Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Destination Beehive 2017 at Circa Theatre – too serious to be taken seriously

By , 09/07/2017
Legend has it that American songwriter and political satirist Tom Lehrer gave up satire when American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It's perhaps just as tempting for any present-day satirist to take a similar stance in the face of the antics of those real-life dodgers, shysters, con-artists and masters of illusion we know as politicians - why bother, she or he might argue... read more

Jeux, Debussy’s quiet revolutionary, steals Orchestra Wellington’s show

By , 07/07/2017
This was the second of Orchestra Wellington's 2017 series of concerts containing works commissioned by the renowned impresario Serge Diaghilev for the dance company he had formed, the Ballets Russes, regarded by many performance historians as the most influential dance company of the 20th Century. It was the Ballets Russes company which, thanks to Diaghilev's commissions, was to premiere three of Igor Stravinsky's most famous ballets, the Firebird, Petroushka... read more

Magical Mendelssohn and tempestuous Tchaikovsky from the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 02/07/2017
First impressions are, as they say, important, although they can sometimes be misleading. If one took the opening few minutes of the Wellington Chamber Orchestra's Sunday concert, featuring Felix Mendelssohn's adorable Overture "A Midsummer Night's Dream", and peremptorily judged the concert's music-making by the short-winded and unatmospheric opening chords, and the somewhat unseemly scramble of upper string lines attempting and failing to co-ordinate their rhythmic patternings right throughout this... read more

Schumann and Barber – adventurous and absorbing sounds from the NZSO, with Daniel Müller-Schott

By , 17/06/2017
Poor old Brahms was left out of the title for this concert, despite his "Tragic Overture" opening the programme, though therein lies a rub - I thought in a sense it was apposite this time round, as the NZSO's performance under James Feddeck for me lacked any real sense of tragedy - rather it came across as an intermittently "worried" piece of music trying its best here and there... read more

More power to String Trios – the Aroha Ensemble at St.Andrew’s-on-The-Terrace

By , 11/06/2017
There's no doubt that the string quartet as a genre has dominated the world of chamber music since the time of Josef Haydn - the repertoire is astonishing in its depth and diversity, and together with the sheer number of ensembles, both historical and contemporary, constitutes almost a world of its own. The effect of this has, I think, tended to downplay the "presence" in the chamber music firmament... read more

NZ Opera’s 2017 Carmen surprises, disconcerts and delights

By , 01/06/2017
There's almost always a lot to like in any production of Carmen. On the face of things the opera has everything that any theatre-goer-cum-music-lover could wish for - like the Shakespearean character who says "four feasts are forward", one can say Carmen has the four things which ensure operatic success - spectacle, drama, compelling characters and memorable tunes. Of course, these things don't make or play themselves, and, despite... read more

NZSM Piano Students show their mettle at St.Andrew’s, Wellington

By , 31/05/2017
  A pity that the printed programme gave no information about any of the piano students, which would have “fleshed out” each of them a bit more, a smidgeon of biographical information and a comment regarding repertoire preferences in each case, for instance - nothing more than a couple of sentences akin to what each might write on his or her CV. While I thought the Acting Director of the... read more

Baroque Voices pay rich homage to NZ “Masters”

By , 28/05/2017
This concert was the eighth in the "Alleluia: a newë work" series by Baroque Voices, the idea being, in director Pepe Becker's own words, to "present works from the early music era alongside modern compositions", an undertaking which the group first instigated as long ago as 1995. Though the presentations have been consistent in their overall approach, the ensemble has managed to maintain an ever-fascinating and invariably rewarding range of... read more

“Firebird” from Orchestra Wellington an incendiary experience

By , 13/05/2017
This was, in this best of all possible worlds, the best possible start to Orchestra Wellington's "The Impresario" season, a beautifully-devised concert whose centrepiece was Igor Stravinsky's 1910 Ballet "The Firebird". This piece, commissioned by the Russian-born artistic entrepreneur Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes in Paris, began a collaboration between composer and impresario which was to produce three of the most famous ballets of the 20th century, the... read more

Aotearoa Plus from the NZSO set alight by Gareth Farr premiere

By , 05/05/2017
A concert with the name "Aotearoa Plus" begs the question of how an orchestra might best support and present the music of native composers - the title is one which, in my artless way, I thought might have fairly been expected to accompany rather more homegrown examples of composition than were allowed for here. Thank goodness, then, in my view, for Gareth Farr's work, and its performance, which delivered a... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy