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Preview: Upbeat with Eva Radich

RNZ: Upbeat

What's going on in the world of music and the arts? From the concert hall to the cinema, we talk to musicians, composers, choreographers, dancers, actors, directors and artists - Upbeat finds out what makes them tick.


The unlikely pairing

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:43:00 +1300

Described as provocative, passionate and political, story teller Sameena Zehra and Irish musician Mike McKeon seem like an unlikely pair. But the married couple is in NZ to bring their unique flavour of music, poetry, storytelling and comedy to the Fringe Festival with four shows Tea with Terrorists; How not to steal a Llama; Nothing but the Blues and Irish Jimmy. 

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Classics and commissions

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Pianist Denes Varjon is back with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for the first time since its 2012 Mozart Festival. The award winning pianist will perform Beethoven’s first Piano Concerto. The concert, conducted by Ben Northey, also sees the world premiere of Canterbury composer Philip Norman’s new commission And soon it will be dawn.

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From Ireland to our islands

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

ALDOC is the new project of flutist Alan Doherty, who stepped into the spotlight as a soloist for The Lord of the Rings soundtracks. He’s back here touring with his band, including at this weekend’s Coastella on the Kapiti Coast. The Irishman discusses getting inspiration on the road, why he continues to come back to NZ and how hobbits and orcs changed his life.

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International violin star back with the APO

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Chloe Hanslip started playing the violin at two.  She recorded her first album at just 12. Now at nearly 30 she’s performed in some of the most famous concert halls including Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. Tonight she plays Mozart with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and maestro Giordano Bellincampi.

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Classic play modernised for the FB generation

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Playwright Eli Kent uses his own self- obsessed generation to update Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt for the Auckland Theatre Company. Peer Gynt [recycled] takes the apparatus of contemporary life – cell phones, social media and selfies - to ask some serious questions about the value of his selfish life.

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Chasing the dream

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:45:00 +1300

Australian Cabaret performer Tomas Ford brings his musical spy thriller The Chase! to New Zealand. The story follows the crooner turned assassin on an epic globe-trotting journey, with original songs and lots of laughs. Is he the hunted, or the hunter? Who knows, but audiences from Edinburgh to Perth have loved him.

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Great happiness and triumph through song

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:30:00 +1300

Jubilation is defined as a feeling of great happiness and triumph. And singing is known to be good for the soul. So when a group of extraordinary people get together to sing uplifting music it’s only natural to call themselves Jubilation. Callie Blood talks about the a cappella choir’s makeup and why they love to perform gospel, soul, blues and country.

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Don’t Fall in love

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Don’t fall in love – that’s the warning the Modern Maori Quartet sings, but it may be too late for the legions of fans that’ll be flocking to their Summer Pops tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra which opens tomorrow in Napier. Francis Kora, Matariki Whatarau, Maaka Pohatu and James Tito give a live performance on Upbeat and tells us about how the Quartet has transformed their lives and why we shouldn’t fall in love with them.

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Flying solo

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:45:00 +1300

Miss Jean Batten is a solo show about New Zealand’s legendary Aviatrix. It’s produced by Flaxworks Theatre Company, written by Phil Ormsby and performed by Alex Ellis. Jean Batten’s 1936 flight from England to New Zealand in a single engine plane made of wood and fabric was extraordinary but when she landed safely in Auckland the Mayor told her off for making people worry about her. Actor Alex Ellis and director Phil Ormsby say despite her achievements Jean Batten’s story has largely been forgotten and the play sets out to change that.

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Film is not dead

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

For 72 years the Wellington Film Society has brought alive the magic of film for legions of fans. But with the introduction of streaming services like Netflix, are societies like this still needed? Wellington Film Society president Chris Hormann discusses the health of film societies today and what to expect on the big screen this year.

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Indigenous stories take centre stage

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Theatre, music, visual arts and film are at the core of the Putahi Festival which encourages emerging Maori and Pacific artists to explore indigenous stories. The Wellington festival opens on Wednesday. Curator/co-producer Moana Ete, and musician Mara TK explain the importance of telling their stories through different mediums.

