All posts by Alan Hartstein

Alan has worked in the media business for nearly 20 years as an editor, writer and sub editor across a large number of newspaper, magazine and online newsletter titles. He has had a passion for stage and screen for as long as he can remember and has, he admits, never been backwards in coming forwards when it comes to having an opinion. His interest in the arts runs across the full spectrum, from opera, ballet and musicals, to symphony concerts to large music festivals, pub gigs and just about everything in between.

TRANSITIONS FILM FESTIVAL COMING TO SYDNEY

The Transitions Film Festival returns to Sydney this April with another enthralling line-up of cutting-edge documentaries about the existential challenges, mega-trends, game-changing technologies and creative visions that are redefining what it means to be human.

The festival focuses on sharing inspirational stories about the solutions to society’s greatest challenges and showcases the local heroes and changemakers who are building a better world.

Covering a huge range of mind-expanding themes, including: climate change, regenerative agriculture, artificial intelligence, innovation and youth activism, this year’s festival will change the way you look at the world.

Featuring a stellar line-up of powerful films and inspirational guest speakers, the Transitions Film Festival runs from the 1st until the 4th of April at Dendy Cinemas Newtown.

For more about Transitions Film Festival Sydney tour, visit https://www.transitionsfilmfestival.com/sydney-program–2019
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BABES ABLAZE @ RED RATTLER THEATRE

Australia’s only fire cabaret returns to Sydney after a blazing debut in April 2018, with more spellbinding fire fusion acts featuring the cream of Sydney’s fire performance crop!

Produced and hosted by Melbourne cabaret powerhouse Sophie deLightful, this edition of Babes Ablaze will try to connect with your deepest desires – a truly unique spectacle of talent, creativity and daring feats. Stay tuned for performer announcements featuring burlesque, lollipop pole dancing, Cosplay, cabaret singing and more…

Set your night on fire this April and support one of Marrickville’s most iconic warehouse venues. Please note there is limited parking on weekends.

*** CASH BAR ***

“Hot Seat” VIP: $40 (limited)
Includes priority couch seating, fire cabaret show and fire fairy usher
** THESE SEATS SOLD OUT LAST YEAR, SO DON’T DELAY **

General Admission presale: $30
Includes fire cabaret show (seating not guaranteed – arrive early to get the best view)
Door price: $35 (subject to availability)

DATE- 
12 April, 9-10:30pm Doors open at 8pm. Red Rattler Theatre 6 Favisham Street, Marrickville Tickets can be purchased via Sticky Tickets

For more about Babes Ablaze Sydney II, visit http://www.redrattler.org/
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WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY CHAMBER SERIES CONCERT 1

Those of us in the shamefully small audience (where was everyone?) were treated to a heavenly concert, the first of this year’s Willoughby Symphony Chamber series at the Zenith.

After a wonderfully successful first year, the Willoughby Symphony’s chamber music series returns for its second season with three exhilarating concert experiences in 2019. This year the Artistic Director for the Chamber series is Daniel Dean.

This  concert was full of fine ensemble playing which was rich textured and multi layered. First we heard Louise Farrenc’s Nonet in E-flat which brought her great acclaim and, perhaps more importantly, equal pay as a composer, in 1850. The first movement began with a rich, flowing opening for strings and woodwind. The nine magnificent players then entwined in an infectious melody with some bright rather bouncy sections contrasted with soaring lyrical segments and showy solos for some of the instruments. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY CHAMBER SERIES CONCERT 1

AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : BACH’S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS

 

Happy Birthday to the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra! This year marks their 30th birthday and the season began with a glittering , joyous concert. There were many VIPS in the audience and the Orchestra’s playing under the enthusiastic and very energetic baton of Paul Dyer was in superb form . There were huge garlands of flowers across the middle balcony above the Orchestra .

Introductory speeches were made by Bruce Appelbaum the Managing director and then Dame Quentin Bryce .

We heard five of Bach’s Brandendburg Concertos. Written in 1721 the concertos were submitted to a possible patron the Margrave of Brandenburg and are a magnificent showcase to feature the musicians of the Orchestra on their period instruments and continual refinement of Historically Informed Performance style .

