Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

“Cello for Africa” at Porirua City a spectacular and moving multi-cultural collaborative event

By , 24/11/2019
“Cello for Africa” was, in the words of co-organisers Heleen du Plessis and Donald Maurice, an event designed “to bring people from different cultures together using music, and specifically, ‘cellos, to help create a platform for cultural interaction and human connection in support of causes in Africa”. The concert’s specific target was to raise funds for a school established in Nairobi five years ago, the Tamariki Education Centre, by... read more

Gustav Mahler’s heartfelt expression of existentialist optimism given resplendent treatment by the NZSO and departing Music Director Edo de Waart

By , 22/11/2019
“It opens as if on the brink of an abyss, and ends with an exhilarating rebirth”. With these words Edo de Waart, the conductor of this performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental “Resurrection” Symphony, summed up in a programme foreword his reasoning for making the work his final assignment as the NZSO’s Music Director. According to the archive of that redoubtable critical periodical, “Middle C”, this was his seventh separate... read more

Wonderland in Wellington at Circa Theatre

By , 19/11/2019
This show was, I thought, an absolute knockout on the performance strength of the songs and their associated choreography alone!  Michael Nicholas Williams’ skilled arrangements of no less than thirteen (mostly?) home-grown classics, along with Leigh Evans’ splendid choreography lent musical magic to a scenario whose script I thought suitably action-packed enough, if not with quite the consistent raciness and fluency of other Circa pantos I’ve seen. Still, a... read more

Extraordinary SMP Ensemble Commemorative Concert missing a part but nevertheless packing a punch

By , 17/11/2019
Woe betide the hapless reviewer who, amidst his domestic rough-and-tumble, glances distractedly and approximately at a schedule before hotfooting it along the roads and down the pavements to a concert, thinking he’s in plenty of time, only to find that he‘s misread the actual starting-time of the event, and has arrived half-an-hour late! The above explanation, I trust, entirely incriminates the said reviewer, who needs must take his punishment... read more

“Kristallnacht” at the Wellington Jewish Community Centre – brilliant and deeply-felt performances of significant music

By , 10/11/2019
We were welcomed to the Beth El Synagogue (the Wellington Jewish Community Centre) by Rabbi Ariel Tal, our host for the evening, who talked about the words of the Torah as having a similar “song of life” quality to that of the concert we were about to hear; and then by Deborah Hart, the Chair of the Holocaust Centre, who drew a poignant and powerful comparison with the events... read more

Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer warmly invite all of us to “meet Karpovsky” at Wellington’s Circa Theatre

By , 06/11/2019
I thought, both for myself and for the readers of “Middle C”, I’d explore the colourful genesis of Circa’s current production “Meeting Karpovsky”, as it was something I for one knew very little about, having not seen the original 2002 production. It all came about through actress Helen Moulder wanting to bring to fruition a long-held desire to be able to dance with Sir Jon Trimmer, the doyen of... read more

Triumph tempered by sadness – Hutt Valley Chamber Music faces dissolution despite a sensational 40th anniversary season capped off by the remarkable Diedre Irons

By , 31/10/2019
The evening was earmarked as a celebration, a culmination of the 40th year of presenting chamber music in Lower Hutt by the Hutt Valley Chamber Music Society. And the choice of pianist Diedre Irons to give the concert this evening couldn’t have been more appropriate, as back in October 1980 she and the then-concertmaster of the NZSO, Peter Schaeffer performed a recital as one of the Society’s concerts during... read more

Delightful, delicious, and declamatory – a “no-holds-barred” night with Marc Taddei and Orchestra Wellington

By , 20/10/2019
Orchestra Wellington has earned a special niche for itself amid the welter of artistic activities supported by the capital, one that’s steadily developed over the years of Marc Taddei’s tenure as Music Director, and in recent times enjoyed obvious fruition in terms of its enthusiastic audience following. Its appeal is based on several factors, not the least of which is the unflagging wholeheartedness and enthusiasm of conductor Taddei for... read more

Iconic singer/composer Björk celebrated by Claire Cowan’s Blackbird Ensemble

By , 17/10/2019
Fans of the Icelandic singer Björk Guðmundsdóttir (known internationally by her first name, Björk)  will probably have little more than a certain “academic” interest in the following review, written by someone, myself, who’s a dyed-in-the-wool follower of what’s popularly known as “classical” music, and, up until attending this concert didn’t know even whether the singer in whose honour the event took place was male or female! I’d vaguely heard... read more

Enthralling and disturbing – NZ Opera’s take on Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”

By , 03/10/2019
  It’s difficult to think of another opera whose overall theme, story-line and characterisations are more interlaced by ambiguities as Britten’s The Turn of the Screw –  the story on which the opera is based, Henry James’ novella of the same name, carries its own versions of much the same kinds of imponderables, though the opera seems, if anything, to further complicate and intensify the issues. The story tells of... read more

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