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Getting young people stuck on Shakespeare

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:50:00 +1300

Getting young people excited about Shakespeare is one of the main goals of the Auckland Shakespeare Company, who opened their production of The Merry Wives of Windsor on Saturday.

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Is RNZB’s season opener en pointe?

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:30:00 +1300

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2017 season began last week with its first production of the work of Ronald Petit. The double bill Carmen and L'Arlésienne has been recreated for the New Zealand company by Luigi Bonino, who was an assistant to Roland Petit. Jennifer Shennan reviews the Christchurch opening night.

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Summer Pops for quartet and symphony

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Maori show band Modern Māori Quartet are teaming up for a Summer Pops tour of twelve centres. The orchestra and the band will perform new arrangements in English and Te Reo of the tunes everyone knows. Original pieces will also feature, including works from seven New Zealand composers, amongst them Chris Gendall; while dramaturg  Matu Ngaropo has created a dramatic framework for the music.  

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Telling a dark story with light

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:50:00 +1300

How do you tell a story that’s based in the dark through light? That’s exactly what lighting expert Duncan Milne has been tasked to do for acclaimed New Zealand playwright Stephen Sinclair’s new piece Remain in Light. It explores the spiritual qualities of light in a post-apocalyptic world where a small group of survivors search for food, warmth and light.

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The Mikado - riotous or racist?

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

New Zealand Opera’s The Mikado has stirred up debate about cultural appropriation since it opened this week in Auckland. For reviewer Frances Moore,the production was a game of two halves - and not without controversy.

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What the Funk?!

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Wellington based Singer Lisa Tomlins and her band The Presidents of Funk are planning to recreate funk grooves from James Brown’s extensive back catalogue at next week’s Coastella Festival.  Lisa and her band plan to finish the one day Kapiti Coast festival on a high with the songs by the legendary master of funk.

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Summer school success

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Students at the Adam Summer School have been soaking up the knowledge of some of the best musicians in the country, including the New Zealand String Quartet’s Monique Lapins. She’s been mentoring some of the 27 students - aged between 15 and 25 - including Nathan Pinkney, ready for their Finale Concerts this Sunday.

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Opera’s leading lovers

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

With names like Yum-Yum and Nanki-Poo it’s hard to take New Zealand Opera’s The Mikado seriously. But while they are having fun, leading lovers Amelia Berry – as Yum-Yum - and Jonathan Abernethy – as her suitor Nanki-Poo - take their roles very seriously on stage. The Gilbert and Sullivan opera, directed by Stuart Maunder, opened this week to favourable reviews.

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Varied season for orchestra goers

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:45:00 +1300

Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s 2017 season is full of highlights. This year sees the return of principal guest conductor Simon Over to lead performances of Sibelius, Dvorak, and Brahms with guest soloists cellist Li-Wei Qin and violinist  Ilya Gringolts. Later in the year conductor Richard Davis and flutist Luca Manghi take the audience to Italy, and in November the “Dunedin Sound” will be captured as part of the Tally Ho! Concert.

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Life’s a stage for female filmmakers

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

The French Film Festival is back with a special emphasis on the story telling through the lens of French female filmmakers. Festival director Dorothee Basel gives us her picks from the Women to the Fore section of the festival, which includes Standing Tall, a story of one women’s interaction with the juvenile court, and From the Land of the Moon featuring Marion Cotillard. 

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It’s going swimmingly

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Singer-songwriter Amiria Grenell and professional actor & musician Amy Grace are musical sisters. The duo founded The Swan Sisters after meeting at NASDA and now tour extensively, this year performing at Womad Taranaki in March.

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Finding inspiration

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Australian born, West End actor Damien Humbley is searching for inspiration again. He’s worked with some of the greats – Lloyd Webber, Sondheim – but has seen the musical theatre industry change with the era of celebrity. He talks with Zoë George about building a career in the art form, passing knowledge onto the next generation, and what needs to happen for him to get inspired again.  

