Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

“Puss in Boots” Pantomime gives delight for young and old alike at Circa Theatre

By , 18/11/2018
A director's note in the programme from Susan Wilson paid tribute to the late Paul Jenden 1955-2013), actor, dancer, director and author of this and several other pantomines performed by Circa over the years, describing his presence as “sadly missed”. One of his most successful pantomime adaptations was of the well-known story of “Puss-in-Boots”, based on the European fairy-tale known in Italy as Il gatto con gli stivali, and in... read more

Eternity Opera sings triumphantly once again at Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse – Puccini’s Madam Butterfly

By , 16/11/2018
Eternity Opera’s presentation at Wellington‘s Hannah Playhouse of one of the most famous of all grand operas, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, used a reduced orchestral accompaniment, a “rhyming” English translation of the Italian, and cut one of the more colourful episodes in the work’s Second Act, albeit involving the brief appearance of a “lesser”character. And yet, despite these diminutions of the original, the piece worked its usual theatrical and... read more

World Premiere in Palmerston North of 216 year-old work by English composer Samuel Arnold

By , 10/11/2018
Musical history was made on Saturday evening at Palmerston North’s Regent on Broadway, when local forces (the city’s Renaissance Singers and the Manawatu Sinfonia, plus a clutch of home-grown/nurtured vocal soloists) combined forces with Wellington soprano Pasquale Orchard and neighbouring Whanganui’s Schola Sacra Choir, under the inspired direction of conductor Guy Donaldson, to bring into being a world premiere with a difference. New Zealand being geographically as far away as... read more

Exuberance and poetry from pianist and conductor Lars Vogt with the NZSO

By , 26/10/2018
Review for "Upbeat" RNZ Concert (with David Morriss) Monday 29th October 2018 There's always great interest whenever somebody decides to take on the dual role of soloist and conductor in the performance of music - we had Freddy Kempf here with the NZSO a few years ago playing the entire cycle of Beethoven Piano Concertos, for example, which, from all accounts , was a great success. And now, with even more... read more

“Hammers and Horsehair” (joined with birdsong) enchant an Aro St audience in Wellington

By , 25/10/2018
We sat amid soft lighting on comfortable, homely furniture, talking softly with our fellow audience-members while listening to pianist Douglas Mews “tuning up” his square piano and then “playing us in” with music that I for one didn’t know – it actually sounded, appropriately enough, like a kind of improvisation, perfect for warming up player, instrument and our increasingly attentive ears, until all was ready. ‘Cellist Robert Ibell having... read more

No better way of concluding a year’s worth of glorious music-making! Ensemble LTJJI at Hutt Valley Chamber Music’s final 2018 concert.

By , 15/10/2018
Undoubtedly a mouth-watering prospect on paper, this concert nevertheless had some surprises in store, almost entirely in the realm of the transcription of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K.414 for piano and string quartet, made by the composer himself to increase the music’s likelihood of being played in whatever form.  He obviously had very little faith in the extent of his audiences’ musical sensibilities, describing in a letter of December 1782... read more

Circa Theatre’s “Under Milk Wood” a vital and rumbustious celebration of “LLareggub”

By , 13/10/2018
People who grew up with the sounds of the voices of either Dylan Thomas himself, or of Welsh actor Richard Burton, as the “First Voice” on any of the two recordings of Thomas’s verse-play “Under Milk Wood” that were available in New Zealand from the 1950s, were given the work pretty much as its author would have expected it to be performed – as a play for voices, to... read more

Puccini’s La Boheme in Wellington – ineffably human and heartfelt

By , 04/10/2018
It may seem a strange entry point for a review’s beginning - but at the opening night of New Zealand Opera’s 2018 season of “La Boheme” in the Wellington Opera House on Thursday last, there was for me, near the Second Act’s conclusion, a “great moment”, whose incredible lyrical surge and explosion of sheer theatrical energy seemed at once to overshadow and enhance the significance of everything that had... read more

300 years of riches from the NZSM Orchestra – What is it about Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto this year?

By , 02/10/2018
Though primarily a vehicle for displaying the stellar talents of violinist Claudia Tarrant-Matthews, winner of the NZSM Concerto Competition for 2018, this concert gave considerable added value in terms of the wide range of repertoire, not to mention the quality of the NZSM Orchestra’s committed, focused and excitingly-played performances of the same. Following Tarrant-Matthews’ astonishing traversal of one of the twentieth century’s truly great concertos, we heard an evocative... read more

Too important to let go – Ashley Brown with a “new” NZTrio for Braid, a Suffrage Year concert

By , 26/09/2018
This is the second concert with overt connections to the recent 125th suffrage anniversary that I’ve recently reviewed, very different to the earlier one (Cantoris Choir, Wellington), though packing a similarly powerhouse punch on behalf of women’s musical creativity. It was titled Braid, and is one of three concert series given by the trio this year featuring the work of women composers, the other two being called Weave and Twine. As with Cantoris Choir’s presentation... read more

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