Sydney Festival: Rembrandt Live

Nicki Alchin
11th Jan 2018

A partnership of perfect harmony has come together to craft an artistic and musical highlight for the 2018 Sydney Festival at the Art Gallery of NSW. The delightful strains of 17th century chamber music as performed by Australia’s ARIA award-winning Brandenburg Orchestra on period appropriate instruments waft evocatively across the artworks of the Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum exhibition to create the Rembrandt Live Sydney Festival event. 

Directed by John Bell with musical curator Paul Dyer. Directed by John Bell with musical curator Paul Dyer, Rembrandt Live enables festival goers the opportunity to be transported back to Rembrandts Amsterdam for an hour of baroque music, dance and theatrical delights every evening from 6 to 23 January 2018, all for $66 for adults and $59 for concession tickets plus booking fee.

Be enchanted as you wander around the epic Dutch Golden Age landscapes, personalised portraits and reflective still life works set to the tunes of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Drift through the atmospheric, warmly lit rooms that complement the lush, deep lusty velvety colours of the artworks hanging in the exhibition space. Vocalists, ballerinas, and roaming jester-like court dancing and entertainment add to the excitement of the evening.

The performance and paintings will rouse various emotions from viewers. Chuckles and the stirrings of a swoon like trance will rub shoulders as the performers traipse from room to room like pied pipers with an audience in tow. The images and emotions of Rembrandt’s Amsterdam are brought to life in a way that allows enjoyment by all one’s senses. The sounds of horse hooves echoing on cobble stones, birds tweeting and chirping, church bells ringing in the distance add an extra dimension to the layered soundscape.

Two sessions each night can be accessed. For those wanting to maximise their festival night out, start off at 6pm and either rush off to another Festival Event like the Town Hall Affair at 8pm or stay on to sup on the two course Rembrandt Live package at Matt Moran's Chiswick at the Gallery. Diners will be delighted with the generous dinner of a rosemary tomato focaccia starter, a choice of main (pork loin vs fish - mulloway) and dessert (vahlrona chocolate, cherry and coconut vs mango, lychee mille feulle) course that has been inspired by the exhibition. A glass of wine, and tea or coffee is also included in the $66 for each person package.

Or, if you are lucky, grab tickets to the Sydney Festival Rembrandt Live Baroque Banquet and Performance that is running for two nights only - 18 and 19 January - for a total of four hours combining Rembrandt Live with a baroque fashioned feast designed by Matt Moran and head chef of Chiswick at the Gallery, Tim Brindley, to complement the baroque art and musical adventure. Tickets are $279 per person plus booking fee.

Get along to Rembrandt Live to experience an imaginative transcending night full of wonder and fascination.  

Rembrandt Live is on as part of Sydney Festival at the Art Gallery of New South Wales until Tuesday January 23rd. Photo by Jamie Williams.