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Did it live up to the hype?

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

The Adam Chamber Music Festival has brought interesting and varied performers and pieces to Nelson, but did it live up to the hype? Elizabeth Kerr reviews a number of performances, including international guests Denes Varjon, James Campbell and Ian Rosenbaum. [image_crop:25772:full]

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Story of myths and legends

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Who at 13 knew what they wanted to do? By that age German pianist Frank Dupree was wowing audiences with his outstanding performances and had taken an interest in conducting. The former Wunderkind is in the country to wow audiences alongside the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Giordano Bellincampi for the Myths and Legends concert featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Rimmer and Strauss.

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Celebrating the humble radio

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:45:00 +1300

Today is World Radio Day, and to celebrate it, Celeste Oram has composed a new piece to pay homage to the humble radio. Her new work, which involves a large number of battery-powered radios, has been written for the National Youth Orchestra and will be performed in Auckland and Wellington in July.

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Tattoo for band

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

The Air Force Band is back in force, winging its way around the North Island before heading to Ohakea for the 2017 Air Tattoo which marks the Air Force’s 80th Anniversary. Conductor Flight Lieutenant Simon Brew will be busy both with the baton and, playing a Piazzolla saxophone solo on the tour. The band is also set to release their album From the Silver Screen which has just been recorded.  

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Floating away

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Just imagine floating on water while taking in a show. That’s the idea behind designer/director Stephen Bain’s Floating Theatre, which brings the indoors out. The 30 seat theatre, which floats on water and sparkles, will be parked up on the Whau River and at the Viaduct during the first two weeks of March.

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Behind the velvet curtain of RNZ Concert

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 06:00:00 +1300

To celebrate World Radio Day, RNZ Concert invites you into a world with flashing lights, endless cables, its very own anxieties and its very own language...

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Story telling through solo shows

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

It’s hard enough having one show in the Fringe festival, but how about two. Wellington based Eliza Sanders brings two solo show – Castles, and Pedal - to the Basement Theatre in Auckland, in late February and early March. The two solo pieces, which she describes as dance absurdist theatre cabaret, have received rave reviews after seasons in Wellington and Australia.

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From Disco to ballet

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Top European choreographer Arthur Pita used his teenage experiences as a competition-level disco dancer to colour his work for Russian dancers Natalia Osipova and partner Sergei Polunin. Both are famous for their classical ballet but came to Arthur wanting to break out of its strait jacket. The result is called Run Mary Run is coming to Auckland Arts Festival as part of the show Natalia Osipova and Guests. 

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Picturing Asia

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Ian Wedde is curator for the Auckland Arts Festival exhibition Picturing Asia: Double Take. It celebrates the work of two of the world’s leading photo journalists:  New Zealander Brian Brake (1927-1988) and American Steve McCurry (b.1950). McCurry’s 1984 photo Afghan Girl of a 12-year-old in a Pakistan refugee camp featured on the cover of National Geographic and is still one of the world’s best-known examples of photo journalism.

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Pioneering feminist performance art

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Berlin-based performance artist Alexa Wilson is doing a new solo work at the Auckland Fringe Festival. She’s one of the pioneers behind feminist performance art in New Zealand and is doing an interactive Pecha Kucha style performance.  21 Movements has Alexa responding to photographs by collaborator Nicholas Watt.

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Opera and orchestra outdoors

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Aussie Tenor James Egglestone is one of the stars of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra’s outdoor summer event. The concert at Pegasus Bay Winery in Waipara on Saturday week features James along with Madeleine Pierard and Jared Holt singing some of the best beloved arias and music from world-famous operas and musicals  with a full orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey.

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Eugene Onegin singers Katherine McIndoe and Daniel O’Connor

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

Soprano Katherine McIndoe and Baritone Daniel O’Connor are performing in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin for Days Bay Opera. Katherine will perform as Tatyana, while Daniel will reprise Eugene Onegin, which he has performed previously in Russian.

