Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Happy Christmas concert from Nota Bene at The Prefab in Jessie Street

From the moment I arrived in a packed Prefab Hall, standing room only, and found the last seat thanks to a friend signalling to me, I was in an informal atmosphere of enjoyment. Well over 150 people were present, a good 40 or so of whom were standing round the walls. The seating was arranged on three sides, the choir performing from the other side. This hollow square arrangement made... read more

Messiah with the NZSO – age cannot wither, nor custom stale….

By , 12/12/2015

NZSO boss Chris Blake understandably waxed lyrical in a welcoming programme note over the orchestra's espousal of a fourth consecutive year's presentation of Messiah, this time round in the expert directorial hands of renowned Baroque exponent Nicholas McGegan.

In terms of audience response, the near sold-out house spoke for itself - and while Messiah seems to draw people in like no other, the presence of McGegan, star soprano... read more

Fine a cappella singing from Supertonic Choir and Tawa College Blue Notes

Once again, Supertonic performed to a virtually full venue – this time, at the Portrait Gallery on the waterfront. I concluded that about 140 people were present. As on the previous occasion, in June, the audience comprised people I don’t see at other concerts; I knew no-one in the audience. I hope that their enjoyment of this concert will enthuse them to attend other choral concerts. I have been to... read more

Palliser Viols and Pepe Becker enjoyed at St Andrew’s lunchtime concert

I find that I reviewed Palliser Viols at St. Andrew’s as recently as September. However, although some of the composers were the same, the music was not duplicated, and we had this time the addition of a singer, not named in the programme. This time the programme was not clearly set out, so it was not always easy to tell which piece we were on. The interesting programme notes did... read more

A few days in Sydney for opera and symphony

By , 04/12/2015
Readers with sharp eyes will have noticed my absence from the pages of Middle C over the past month. It is partly to be explained by my little trip to Sydney to fulfil a long-standing ambition to see the work of a small Sydney opera company, Pinchgut Opera, which specializes in early opera, of the 17th and 18th centuries. When I edited New Zealand Opera News (till 2006), I... read more

Final concert in marathon Bach organ project at Cathedral of Saint Paul

Yet another varied programme in the Bach Project, for this final concert in the year-long project. This time, being at a more user-friendly hour than most of the performances have been, there was a good-sized audience. There was an Advent and Christmas theme running through the choice of chorale preludes. Opening with a chorale prelude that was not familiar to me, though on a very familiar chorale: ‘Wachet auf, ruft... read more

A Child’s Christmas a world and time away at Circa Theatre

By , 01/12/2015

I thought I knew Dylan Thomas's enchanting youthful evocation "A Child's Christmas in Wales" pretty well, in the wake of numerous encounters with the work over the years. As each Christmas approached I would read the work to the class of children that were in my charge as a teacher,  a kind of ritual that extended over more years than I care to remember. And every now... read more

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