Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

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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

Morton Trio shines in a concert of variety and splendour at Lower Hutt

By , 07/08/2019
I’m sure that gruff old conservative Johannes Brahms would have been delighted had he known that the music for his Horn Trio would leap over both a whole century and continental and oceanic distances to figure, however fleetingly, as a delightful string of vigorous reminiscences in an Antipodean composer’s work for the same forces! Upon hearing the finale of Kenneth Young’s work at this concert I wondered whether he’d... read more

The Children – redefining well-being as responsibility, at Circa Theatre

By , 07/04/2019
Enigmas abound in this award-winning 2016 play by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood, here presented by Wellington’s Circa Theatre, and brought to everyday life by art-that-conceals-art performances from the three actors, Catherine Downes, Carmel McGlone and Peter Hambleton, in tandem with similarly naturalistic, almost self-effacing direction from Susan Wilson – a worthy New Zealand premiere production. Firstly, the play’s title leads one to expect that the subject, theme, story, etc., will... read more

Michael Endres surrounds Schubert with varied companion pieces at Mulled Wine concert

By , 10/03/2019
The first of this year’s Mulled Wine Concerts, organised by Mary Gow, usually in the Paekakariki Memorial Hall, took place in the South Raumati Hall because the other is undergoing earthquake treatment. It was a fine beginning to the year, musically, but was subject to sound problems (as does the Paekakriki hall to a less degree), broad, hard surfaces that present difficulties for a pianist. It’s easy enough to... read more

Camerata’s latest “Haydn in the Church” concert – joyous antiphonal splendours, heart-rending beauties and al fresco hi-jinks!

By , 13/12/2018
I couldn't remember when I'd last heard JS Bach’s Double Violin Concerto “live” when first posting this review – thanks to violinist Anne Loeser, who reminded me of a 2012 performance by the NZSO strings, I've had to sheepishly modify my previous "never before live" declaration; but, to my shame, it gets worse! - I actually reviewed the performance in Middle C! Oh, dear! - I'm dumbfounded as to... 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

Great performances of unfamiliar Bartók and major Dvořák introduced by young geniuses

By , 27/10/2018
Each year, one of Orchestra Wellington’s concerts is embellished by a contribution from Arohnui Strings, the Sistema-inspired children’s orchestra based in the Hutt Valley. They took their places at the beginning of the concert in the place of most of the regular strings of Orchestra Wellington, interspersed by a few of the professionals to lend some body to the sound. The nerves and excitement of the young players infected... read more

Choral concert to celebrate new digital organ at Cathedral of Saint Paul

With the organ moved to the side, the rather small audience had full view of the choirs in their red cassocks.  In his introduction, Michael Stewart referred to ‘choral blockbusters’; we had a few of them!  First was Handel’s famous coronation anthem ‘Zadok the Priest’.  It was sung with the usual robust cheerfulness, as was the next anthem, Parry’s ‘I was glad’.  Richard Apperley accompanied this in fine style... read more

Inspirare’s partnership with Youth Choirs a resounding success

By , 15/09/2018
This second concert that I’ve attended which featured the voices of Inspirare, a choir founded by their director, Mark L.Stamper, couldn’t have been more different from the first one (an inspirational performance of Sergei Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil earlier this year), but was equally impressive in achieving what it had obviously set out to do. In the same venue as where the previous concert had held its audience spellbound... read more

Orchestra Wellington – a “Golden” beginning to its 2018 season

By , 09/06/2018
Orchestra Wellington and Marc Taddei got their 2018 season off to an arresting start with a concert of three resplendent-sounding works, one whose effect simply got more and more celebratory and engaging as the evening went on. Aiding and abetting this state of things was the welcome presence of guest Concertmaster Wilma Smith, and a goodly-numbered audience whose support for the orchestra was richly rewarded. First came what I... read more

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