Supported by generous help from the Turnovsky Endowment Trust

Sydney’s Pinchgut Opera triumphs in Handel’s Theodora

By , 23/12/2016
I’m glad that last year I broke the ice with Sydney’s Pinchgut Opera, for my delightful experience with Grétry’s L’amant jaloux made me more than ready for another. The title Theodora did rang a bell: my first reaction was that it was an oratorio, as I was fairly sure that I’d recognise the names at least of most of Handel's operas that have been much performed. Furthermore, it was in... read more

No Christmas without “Messiah” – with the Tudor Consort and the NZSO

  This was a remarkable performance, in many ways.  The smaller-than-usual orchestra was matched by a larger-than-usual Tudor Consort in fine voice, and splendid soloists, all directed by Australian Handel specialist Graham Abbott.  Unusually, there were no cuts in the score; all was performed.  ‘Their sound is gone out’, in Part II is usually a chorus.  But this was composed three years after the première; in the first performance it... read more

Shaken but not stirred – Wellington Chamber Orchestra’s “Peter and the Wolf” and other delights

This concert was very well attended, the audience including many children, despite its not being advertised on RNZ Concert’s “Live Diary”, or the fact that the NZSO performed one of the works the previous afternoon at a free concert at Te Papa. The Gabrieli works featured brass instruments only. The nature of the work and the instruments employed were described by Andrew Joyce, and the instruments were demonstrated by their... read more

Flute and piano duo feature composers languishing in the shadows of the greats

By , 30/11/2016
Here were two names that were slightly familiar to me but which I couldn’t really offer biographical information about. Both studied in Wellington: Nick at the Conservatorium of Music at Massey University, Christy at Victoria University. Palmerston North has featured in the lives of both, but the birth-place of neither was disclosed. They are married and have quite a range of performance history both together and separately. It was a... read more

Interestingly presented, varied programme of works on organ of St James Church

A rather more healthily-sized audience greeted this recital compared with that for the previous recital in the series, which was held on a Saturday night. Preliminary remarks from representatives of both St. James’s Church and the Wellington Organists Association mentioned that there had been some damage to the organ in the 7.8 earthquake two weeks ago, but the effect was not great.  Following this, Douglas Mews gave introductory remarks to... read more

Big lunchtime audience for interesting programme from professional musicians

A large audience greeted a wonderfully varied line-up of professional musicians – and of music.  The opening work immediately grabbed one’s attention; Ginastera’s work was delightful and full of subtle animation.  Especially notable was the floating, uprising flute part.  The programme note describing its ‘gentle, romantic, quasi-impressionist harmonies’ was apt indeed.  Which leads me to comment how excellent was the acknowledgement at the end of the printed programme of... read more

Circa rumbles and dances with Roger Hall’s Jack and the Beanstalk

By , 22/11/2016
Pantomime is surely one of the most life-enhancing experiences theatre can offer, and Circa Theatre’s current Jack and the Beanstalk production ticks all the boxes that matter in the genre – it wasn’t long after the show’s beginning before the harshest, most vocal critics in the audience were soon caught up in it all, making manifest their involvement in the tale’s twists and turns, to the added delight, I... read more

Politically coloured vocal contest settles the score between baritones and bass-baritones

By , 16/11/2016
Both Rosemary Collier and I found ourselves at what turned out to be an unexpectedly amusing recital. We were both held up by late trains and non-functioning lifts and so missed whatever introductory remarks might have illuminated the nature of the ‘contest’. So disadvantaged, we decided to pool our impressions in the hope of making some sense of the unusual scenario that was being enacted. However, the four biographical notes gave... read more

Capital Choir reveals musical values with fine performance of Donizetti’s Requiem

For an ‘all-comers’ choir, Capital Choir has achieved an enviable level of expertise, adventurousness and commitment. Under Sue Robinson, the choir demonstrated a considerable range of choral skills and abilities.  The various parts all made a good sound most of the time.  There were many quiet passages in which the choir exhibited a lovely tone.  But there were others where things threatened almost to fall apart, especially among the men... read more

Highly diverting Orpheus Choir mixes seasonal Haydn with animals and cloudbursts

By , 12/11/2016
What is detailed above, as well as a statement that further details would be announced, is the information about this concert we had received and had filed in our Coming Events, but no ‘further details’ arrived: no soloists named, no organist or piano accompanist; not even the name of the conductor, though one knew that. As we entered, we were handed a folded A4 page with the greeting – “just... read more

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