Immerse yourself in the Sounds of the Australia at Sydney Opera House this July, as Australia’s leading choirs for young people come together to celebrate 30 years of Sydney Children’s Choir.

The one night only gala concert kicks off the week-long Gondwana World Choral Festival, which is set to be the greatest gathering of international choirs in Australia this century. More than one thousand young singers from some of the world’s finest choirs will converge on Sydney to join in song on 15 – 21 July 2019.

Described by ABC Classic as “a jewel in the crown of Australian music-making”, Sydney Children’s Choir is a national treasure. Gondwana Choirs’ Artistic Director Lyn Williams AM founded Sydney Children’s Choir in 1989 and gave life to a new and distinctly Australian genre of choral music. Continue reading SOUNDS OF AUSTRALIA @ CONCERT HALL SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE


Play On! tells the story of a plucky community theatre group trying desperately to produce a murder mystery play with a plot which doesn’t actually have a murder, an interfering playwright who keeps changing the script, and an increasingly disgruntled cast and crew.

All your typical ‘theatre types’ make an appearance in this hilarious romp. The Director (Susan Mozell) along with the Stage Manager (Carol Keeble) and Lighting and Sound Technician (Frances Etheridge) work furiously to keep on top of the Playwright’s (Anthea Brown) script changes and keep her out of the way of the bickering cast, which includes Character Actors (Michael Richmond and Lois Marsh), a Supporting Actor (Georgia Golledge), a Villain (Mark Massingham), a Juvenile (Blake Eaton) and an Ingenue (Prudence Foxe).

Presented in 3 acts, the audience is witness to a rehearsal of the dreadful show ‘Murder Most Foul’ (Act 1), a disastrous dress rehearsal (Act II), and the ‘Opening Night’ performance (Act 3), in which anything that can go wrong, does.

If you like Noises Off!, the Play That Goes Wrong, or have ever been a part of a community theatre production, then you’ll love Play on!

June 7: 7:30pm | June 8: 2pm & 7:30pm |June 9: 2pm | June 14: 7:30pm | June 15: 2pm & 7:30pm | June 16: 2pm at Hunters Hill Theatre, 22 Alexandra Street Hunters Hill 2110.

For more about Hunters Hill Theatre presents Play On!, visit
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Join mezzo soprano Jenny Duck-Chong (Halcyon) and the Geist String Quartet for the world premiere of THE ART OF DISAPPEARING, a poignant new song cycle by Sydney composer Cameron Lam.

The composer writes, “Written for and dedicated to mezzo soprano Jenny Duck-Chong after years of mentorship and friendship, THE ART OF DISAPPEARING is a hour-long song cycle for voice and string quartet. I was drawn to the poetry of Queensland writer, Sarah Holland-Batt for its intimacy, musicality, and immense sense of self. The striking thing about Sarah’s poetry for me, was that it was arresting, it stopped me in my tracks – it sang all by itself and I just wanted to add to that.”

Limelight Magazine describes Cameron’s music as “a fantastical world in which mythological stories comes to life”. But drawn to the raw and profound poetry of Sarah’s award-winning collection Aria, in this new work he has delved deep into the traditions of art song and string quartet repertoire in search of a work of intimate connections. Songs and instrumentals are interwoven to tell stories of reminiscence, loss and grief through time. The cycle doesn’t present loss as something to solve; instead, it paints the inexorable journey from stasis, as we learn to move again… Continue reading THE ART OF DISAPPEARING : A POIGNANT NEW SONG CYCLE


“I didn’t think we would last 12 months, let alone two decades”, says Jenny Eriksson, founder of The Marais Project, one of the few Australian ensembles built around the viola da gamba, a rare 7 string cello-like instrument with frets, interest in which peaked in France around the time of King Louis XIV. The Marais Project’s output over the past 20 years has been impressive: 6 CDs and a 7th recording with Eriksson’s electric viola da gamba group, Elysian Fields. There have also been appearances at festivals, a tour to New Zealand and numerous media interviews and studio performances. Along the way Jenny has commissioned and premiered more than 25 new Australian compositions and given some 3000 performances with Musica Viva in Schools.

