Echoes of the Jazz Age

Venue Riverside Theatre
Dates 03 May 2020
Category Live Event


The performance of Echoes of the Jazz Age has been cancelled.

Riverside will contact ticket holders regarding refund options.

Starring John Bell, Simon Tedeschi with Blazey Best

The 1920s, or the Jazz Age, was one of the most thrilling decades in modern history.

Nowhere is this era better described than in Echoes of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous essay on the Roaring Twenties, nor more wondrously evoked than in John Bell and Simon Tedeschi’s performance of the same title, in words and music.

Centered around Fitzgerald’s essay, with sizzling quotes from Mae West, Groucho Marx, and Dorothy Parker, and poetry by T.S Eliot, the performance features the irresistible piano music of Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong and James P Johnson, and songs by George Gershwin, Ray Henderson and Fats Waller.

Revered actor and director John Bell and renowned pianist Simon Tedeschi are two of Australia’s best-loved artists and in this, their third remarkable collaboration, and a special guest Blazey Best, they unite to present a magical, entertaining show to take audiences back to all the brilliance and bedazzlement of the Jazz Age.


John Bell
After graduating from Sydney University, John Bell spent five years in England with the Royal Shakespeare Company where he became an Associate Artist. Returning to Australia, he worked with all the major State theatre companies and co-founded the Nimrod Theatre where he spent fourteen years. In 1990 he founded Bell Shakespeare and was celebrated as their artistic director for many years. He has played most of the major roles in Shakespeare’s plays and directed most of them as well, earning numerous awards and wide critical acclaim as an actor and director.

He continues to direct productions for Opera Australia (recently Tosca, Carmen and Madame Butterfly) and Victorian Opera, and perform as an actor, most recently in the sold out seasons of The Father (Sydney Theatre Company) and Diplomacy (Ensemble Theatre). He returns to Bell Shakespeare in Molière’s The Miser in 2019 and a return season by popular demand and regional touring of Diplomacy. John Bell is an Officer of the Order of Australia and the Order of the British Empire, and in 1997 he was named by the National Trust as one of Australia’s National Living Treasures. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the Universities of Sydney, Newcastle and NSW.

Simon Tedeschi
Simon Tedeschi is one of Australia’s most renowned classical pianists, recipient of prizes such as Symphony Australia’s Young Performer of the Year Award, the Legacy Award from the Creativity Foundation (USA), first prize in the Keyboard division of the Royal Overseas League Competition (UK), and a Centenary of Federation Medal. He has performed in major concert halls and for festivals and world leaders throughout Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia.

Acclaimed by respected critics and peers as “True greatness” (Sydney Morning Herald), Simon Tedeschi performed his first Mozart piano concerto in the Sydney Opera House at age nine. Based in the USA for several years courtesy of the American Australian Association and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, in 2009 Tedeschi performed in Carnegie Hall, won the ‘New York Young Jewish Pianist Award’ and performed as soloist with the Colorado, Fort Worth and Illinois Symphony Orchestras (USA). He continues to perform with all the major Australian orchestras and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, with recent highlights being Rachmaninov’s piano concerto no.4 with the Sydney Symphony and broadcast by Foxtel Arts and tours to China and the United Arab Emirates. Tedeschi’s wide-ranging discography includes R. Strauss and Schumann on Enoch Arden (with John Bell AO OBE), Schubert and Schumann with violist Roger Benedict on A Winter’s Tale, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Gershwin and Me, Gershwin: Take Two, and Tender Earth, and concerti by Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Mozart, for ABC Classics/Universal Music Australia.

Bell’s poetry readings dovetailed Tedeschi’s stormy and lyrical Schubert offerings, which in turn, illuminated the similarly passionate outbursts and insights of Keats’ poetry. There were too many highlights to mention… The evening reached its climax with the concluding stanzas of Keats’ Bright Star and the magical pianissimo of Schubert’s music. This was a memorable event where two simple recital formats, spoken words from the stage and solo piano were presented in perfect harmony.” – Classic Melbourne (Melbourne Recital Centre, 2018)

Tedeschi and Bell deliver an enrapturing performance”
“This is an epic tale of love lost, longing, devotion and loyalty, told with passion and warmth. The piano accompaniment was perfect… an enrapturing performance of this classic tale and one that had the audience transfixed
.” – The AU Review, July 2017

It is story-telling for adults, heart-rending and sophisticated… Tedeschi is a true master of the pianoforte… [Tedeschi’s] interpretation of the Strauss score is intense. He plays with his whole body and lives every note… Bell drives the tale with unbelievable pace… His voice soars above the piano accompaniment and runs the gamut of emotions from the faintest whisper to intense grief to anger. It is a virtuoso performance and the synergy between these two performers was obvious.” – Stage Whispers, 2017

an epic and masterful performance by John Bell… a collaboration of great intensity and thoughtfulness between John Bell and Simon Tedeschi… a powerful collaboration between two consummate artists… This splendid recording is highly recommended, above all for extraordinary performances by two leading Australian artists in an extremely fruitful collaboration.” – Stephen Mould, The Music Trust, 2017 (Enoch Arden, album review)


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Dates and Times:

Sunday 3 May 2020 at 3pm


1 hour 40 minutes (including 20 minute interval)

Ticket Prices

A ReserveRiverside Members Adults $47
Riverside Members Concession $43
Riverside Members 30 & Under $38
Non-Members Adults $54
Non-Members Concession $50
Non-Members 30 & Under $43
Groups 8+ $50
Premium TicketsRiverside Members Adults $54
Riverside Members Concession $50
Riverside Members 30 & Under $43
Non-Members Adults $61
Non-Members Concession $57
Non-Members 30 & Under $49
Groups 8+ $57

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