Anton Oliver and Tecwyn Evans rehearse Peter and the Wolf in Wellington yesterday. Photo by Usha Bhana.
Former All Black hard man Anton Oliver has had to tackle some
tough opponents over the years. But nothing compares with his
assignment this weekend.
Mr Oliver, who lives in London, admitted he was ''a bit
nervous'' before his debut with the New Zealand Symphony
Orchestra in Wellington on Saturday.
''It's certainly something different for me,'' the
38-year-old said from rehearsal in Wellington yesterday.
''My initial response was to say 'no'. But if I'm not going
to do something in life, it isn't going to be because of
fear. The fear of doing something is usually much worse than
Mr Oliver will narrate Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf
in the NZSO's Tall Tales and Tangos, at the Dunedin
Town Hall on Tuesday, and in the Balclutha War Memorial Hall
''I'm not nervous yet. It's all quite exciting and new to me
at the moment. I'm sure I'll be a bit nervous on Saturday,
''It's something different for me, because I'm doing
something fictional. Usually, when I speak in public it is
something literal, about something I've done.''
Mr Oliver played 59 matches for the All Blacks and 127 games
for the Highlanders between 1996 and 2007 and enjoyed
watching the Otago rugby team win the Ranfurly Shield after
55 barren years.
''There was a bit of pressure put on me to come back and join
in the celebrations. It's really good to finally get the
monkey off our back. Now we have the opportunity to reset and
push play,'' he said.
Mr Oliver was looking forward to catching up with Otago rugby
coach Tony Brown in Dunedin next week.
''I was best man at his wedding and he's had a new child
since then whom I haven't met yet.''
Conductor Tecwyn Evans is also looking forward to returning
''It's always nice to be back home,'' Mr Evans said.
''I haven't conducted there for a couple of years now. I
think the last thing I did in New Zealand was the 2011 Rugby
World Cup final.''
The programme is selections from The Nutcracker
(Tchaikovsky), Ring Round the Moon (Farquhar) and
Peter and the Wolf (Prokofiev).
A pre-concert talk will be held at 5.45pm in Dunedin and
6.15pm in Balclutha, when bass player Malcolm Struthers will
interview Messrs Evans and Oliver.