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Biographer Joanne Drayton takes on Hudson & Halls

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:20:00 +1300

Biographer Joanne Drayton is on a residency at the Carey Institute for Global Good in New York State. The Auckland English teacher and author of biographies of crime writer Ngaio Marsh, painters Edith Colier and Rhona Haszard has received a Logan Nonfiction Fellowship. Joanne’s book on prolific author Anne Perry, whose obsessive teenage life and crime was also portrayed in the film Heavenly Creatures, made the top ten non-fiction books in New York Times Bestseller list and generated more interest in her work stateside. Joanne has her own memoir in the works, and is using her time in the US to work on a book looking at the lives of comedic TV cooking duo Peter Hudson and David Halls called Hudson and Halls: Inseparable.

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Auckland Youth Orchestra Principal Trombone Mark Bingham

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Auckland Youth Orchestra Principal Trombone player Mark Bingham talks to Eva Radich about finding his love of a variety of music through the Star Wars theme, which last year led to performing music from The Force Awakens with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. He's got shows with Le Chéile and a Brass Quartet coming up as part of the Auckland Live Summer in the Square season's APO Young Achievers programming.

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Purrfectly Pawsome Catacular – dancing with feline fluffballs

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:40:00 +1300

One of the more offbeat shows on as part at the Auckland Fringe is taking place at the Barista Cats cat café. Purrfectly Pawsome Catacular promises half an hour of cat focused dancing and performance as well as 20 minutes of cat cuddling. Eva Radich talks to the feline focused brains of the operation: contemporary dancers Sarah-Louise Collins and Caitlin Davey.

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Adam Chamber Music Festival Waitangi Weekend reviews

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:20:00 +1300

Elizabeth Kerr is in Nelson to enjoy the Adam Chamber Music Festival. She reviews Journeys (featuring violinist Monique Lapins as a soloist), Dame Gillian Whitehead's new one-woman opera Iris Dreaming, and Bold Strokes which premiered work from Gareth Farr and Natalie Hunt.

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Isaac Hayward – directed to music

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:00:00 +1300

Isaac Hayward is one of Australia’s most exciting young music directors. He’s only twenty-five, has already been nominated for a Helpmann Award and worked with performers as diverse as Tim Finn, Jon English, Kate Miller-Heidke, and Natalie Weiss. Isaac’s recent music direction credits include three seasons of The Rabbits (Opera Australia) and its live cast recording, The Secret River based on Kate Grenville’s book for Sydney Theatre Company, for which he played Iain Grandage’s score on both cello and prepared piano, and Ladies in Black by Tim Finn, for which he received a Helpmann Award nomination. Isaac was awarded the inaugural Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award in 2014 and is conducting NZ Opera's production of The Mikado.

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Belt it out

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 13:35:00 +1300

The voice is an instrument and it can be used in many different ways. As part of last month’s New Zealand Singing School, the style of belting was explored.  Zoe George explains there’s more to the increasingly popular style than what you might think and looks at how Ethel Merman played such a vital role in its development. 

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Vocal health 101

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

How do you sing without damaging your voice? What should you do to warm up and cool down? What about avoiding dairy before singing? Dr Irene Bartlett from the Queensland Conservatorium is a specialist in vocal physiology and health, and the style of belting. She recently taught at the New Zealand Singing School and spoke with Zoe George about looking after your voice.

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Success in San Francisco

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Former Cantabrian soprano Amina Edris is doing very well at San Francisco Opera. She’s in the second year of the young artist Adler programme and will appear in supporting roles in Verdi’s La Traviata and  Strauss’ Elektra this  year. She explains what the move to San Francisco has meant for her confidence, what it’s like being married to another opera singer and how her ability to speak French has given her a decided advantage.

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Keen on the clarinet

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:45:00 +1300

Wellington composer Natalie Hunt loves the clarinet. She’s made it the main feature in her new work, due to have its world premiere at the Adam Chamber Music Festival on Waitangi Day. It’s called Quartet, and features clarinetist James Campbell with the New Zealand String Quartet. Natalie explains how November’s earthquake shaped the work, and how she always manages to inject jazz into her classical compositions.

