Tag Archives: Chatswood


Directed by Peter Coleman-Wright AO, conducted by Luke Spicer and showcasing the magnificent talents of Pacific Opera and Willoughby Symphony ,this is a bright, bold and colourful abridged version of Mozart’s opera. Performed and filmed at the Concourse, Chatswood, it was streamed online by the Australian Digital Concert Hall.

The MAGIC FLUTE was sung in German with English and traditional Chinese scene descriptions. Produced in association with the Australia China Institute for Arts and Culture at the Western Sydney University, the opera, staged with an Asian aesthetic,was part of Chatswood Culture Bites 2022 and Willoughby Council’s Year of the Tiger festival.

The opera recounts the adventures of Prince Tamino, an Asian price, and the bird-catcher Papageno on their quest to rescue Princess Pamina. Lost in a foreign land, Tamino is pursued by an enormous dragon, among the many trials and tribulations they must conquer. To assist their mission, they are given musical instruments with magical powers, which they use on their journey towards a deeper understanding of true love and happiness .The opera is multi layered but at times sprightly , a quest of self discovery ,worldly mysterious , metaphysical yet dynamic .Mozart’s score ranges from folk melodies , noble classical arias for Tamino and the Baroque fierceness of the Queen of the Night’s showcase aria There are also the Masonic elements alluded to that got Mozart into such trouble at the time. Some arias are absent as are the animals and chorus.

Staging and choreography are kept simple but are very effective, with great lighting effects and an uncomplicated set, often green, with small square ottomans for characters to sit on if necessary.

The plot is condensed into its crucial points.The gaps are filled in with the synopsis on the back screen , the excellent costuming and make-up (bright colours and face makeup for the good characters; dark colours for the evil ones) and the clear, dramatic lighting .
Luke Spicer enthusiastically,scrupulously conducted the somewhat reduced orchestra (yet every section was included). Musically it was splendid, the orchestra adroitly supporting the singers.

Our hero Prince Tamino (Daniel Verschuer) was all in white and has a charismatic presence and gave a warmly lyrical performance. Princess Pamina was given a fine performance by Mikayla Tate.

Nick Geddes as Papageno was tremendous, boisterous and jocular in his tattered , patched bright and colourful outfit . (Not forgetting his Pan pipes and xylophone).

Rachel Mink as Papagena was fresh and delightful and was in fine form with her sonorous voice. Her duet with Geddes was charming.

Ayako Ohtake as Queen of the Night was extremely striking and impressive with her showcase aria where she shoots furious icy sparks. She was majestically, imposingly clad in a black gown with a dragon motif and a crown.

Kirralee Hillier, Elizabeth Cooper and Rebecca O’Hanlon as the three attendants of the Queen of the Night are striking in red and are engaging in their ensemble , while the three sprites in white,Melanie Jha, Megan Kim and Olivia Morberger are consistent in their deft trios.
A terrific production, a great way to introduce audiences to opera.

The Pacific Opera/Willoughby Symphony performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute was performed live at the Concourse, Chatswood 19 February 2022 and was streamed by the Australian Digital Concert Hall 31 March 2022
running time 90 minutes no interval


Australia’s premier jazz/rock artist presents an unforgettable night of classic rock.  A magnificent homage to two of rocks greatest albums – Astral Weeks – Van Morrison’s most critically acclaimed album and Moondance, his most commercially successful.  This magnificent evening feature all your favourite hits from the classic albums.

“One of the joys of bringing Van Morrison’s Masterpieces back to The Concourse, is the opportunity to get together with the wonderful musicians of The Astral Orchestra who have been so important to its success,” said Vince Jones.  “They are among the finest jazz musicians in the country and bring with them the warmth, subtlety, and swing that these classic albums require.”

Australia’s leading jazz vocalist, Vince Jones, is also a remarkable interpreter and composer of songs in a contemporary jazz style – a style that appeals equally to listeners and his musical peers. Continue reading VINCE JONES AND THE ASTRAL ORCHESTRAL PLAY VAN MORRISON CLASSICS


This latest concert by Willoughby Symphony was performed and filmed in August at the Concourse with a very reduced audience and Orchestra because of Covid. Social distancing was enforced.

It was energetically and enthusiastically conducted by Dr Nicholas Milton with his usual precise, dramatic control. The Orchestra was heavily reduced, using ‘ just’ the strings section. We also were treated to some glorious singing and acting by the splendid young artists of Pacific Opera.

The concert was a celebration of Mozart’s music with some extra, popular tidbits by other composers, some of which have almost become Willoughby Symphony’s signature pieces. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY : A MOZART CELEBRATION

The Drowsy Chaperone @ The Zenith Theatre in Chatswood

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE is a stunning modern parody of 1920s American Musical Comedies, vividly presenting the fictional 1928 Broadway Hit musical THE DROWSY CHAPERONE.

A constant Narrator (Man in Chair) played superbly and authentically and with gusto by David Verdejois, is the ultimate Broadway Nostalgia Fan, who acknowledges and talks to the audience, taking the entire audience through the delicious delights of his favourite musical. Stopping and then re-starting the musical, to provide the audience with his clever behind-the-scenes insightful commentary on the music, the play, the actors, the characters, and the tap-dancing.  Plus an unexpected bedroom arrives, and an unusual entrance double-doorway opens onto the stage.                    Continue reading The Drowsy Chaperone @ The Zenith Theatre in Chatswood


The latest wonderful concert by Willoughby Symphony was entitled ENIGMA .Under the inspired graceful and enthusiastic conducting of Dr Nicholas Milton the Orchestra had a huge rich sound and was in top form.

