariage de Figaro”, based on the play written in 1778 by Beaumarchais, which was initially banned by the censors due to criticism of the French aristocracy and gave voice to the growing revolutionary thinking of the era.

Directed by Shane Bates and with costumes designed by Susan Carveth, “Figaro” is set in late 18th century Spain and highlights the difference in the class structure of the day. The action evolves around Figaro, Count Almaviva’s man servant, who is engaged to Suzanne, the maidservant to the Countess. The mayhem arises when the Count, who has been married for three years, will not sign the marriage contract allowing Figaro and Suzanne’s marriage to go ahead, as he has his own plans for Suzanne.

Suzanne and the Countess are dubious of the Figaro-ian scheme to persuade the Count of his love for the Countess and decide to take matters into their own hands. Mistaken identities and broken promises follow, along with a love sick page, a birthmark in the shape of a spatula and plenty of doors and letters.

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Ted Crosby as Figaro plays the role with a gifted comedic touch, while Yasmin Arkinstall as Suzanne is the perfect foil to carry off the madcap happenings.

“Figaro” is currently playing at the Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent Street, Sydney until 14 October 2017. Friday & Saturday nights at 7.30pm with a Sunday matinée at 4.30pm.

Sandra Tiltman


MY FAIR LADY RETURNS

September 5, 2017

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After a record breaking season last year, the 60th anniversary revival of Lerner & Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” is now playing at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre for a limited return season.

Directed by Julie Andrews, this beloved musical, which took the world by storm, tells the tale of Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle, whose world was forever changed by the brilliant and demanding phoneticist, Professor Henry Higgins. The clash of cultures sparks some of theatre’s most witty dialogue and wonderful songs such as “I Could Have Danced All Night”, “Get Me to the Church on Time”, “On The Street Where You Live” and “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”.

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Helpmann Award winning Anna O’Byrne, is absolutely superb as Eliza Doolittle, playing alongside acclaimed stage and television performer Charles Edwards as Professor Higgins.

The outstanding cast includes the delightful Reg Livermore in the role of Alfred P. Doolittle and Robyn Nevin (who also won a Helpmann Award for this role) playing Mrs Higgins with such elegance.

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The role of Colonel Hugh Pickering is played with aplomb by Tony Llewellyn-Jones as is the role of love struck Freddy Eynsford-Hill by Joel Parnis.

Associates of the original design team have worked with this production to bring to life once again the stunning sets by Oliver Smith and the glorious costumes by Cecil Beaton.  It’s hard to imagine another production that can equal these incredible sets and magnificent costumes.

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Contributing to the creative team is Tony award winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli, musical director Guy Simpson, lighting design by Broadway and West End legend Richard Pilbrow and sound design by Michael Waters.

This award winning production is an experience not to be missed.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos: John Pond

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