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Posts tagged: music theatre

Brass Poppies – ordinary people at war

By , 03/03/2016

Poet Vincent O'Sullivan and composer Ross Harris have collaborated on no less than eleven words-and-music works since 2002, the most recent being the chamber opera "Brass Poppies". The work received its premiere at Shed 6 in Wellington last week, and after finishing a four-night season has gone on to Auckland's Mercury Theatre where it will play for two more nights later this week.

Though the opera was actually... read more

Wellington G&S with another hit in funny, well-sung The Gondoliers

By , 19/09/2015
G&S goes on and on. Hard to think of another composer whose music in a certain genre has acquired such a single-minded following from so many, and of those, one suspects, some don’t particularly enjoy any other kind of opera or musical theatre, or even any other kind of classical music. Offenbach has no comparable cult status in France; nor Lehár or Kálmán in Austria; nor any one composer... read more

Circa Theatre’s “Dead Tragic” a life-enhancing experience

By , 22/11/2014
That old wizard of stage and screen, Noel Coward, was right when he famously quipped, "….how extraordinarily POTENT cheap music is……" - that is, if the response of the "half-century-onwards" hearts that were pumping and pulsating throughout Circa Theatre's startlingly in-your-face "Dead Tragic" collection of truly-and-tragically-dreadful 1970s songs was anything to go by. In fact that opening sentence gives you an idea of some of the convolutions of the lyrics... read more

High Mountain Flowing Water – theatre, poetry and music

By , 22/10/2014
Encounters with exotic art-forms and performance-styles which are unfamiliar can have profound consequences - one thinks, for instance of the effect upon the composer Claude Debussy of the Paris International Exhibition of 1889 with its displays of art and music from places like Java, in particular the sounds made by the gamelan orchestra. Earlier the prints of Japanese artists such as Hokusai had reached Europe and inspired a whole... read more

The Orpheus Choir – music of here, and now……

By , 10/05/2014
I'm normally accustomed to encountering seemly, well-regulated conversational tones and discreet movements of habitually circumspect classical concertgoers at Michael Fowler Centre concerts. However, I was aware straightaway of something different and palpable in the air when entering the doors of the same venue on Saturday evening to attend the Orpheus Choir's concert "Dreams lie Deeper". Here were vibrant swirlings of people thronging the foyer, staircases and mezzanine floor of the... read more

Ancient Mariner Rime watered-down, though stunning to look at

By , 09/03/2014
This was an evening which, on the face of things, promised much, with a presentation that, right from the outset, looked terrific, but then didn’t go on to adequately develop the musical and contextual possibilities afforded by these arresting visual images. I’d not seen but had heard about the group’s previous appearance at the New Zealand Festival in 2000 with the anarchic musical Shockheaded Peter, and so was looking... read more

Fabulous and compelling evocation of times past

By , 15/02/2014
This show - an hour's worth of stunningly-wrought, cheek-by-jowl evocation by just two performers, of an episode in Wellington's musical, colonial and imperial history - is a "must see".  Writer and director Jacqueline Coats has recreated a significant colonial musical event, one presented by the "Port Nicholson Music Appreciation Society" to mark the occasion in 1840 of Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. As befitted the... read more

NZSO’s “Tall Tales and Tangos” musically resplendent but dramatically inert

This was a matinee concert devised specifically for children, and it was great to see so many of them at this well attended event. Rugby legend and classical music enthusiast Anton Oliver introduced the programme, giving a particularly warm welcome to the under-tens with his assurance that ”this concert is for you”. The orchestra comprised some fifty players, probably a bit of a squeeze in many theatre pits, but eminently... read more

Electric music and music-theatre – Nicholas Isherwood

By , 21/08/2013
The Adam Concert Room darkens. Electronic sound wells up like a rushing wind. After several minutes, a tall, gaunt figure mounts a platform at the back. The lights fade up to reveal the futuristically silver-clad spaceman from the Dog Star. So began Stockhausen’s Capricorn, an adapted segment of his longer work SIRIUS. Low electronic sounds underlying Nicholas Isherwood’s voice gradually rose in pitch over the half-hour (or so) of the... read more

The Big C from Circa Theatre

This remarkable production follows Paul Jenden’s own journey from his diagnosis with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia, through the rigours of treatment, and on to an eventual state of remission. You might well wonder how such a subject could possibly be the stuff of a lively and entertaining stage show – doubts initially shared by Jenden himself, who writes in the programme: “When I was throwing up in a hospital bed I... read more

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