First up we heard Gershwin’s An American in Paris, jauntY, frantic and bustling. (Readers might be familiar with the 1951 movie). There were perhaps overtones of jazz and also Ravel, It was bright, bouncy and tumbling but also featured quieter, more lyrical moments. A smoky trumpet and strident tuba as well as whirling, scurrying rhythms contrasted with shimmering delicate strings and woodwind all leading to the stirring, crashing conclusion. And look and listen out for the taxi horns!

Then came an astonishing virtuoso performance of Henri Tomasi’s Trumpet Concerto, with guest star Rainer Saville in a dazzling display. It was a challenging showcase. Sometimes the Orchestra was rich and flowing, other times sharp and spiky. Saville on trumpet was like a leading tenor with sliding runs and trills and at times a rather martial sound. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : ENIGMA @ THE CONCOURSE



Part of the Vivid Music program. the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra was in fine form for this exciting ,challenging concert that included two world premieres.

Guest conductorFabian Russell led the Orchestra elegantly yet energetically with precise control.

The concert began with Maurice Ravel’s Le tombeau le Couperin , a work dedicated to friends and acquaintances the composer lost in in the first World War While. Inspired by Couperin, the work is distinctly 20th Century.

The first movement with its shimmering harp and strings rippled and flowed .The second movement opened strongly and featured the woodwind. The melody was passed around the various sections of the Orchestra and then a second bouncy, bounding melody was taken and developed. The third movement was mostly a dialogue between the string sections that builds to a sweeping crescendo then calms and becomes lyrical, almost birdlike but with rumbling undertones beneath. The fourth movement was off to a crashing furious opening, the Orchestra a whirlwind that led to the violent scurrying conclusion. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : PASTORAL @ THE CONCOURSE



‘A life lived in fear is a life half lived’

The iconic much loved 1992 Baz Luhrmann film has been adapted to the stage as a musical (in 2014)and is now joyously brought to life by the Willoughby Theatre Company in their latest production.

Set in the mid 1980’s it follows Scott’s search to be true to his creative self and here is presented as a fairy tale. It’s the inspiring story of a championship ballroom dancer who defies all the Federation rules to follow his heart. Lovingly directed by Tom Sweeney all the favourite songs are retained (Perhaps , Perhaps , Time After Time, Love is In The Air etc ) and it is smoothly paced with a great cast and fine ensemble work. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS STRICTLY BALLROOM @ THE CONCOURSE




Gwendolyn Fairfax:- “I always take my diary with me when I go on trains. I need something sensational to read”.

OUTATOWNTHEATRE presents its first production at Chatswood. THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST is the three act version of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 masterful comedy of British Society and its manners, and is set in 1895 with excellent attention to detail on every costume. Oscar Wilde’s rapid fire entertainment is expertly directed by Allan Walpole.

“The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People”, was first performed on Thursday 14th February 1895, at the St. James’s Theatre in London. The comedy plot concerns Mistaken Identity, Love Triangles, Etiquette, and a somewhat large black leather hand-bag (however this version has a carpet-baggers hand-bag).


Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Bohemian Tango @ The Concourse CHATSWOOD

WSO 2015 Composer in Residence Elena Kats-Chernan

This was a superb afternoon spent enjoying the three fine music selections, chosen for the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra, and presented as BOHEMIAN TANGO.

Energetically conducted by Warwick Potter, the first piece was a symphonic masterwork in five movements, composed by Elena Kats-Chernin, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s 2015 Composer-in-Residence. ‘Recollecting ASTORoids’ provided a detailed and most magnificent tango experience, performed by the full symphony orchestra. If a CD recording of ‘Recollecting ASTORoids’ existed, its beautiful tango music would be a recommended purchase. Continue reading Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Bohemian Tango @ The Concourse CHATSWOOD

The Naked Magicians @ The Concourse

TNM - Christopher Wayne & Mike Tyler 1

For a titillating night of mirth and seduction taking place within the world of magic, you cannot go past THE NAKED MAGICIANS. Christopher Wayne and Mike Tyler are performing their 90 minute show at the Concourse in Chatswood from the 7th to the 9th May as part of the 2015 Sydney Comedy Festival.

These two magicians do end up taking off all their clothes, excluding their microphone belt. They do so after gently easing the audience towards performer nudity.                             Continue reading The Naked Magicians @ The Concourse



Into The Woods-inset

This production is theatrically and impossibly brilliant and clever too, unlike the recent Disney movie version …

Once upon a time, there lay a small village at the edge of the woods, in a far off fairy tale kingdom. Full ensemble cast, a more traditional version of the twisted fairy tale that is INTO THE WOODS as created by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, with this inspired vision by director Leonie Cambridge, assisted by Peter Meredith. No expense has been spared, and each character is fully costumed and instantly recognisable. Musical direction by Anthony Cutrupi, and carefully orchestrated choreography by Melissa Trickey.     Continue reading INTO THE WOODS @ The Zenith


Jurists almost come to blows in Reginald Rose's classic courtroom drama, TWELVE ANGRY MEN
Jurists almost come to blows in Reginald Rose’s classic courtroom drama, TWELVE ANGRY MEN

For their final production of the year, the Epicentre Theatre Company has taken on one of the classic courtroom dramas, Reginald Rose’s 1955 masterpiece, TWELVE ANGRY MEN.

The play opens with the twelve jury members congregating in the jury room shortly after having heard the closing arguments in what, at first blush, appears to be a clear-cut homicide case. If the the defendant is found guilty, the sentence is the electric chair.

As is the case with the American legal system, twelve jurors need to unanimously decide on a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. If a decisive verdict is not reached then the jury is declared a hung jury. The prosecution then have the right to seek a retrial.

Continue reading 12 ANGRY MEN