First was No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049 in three movements which featured recorders as played by Melissa Farrow and Mikaela Oberg. The first movement was bright and sprightly , the music leaping cascading and pulsating. Shaun Lee Chen had a fiery, insistent solo on his violin .The fluid music became a breathless dialogue for the ensemble.

The second movement was slower with a looping repeated melody and in the third the violins were energetic and emphatic with a featured very fast bubbly trio for Lee- Chen ,Farrow and Oberg on recorder , with another showy solo for Chen . Again a great dialogue ensued between all the ensemble leading to an emphatic conclusion. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : BACH’S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS

CHAMBER POT OPERA RETURNS TO SYDNEY AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Following seasons in Adelaide, Edinburgh and St Petersburg, Russia, CHAMBER POT OPERA returns to Sydney to play in Australia’s foremost Opera venue, the Sydney Opera House for its final season, commencing 11 April 2019. Tickets go on sale on Friday 22 February.

CHAMBER POT OPERA tells the story of three women who meet for the first time in a public bathroom. One is in an abusive relationship, another is terrified that she has come on too strong on a date, and the third has been promoted through the glass ceiling to land her dream job. Together they sing of shared histories, traumas and fantasies using a catalogue of popular music from the operas of Puccini, Mozart and Bizet.

A uniquely intimate production, CHAMBER POT OPERA will be performed for only 42 audience members at a time in the elegant Playhouse Ladies Bathroom at the Sydney Opera House. The three performers will utilise the entirety of the splendid and intimate space from the bathroom sinks and decorative mirrors to the hand dryers and toilet stalls to weave together a story in a setting where women can safely express themselves.

Originally performed in November 2016, this new season of CHAMBER POT OPERA Is due in no small part to the Sydney Opera House’s commitment to creating new operas for contemporary audiences as well as its commitment to fostering new, young, and exciting artistic talent.

CHAMBER POT OPERA features a talented team of singers and creatives from NIDA and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Created by director Clemence Williams (Banging Denmark), musical director Keiren Brandt-Sawdy (Mansfield Park) and dramaturg Thomas De Angelis (Unfinished Works) and with a cast including Sally Alrich-Smythe (The Phantom of the Opera), Britt Lewis (Rent) and Jessica Westcott (La Boheme), this production brings together Australia’s next generation of opera performers and creators.

Director and co-creator Clemence Williams says that this season “is the culmination of three years of touring the world and bringing our message of the timelessness and beauty of opera to the masses, one bathroom at a time!” The idea for the show came from Williams’ own experience being a performer confined to the ‘bitches, witches and breeches’ roles in opera.

Dramaturg and co-creator Thomas De Angelis says, “It seemed like the right time to bring Chamber Pot Opera home, and particularly to stage it in Australia’s most recognisable cultural institution, the Sydney Opera House. We’ve made some changes to the show and added some new material – and crucially, we’ve tried to keep the ticket prices as low as possible to maximise the accessibility of the show.”

CHAMBER POT OPERA is the only opera written and designed specifically for publicly accessible women’s bathrooms. It’s sure to delight opera novices and aficionados alike.

“Chamber Pot Opera makes opera accessible, celebrates the power women can have when they choose to support each other, and forces audiences to rethink their opinions of performance spaces.” – Broadway World

“Don’t be surprised to see these singers on great operatic stages in the future. In the meantime, go along and see this great little show — it’s a gem.” – Adelaide Advertiser

“For those who love Opera you must see this, for those who are novices, you also must see this.” – Stage Whispers

CHAMBER POT OPERA
Presented by Bontom Productions and Sydney Opera House
Created by Keiren Brandt-Sawdy, Thomas De Angelis and Clemence Williams
Directed by Clemence Williams
Musical Direction by Keiren Brandt-Sawdy
Dramaturgy by Thomas De Angelis
With Sally Alrich-Smythe, Britt Lewis and Jessica Westcott

DATES 
11 April – 28 April (7pm and 8:30pm) at the  Playhouse Ladies Bathroom at the Sydney Opera House

For more about Chamber Pot Opera, visit https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/opera/2019/chamber-pot-opera.html
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Bach Akademie Australia brings the joy of J.S. Bach to Parramatta

The music of J.S. Bach will come alive in March in Parramatta at a very special concert by Bach Akademie Australia, performing two of his greatest Cantatas and the rarely performed Ascension.