As the name implies, the 20th Anniversary CD has a festive theme and includes several world premieres, not the least of which is Eriksson’s own composition, The Garden Party. In addition, there is a superb arrangement of a Marais suite for viola da gamba and piano accordion by Emily-Rose Šárkova. As well as playing the piano accordion on the recording Šárkova also arranged the two extroverted South American songs which close the recording. Continue reading MARAIS PROJECT 20TH ANNIVERSARY CD LAUNCH : GIVEAWAYS


Ashleigh Wilson’s essay ON ARTISTS is a pain in the arts.

Wilson quotes George Orwell- “If Shakespeare returned to Earth tomorrow and if it were found out that his favourite recreation was raping little girls in railway carriages, we should not tell him to go ahead with it on the ground that he might write another King Lear.”

No. We would incarcerated the dastardly Bard like we would any criminal and he would write another masterpiece in jail. Artists are not above the law and artistic temperament is not a defence against abusive behaviour.

At a basic level its impossible to detach the artist from the art. As long as humans are making art, then the context of their lives influences the work they produce. But how can we measure the extent of that influence?

Art by its very nature emphasises the strengths of the talent as well as the flaws in the character. It is the perversions or predatory proclivity not the performance or art that are abhorrent.

Wilson also quotes Rachel Campbell-Johnston, chef art critic for the times – “it remains the duty of a civilised society to preserve art works that reveal our human nature – even with its worst flaws.”

Should Spacey be expunged from his body of work, made give back his Oscars?

Should Wagner be proscribed in Israel because of apparent anti-Semetic leanings?

This is part of a much older discussion about the nature of aesthetic judgement. When the German philosopher Immanuel Kant described the conditions by which we evaluate the beauty of “an object or a kind of representation” in his aesthetic treatise of 1790,The Critique of Judgement, he stipulated the essential quality of “disinterestedness.”

Disinterestedness is the attitude that permits us to assess work without the influence of an internal agenda or external interference—a requirement, in other words, that we understand a work of art purely on its own terms, unmarred by historical precedent, biographical detail, political, social or moral implication. If Kant were alive today, he would probably argue that only the work matters—not the men behind it, or their deeds.

ON ARTISTS by Ashleigh Wilson is published by Melbourne University Press.


Be part of a MASSIVE exhibition launch on Saturday 18 May as two new exhibitions come to our galleries. Admission is free. All are welcome.

IN-Formalism witnesses the evolution of abstract non-objective art in Australia from 1968. The exhibition surveys the key generations of artists who have contributed to the ongoing language of abstract art. The exhibition presents these art works alongside a chain of references to the Liverpool area, revealing the influences of abstract non-objective art as broad and still constantly evolving. IN-Formalism launches Saturday 18 May.

Drawing from iconic and classical images of the Madonna and Child (created mostly by men), artists in Everyday Madonna respond to the ideas of motherhood from their own perspective. They respond to societal and cultural expectations of motherhood to create an expanded definitions of mothers: real, imperfect, resilient, vulnerable, leaders of resistance, fierce protectors and artists. Everyday Madonna launches Saturday 18 May. Continue reading EXHIBITION LAUNCH: IN-FORMALISM AND EVERYDAY MADONNA



Vibrant , bold and colourful , lushly filmed , this is a terrific , fascinating biographical look at the illustrious post-Impressionist artist Paul Gaugin ( 1848 -1903) .

It is directed by Edouard Deluc, from a script he wrote with Etienne Comar, Thomas Lilti and Sarah Kaminsky, based on Gauguin’s travel diary “Noa Noa” (Tahitian for “fragrance”) . Starring Vincent Cassel as Gaugin ,It has a score by Warren Ellis and cinematography by Pierre Cottereau. We learn a lot about Gaugin’s life but the film concentrates on the years — 1891 to 1893 -when Gauguin fled the artistic and financial struggles of his difficult Paris life for French Polynesian archipelago.

The film jumps around the world to various important museums , Gaugin’s studio in Paris and also treasured caches on the islands Gaugin visited and the houses he built on the islands . So we see various installations of his works in Paris, Bretagne, Edinburgh, and to the most prestigious art museums of the United States, where most of his masterpieces are preserved: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The National Gallery of Art in Washington; and The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Curators , art historians and other experts talk about Gaugin’s rather turbulent at times life.

There are fabulous views of the islands of Tahiti and the surrounding area and the glorious, luxurious environment today. There is also fascinating black and white footage and or photographs of Paris and elsewhere where Gaugin lived from the period (eg his house Maison du Jour) . Continue reading GAUGIN IN TAHITI : PARADISE LOST


Above: ARCO Director Rachael Beesley was soloist in the Mozart Violin Concerto in A major KV 219. Featured image : The Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra. Pics by Nick Gilbert.

The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra (ARCO) delivered yet another substantial instalment in its five-year concert history. Following on from its last concert, which featured both the Mozart Clarinet Concerto and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, we were treated to another concert favourite in the early symphony genre, namely Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G minor.

With an associated ‘Voyage of Musical Discovery’ seminar discussion in the week following this concert, and rarely heard works from the Mannheim court composers, ARCO’s performance event was once again a perfect example of their mission statement to  ‘inspire, educate, enlighten’.

This was a vibrant snapshot of the birth of the symphony and the dazzling Mannheim string effects that impressed eighteenth century audiences. Concluding with the much-loved Mozart No 40 in its HIP  (historically informed performance) guise, this was quite the showcase for this orchestra and the early symphony alike. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN ROMANTIC & CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA: MANNHEIM ROCKET @ CITY RECITAL HALL


Due to budget constraints and insurance cost blow-outs, several free outdoor events in .Sydney no longer take place.

This is not the case with Buddha’s birthday, celebrating its 28th year at Tumbalong Park. Its principal sponsor and organiser is the Nan Kien Temple near Wollongong, the largest temple of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.

Apart from the fact that if you are a Buddhist this was a beautifully staged event for you to say your prayers or make wishes, it is also a feast for the eyes. By this I mean the many diverse food stalls and souvenir outlets from  several parts of South East Asia which encircle  Tumbalong Park. Accordingly if you favour a certain Asian cuisine you can most likely obtain it at Buddha’s birthday.

The same can be said of cultural showcases  with dancers  performing from Bali to Beijing.

Each year it gets bigger and better and this year  behind the performance area it had the biggest Buddha statue to date. Therefore I’m really looking forward to next year for more eye popping displays (weather permitting).

Pics by Ben Apfelbaum


I live in an area close to where the Global Table is held annually in May.

This is the first time in its 14 year history that I have attended it albeit with insufficient time.

Waverley Council believes that music and food bring together diverse groups of people thereby fostering harmony and tolerance.

Situated under a very large marquee, the Global Table itself a 35 metre long table lined by stalls from many countries around the world..

Forming almost a ‘T’ intersection to the Table is a performance stage where people performing dancing or music express their ethnic culture all in clear view of the contented diners and other passers by in the Bondi Junction mall.

In the time that I was there  I saw an exhibition of Middle Eastern bellydancing as well as  a performance by an Indonesian song and dance troupe. I would have liked to linger longer but I had errands to do in a limited time.

As a result of what I witnessed I will make sure that this is not my last Global Table visit.

Pics by Ben Apfelbaum


From Wollongong to Wyong, from Port Macquarie to Penrith and Parramatta, Jonathon Biggins has been touring his wildly acclaimed play throughout New South Wales.

Wherever Biggins takes this show he performs nearly always to deserved full houses. Paul Keating is unique in that he has had two shows written about him that are highly entertaining ie that is Keating The Musical and now The Gospel According To Paul.

I must declare my bias in that I am a huge fan of Paul Keating. I used to watch question time in Parliament to witness Keating’s  wit and viciousness. In this regard I am similar to President Suharto who although he was a dictator would obtain tapes of Paul Keating performing during Question Time and as a result relations with Indonesia  became warmer. Continue reading THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL @ THE PLAYHOUSE

SYDNEY REVIEWS Screen + Stage + Performing Arts + Literary Arts + Visual Arts + Cinema + Theatre