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The pipe organ fan club

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

New arts organization The Zimbelstern Foundation is taking the pipe organ and broadening its appeal as the “king of instruments”. Paul Rosoman explains why this instrument should be treasured, how artists will be supported, and how providing performance opportunities will help the next generation of organists flourish.  

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Death, courage and grief

Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

It’s a fact of life, we all die. Death is theme of Once There Was A Woman created and performed by Beth Kayes. Grief, memory, vulnerability, caring for the elderly and death, along with race relations, childhood memories and kaftans make up the fabric of the play which premieres at Q Theatre Loft later this month.

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Grand opening with Gao Ping

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 13:45:00 +1300

The Adam Chamber Music Festival opens this weekend with a spectacular opening concert, including the New Zealand premiere of Chinese composer Gao Ping’s Ephemera for string quartet and clarinet. After living in New Zealand for half of his life and now Beijing, Gao Ping reflects on how rapid industrial change has made life in today’s Chinese cities so hard.

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It will make you jump

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Swedish born, Amsterdam-based playwright Jakob Ahlbom is bringing his theatrical work Horror to the Auckland Arts Festival in March.

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Social change through music

Wed, 01 Feb 2017 13:05:00 +1300

New Zealand composer Leila Adu is usually based at Princeton but is back in Wellington to perform at the City Gallery in front of works by another famous New York dweller, Cindy Sherman. Leila brings stories of social change though her latest releases Love Cells and Scare Love Monster. She reflects on the work she does to bring social change through music, what it’s like being home, and how singing solo with Orchestra Wellington affected her.

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The road to LA

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:45:00 +1300

Kiwi actor William Kircher explains how being buried in dead fish, and being pushed down a river in a barrel in full costume has changed his life. This all happened when Bill was a dwarf in The Hobbit, a highlight of his 40 year acting career.  Now he’s now off to work with Theatre 68 in LA. He talks to Zoe George about doors opening and closing, treasuring what you’ve got when you’ve got it and how conventions changed his path.

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No time for a cuppa and a lie down

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:25:00 +1300

Although she maybe directing and starring in Grumpy Old Women: Game of Crones Geraldine Brophy is far too busy to be grumpy, or old. With a three month tour of her latest show about aging about to start, and other projects to ponder, including the successful 48 hour short play festival, delving into American politics and writing for those with arthritis, she has no time for a cuppa tea and a lie down.

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Contagious enjoyment

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 13:05:00 +1300

Violinist Fiona Pears is traveling the country playing in clubs, country halls, theatres and band rotundas spreading joy and enjoyment. Along with her band, that includes pianist and producer Ian Tilley, she brings a mix of jazz, classical, Celtic, tango and gypsy musical styles that will get the toes tapping and the audience smiling.

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The Queen of Tarts

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 13:45:00 +1300

More than 40 singers aged between 6 and 70 will take to the stage in Wellington this week for the premiere of new musical The Queen of Tarts. Written by Paul Percey and Michael Vinten, and directed by Jacqui Coats, the musical follows the trial of Humpty Dumpty who’s accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts. The family focused show was created by Bacchus Theatre Trust which has been established to provide suitable musicals for school aged children.

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Tan Dun APO debut

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 13:30:00 +1300

Celebrated Chinese composer and conductor Tan Dun will make his Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra debut on Tuesday with his new work Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds which tries to explain the world around us. The composer is famous for his work on the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the score to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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Aussie stars in NZ Opera

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 13:05:00 +1300

2017 is a busy year for Australian Bass James Clayton. He’s playing the title role in New Zealand Opera’s The Mikado, and Escamillo in Carmen before jetting across the Tasman to work in Melbourne and Adelaide. The French horn player turned singer only found his voice a decade ago and now is passing on his knowledge to the next generation at the New Zealand School of Music when he’s not on stage.

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