Founder of Bach Akademie Australia, Madeleine Easton, is an internationally acclaimed Australian violinist, director and concertmaster who works with some of the most respected ensembles and orchestras around the world.

For the first time, Bach Akademie Australia will perform with a full choir of hand-picked singers from around Australia including four internationally regarded vocal soloists.

DATE FOR THE DIARY 
Saturday 30 March 8pm-9.30pm at St Patricks Cathedral, 1 Marist Place, Parramatta

For more about Bach Akademie Australia brings the joy of J.S. Bach to Parramatta, visit https://www.bachakademieaustralia.com.au
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BLAK MARKETS @ BARE ISLAND LA PEROUSE

Join Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artisans at the iconic Blak Markets at Bare Island La Perouse Sunday, February 24 from 9:30am to 3pm.

Arts and Craft have always been a focus at the Blak Markets and this market will have the famous shellworkers from La Perouse, Auntie Esme Timbery and Marilyn Russell doing a shellwork workshop and selling their art.

This market will also feature Native plants including bushfoods, which are being developed by Indigigrow, the other social enterprise arm of the charity who runs the Blak Markets.

The Blak Markets are a great chance to buy authentic unique gifts knowing that 100% of the profits go back into Aboriginal communities. The Blak Markets feature authentic, original and affordable Aboriginal artworks, beauty products and one-of-a-kind homewares and jewellery as well as Indigenous inspired food and refreshments.

Along with a dance performance, Aboriginal singer/songwriter, Maddi Lyn who has a deep passion for Country Music will be singing on the day, along with a interactive session for the kids with Larry Brandy Storytellers.

DATES
24 February, 12 May, 29 September, 15 December Bare Island La Perouse

For more about Blak Markets, visit https://blakmarkets.com/
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COMING SOON : RICK STEIN – LIVE ON STAGE

Rick Stein, one of the world’s most highly respected chefs, brings a perfect fusion of travel and food to the stage at Sydney’s State Theatre for one night only on Thursday 4 April. Tickets to RICK STEIN – LIVE ON STAGE go on sale on 7 February from Ticketmaster.

In conversation with Richard Glover, Stein will discuss his stellar career while taking us on a journey of discovery, meandering through the world’s greatest culinary regions, bringing to life the people and the places, and sharing his experiences of travelling in search of the extraordinary.

Rick Stein is an English chef, restaurateur and TV presenter who owns world renowned restaurants in Cornwall, England as well as being head chef and co-owner of the newly opened Rick Stein at Bannisters at Port Stephens, sister property to the immensely popular Bannisters by the Sea at Mollymook.

Best known for his many BBC TV series that have kept him perpetually globetrotting since his first appearance in 1985, Rick Stein has twenty-seven books to his name, each bringing the world’s most wonderful dishes to our kitchens at home.

DATE FOR THE DIARY 
Thursday 4th April 2019 @ 7:30pm at the State Theatre

For more about Rick Stein – Live on Stage, visit https://www.statetheatre.com.au/show-calendar/rick-stein/
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SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER COMING SOON TO THE LYRIC THEATRE

Based on the 1977 movie starring John Travolta, this is the story of 19-year-old Tony Manero, a Brooklyn youth whose weekend is spent at the local discotheque, where life lights up on the disco floor. There, Tony luxuriates in the admiration of the crowd and a growing relationship with Stephanie Mangano, and where he can temporarily forget the realities of his life, including a dead-end job in a paint store and his gang of deadbeat friends.

The coveted lead role of Tony Manero has gone to rising star Euan Doidge, Helpmann Award nominated for his role in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, after performing in Les Miserables, A Chorus Line and the Gordon Frost Organisation’s Grease and Legally Blonde. As Stephanie Mangano, the best dancer at the nightclub, will be Melanie Hawkins. Melanie has previously appeared in Singin’ In The Rain, Strictly Ballroom the Musical, King Kong Live on Stage and Rock of Ages.

Tim “Timomatic” Omaji will join the cast of Saturday Night Fever as Monty, the MC at Disco Odyssey 2001, the nightclub where Tony Manero dances every Saturday night. Tim has starred in the musicals Fame, In the Heights and Madiba the Musical. Tony’s older brother, Frank Jr., will be played by Stephen Mahy, recently seen in Mamma Mia!, as well as in Miss Saigon and as Kenicke in Grease. Angelique Cassimatis (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mack & Mabel, Strictly Ballroom) will play Annette, a neighbourhood girl who longs for a closer relationship with Tony. The troubled Bobby C will be played by Ryan Morgan, a recent NIDA graduate who has appeared on stage in A Town Named War Boy and Ironbound.

