Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Magisterial performances from Siyu Sun (piano) and the Wellington Chamber Orchestra

By , 09/04/2017
A great programme and an equally great occasion! Particularly in the case of the Rachmaninov Concerto, there was a commonality of sorts between the work itself and the circumstances surrounding this particular performance, in each instance a sense of "coming through" against the odds. It's well-known that the composer wrote the music as a kind of "therapy" by way of recovering from the depression which overwhelmed him after the... read more

Adams and Mozart (and Martin Fröst) inspire de Waart and the NZSO

By , 07/04/2017
John Adams (b.1947) has for some time been popularly regarded as one of the "big three" of minimalist music composition, along with Philip Glass and Steve Reich. The term "minimalist" was used to describe a specific creative aesthetic involving the reduction to the bare essentials of whatever medium the creative artist worked with - in music this involved using repetition of melodic and rhythmic ideas to express minute gradations... read more

Purcell’s “happier graces” prevail in concert of improvisations

By , 18/03/2017
This was a concert whose music-making seemed to connect with practically everybody who sat within coo-ee of me in the Michael Fowler Centre, judging by the warmth and enthusiasm of the reception for the musicians at the end of the evening. While I must confess I wasn't as obviously enamoured of some of the concert's offerings as most people were, I certainly registered the individual and corporate skills of... read more

Ordinary heroism – four women bare their lives in Circa Theatre’s new Caryl Churchill play “Escaped Alone”

By , 14/03/2017
Back in days of yore, I remember taking part in a one-act play written by Irishman Brian Friel, called "Lovers, Winners", a scenario involving two actors and two narrators. The former were the eponymous "Lovers", who enacted a single day's events, their interchanges filled with hopes and plans for their future, while the two narrators (I was one) took turns to counterpoint the stage action with a matter-of-fact commentary... read more

NZ Opera’s Mikado contentious but “not to be missed”

By , 25/02/2017
When W.S.Gilbert's ornamental Japanese sword fell off the wall of his study while he was turning over in his mind ideas for his latest operatic collaboration with Sir Arthur Sullivan, The Mikado was born - or so all the G&S history books tell us. In fact, there happened to be a vogue for japonaiserie in England at the time Mikado first hit the stage, instigated some years before by... read more

Days Bay Opera does it again with Handel’s “Theodora”

By , 11/02/2017
One of the pleasures of reviewing for me is fronting up to performances of music which I simply don’t know, and subsequently asking myself (sometimes in tones of amazement and disbelief) why it is I’ve never encountered this or that work before, finding it so beautiful / profound / thrilling /whatever! Thus it was with this often compelling production of Handel’s oratorio Theodora, a work the composer wrote towards... read more

Circa rumbles and dances with Roger Hall’s Jack and the Beanstalk

By , 22/11/2016
Pantomime is surely one of the most life-enhancing experiences theatre can offer, and Circa Theatre’s current Jack and the Beanstalk production ticks all the boxes that matter in the genre – it wasn’t long after the show’s beginning before the harshest, most vocal critics in the audience were soon caught up in it all, making manifest their involvement in the tale’s twists and turns, to the added delight, I... read more

Camerata – graceful and high-spirited music-making at St.Peter’s Church, Willis St.

By , 11/11/2016
Camerata violinist Liz Pritchett opened proceedings by welcoming us to St.Peter’s Church, introducing the ensemble’s leader Anne Loeser and the rest of the Camerata players, and bidding us enjoy the music we were about to hear.  First up was something of a concert rarity, a Serenade by the French composer Gabriel Pierné, whose music I’d seldom heard, apart from a Piano Concerto which I’d encountered in a “Romantic Piano... read more

Tudor Consort’s 30th Anniversary Concert a selection of treasures

By , 05/11/2016
This concert marked something of a return to the “helm” for the Tudor Consort’s Music Director, Michael Stewart, who’s been working behind the scenes for most of the past year, preparing and pre-rehearsing the ensemble for its concerts with no fewer than three guest conductors. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the pre-concert talk, which perhaps might have explained more about the “vive la difference” choices for this evening’s... read more

Galvanic lunch hour with the Rangapu Duo at St.Andrew’s

By , 26/10/2016
The names of both performers in this lunchtime concert at St.Andrew’s were new to me, each of them being Hamilton-based musicians, though I ought to have remembered that Liam Wooding was a prizewinner at Christchurch in 2015 at the National Concerto Competition. His duo partner, Noelle Dannenbring, for her part won the University of Waikato Concerto Competition earlier this year. Currently, both are studying at the University under the... read more

Panorama Theme by Themocracy