Australia’s original disco diva, Marcia Hines, will play the role of The Diva, who performs at Disco Odyssey 2001. Bobby Fox joins the cast as part of the star vocalists alongside Paulini, Natalie Conway and Nana Matapule. Together they will give voice to the much-loved disco Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

The cast also includes the best dancers working in Australia today – Justin Anderson, Giuliana Carniato, Lachlan Dearing, Lauren Elton, Mitchell Fistrovic, Gaynor Hicks, Elysha Manik, Kiara McGowan, Coby Njoroge, Maddie Peat, Stephen Perez, Erica Stubbs, Lola Thompson, Benjamin Turland and Chris Van Doren.

Saturday Night Fever is based on the Paramount/RSO movie and the story by Nik Cohn, adapted for the stage by Robert Stigwood and Bill Oakes, while the new version has been arranged and edited by Ryan McBryde. Music and lyrics are by artists including the Bee Gees.

DATES
Wed-Thurs 7.30pm, Fri-Sat 8pm, Matinees Wed 1pm & Sat 2pm, Sun 1pm & 6pm at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, 55 Pirrama Street, Pyrmont, from the 27th March, 2019.

For more about Saturday Night Fever, visit https://saturdaynightfever.com.au/
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SENIOR MOMENTS : COMING SOON TO THE CONCOURSE

After sell-out shows around the country, the hilarious comedy revue Senior Moments is back by popular demand for a new national tour from February, with the legendary John Wood, Max Gillies, Benita Collings and Geoff Harvey returning with a cast of young and old in this senior theatrical smash-hit.

Return Fire Productions is thrilled to announce this hugely popular comedy sensation will be touring the nation from February, to theatres in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Canberra, and regionally to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Newcastle, Wollongong, Caloundra, Port Macquarie and more. Tickets are on sale now!

SENIOR M OMENTS is a comedy revue about old people and the young people they have to deal with, with sketches and songs and performers who are old enough to know better, all making wicked fun of the trials and tribulations of growing old disgracefully.

It’s a seriously silly show for otherwise sensible seniors.

Gold Logie winner and veteran actor John Wood (Blue Heelers, Rafferty’s Rules) joins master satirist Max Gillies (The Gillies Report), Play School icon Benita Collings, Kim Lewis (Sons and Daughters, The Restless Years) and Russell Newman (A Country Practice, Underbelly), with Midday Show Maestro Geoff Harvey on piano.

The show  is a deliciously funny and fresh collection of comic senior moments, scenes and songs, with hilarious sketches and wonderfully witty songs performed by some legendary show business seniors, coming to a theatre near you.

SENIOR MOMENTS is  a seriously funny revue for slightly old people.

DATES FOR THE DIARY: 
Wednesday 20 February, 2pm Thursday 21 February, 2pm Friday 22 February, 11:30am Friday 22 February, 7:30pm Saturday 23 February, 2pm Saturday 23 February, 7:30pm Sunday 24 February, 12:30pm Sunday 24 February, 4:30pm at the Concourse, Chatswood

For more about Senior Moments, visit https://theconcourse.com.au/senior-moments-comedy-revue/
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METAMORPHOSIS : A NEW ADAPTATION : COMING SOON

Following Clock and Spiel Productions’ sell-out tour of The Screwtape Letters in 2016/17, and critically acclaimed production of Freud’s Last Session; the company returns with a new take on Kafka’s candid and cautionary tale.

The Samsa family have their ordinary, everyday lives turned upside down when their son Gregor wakes up transformed into a monstrous insect. Revulsion turns to resentment as they contemplate continuing to recognise Gregor as part of their family. A new adaptation of the iconic Kafka tale; Metamorphosis is going to be theatrical, terrifying and bizarrely comic. As the ordinary and everyday become unusual and hostile, what would it be like to be completely transformed and yet still desperately need to belong? Continue reading METAMORPHOSIS : A NEW ADAPTATION : COMING SOON