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Next year will again be busy in the Dunedin art scene, with at least three arts festivals as well as local companies and visiting groups performing in the city. Charmian Smith looks ahead to what's in store for 2014.
There will be plenty of offerings next year to keep Dunedin art lovers busy: not only is the biennial Arts Festival Dunedin (formerly Otago Festival of the Arts) running in October, the inaugural New Zealand International Early Music Festival and annual Dunedin Fringe Festival are staged in March.
Besides these concentrations of arts activities, local professional and amateur groups will present regular concerts and performances: the Fortune Theatre launched its 2014 programme last week, the Southern Sinfonia's will come out early next year, and throughout the year there will be visits from touring groups, from the NZSO to string quartets, not to mention the lavish productions of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
• The Fortune Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014 with seven subscription shows, opening on February 8 with the world premiere of a new Roger Hall play, Bookends. About the Cabin Fever Book Club, which meets regularly in the Sourdough cafe, it's funny but perhaps a bit more introspective than many of Hall's plays, perhaps because it's based on a true set of circumstances, says artistic director Lara Macgregor.
It is followed by another world premiere, Gary Henderson's Peninsula, about a boy growing up in the 1960s in a small community on Banks Peninsula. It was written while Henderson was living in the Robert Lord writer's cottage in Dunedin and follows his Homeland, which the Fortune staged during its 30th anniversary season, she said.
A New Zealand premiere of an international play, Souvenir follows. It is about a New York socialite who believed she could sing.
''The story is told through her accompanist Cosme McMoon and it's a touching tribute to her sincerity and ambition and her deep love of music, which she had, and her complete lack of talent,'' Macgregor said. ''She wore elaborate costumes she'd designed herself and at the end of the play we get to hear her sing the way she hears herself, so the actress, having sung badly for most of the play, has to be able to sing very well at the end.''
Jump, by April di Angelis, is staged in July, when the theatre will celebrate 40 years. It is about a woman who once protested at Greenham Common but her protests now focus on the struggling relationship between her and her teenage daughter and keeping the passion alive in her marriage. It was originally staged to acclaim at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Following last year's Tribes in the True Grit series, Macgregor has selected Lungs, a new play by British playwright Duncan McMillan to be staged in the Studio.
''To breed or not to breed, that is the question. At a time of global crisis and global unrest, this young couple contemplate having a child. If they over-think it they'll never do it but if they rush, it could be a disaster.''
For the arts festival in October the Fortune takes its production - Pinter's The Caretaker - off-site, at a venue yet to be determined. First performed in 1960, it brought the young British playwright the recognition he sought and tells the tale of two brothers who allow a homeless man to stay in their decrepit flat.
''An act of compassion sparks a cycle of cruelty,'' Macgregor said.
And for Christmas, with a complete change of mood the Fortune ends its 2014 season with Ladies Night, by New Zealand writers Stephen Sinclair and Anthony McCarten, about a group of unemployed men who develop a male strip show.
Besides the subscription season, there will be a children's show, Cat versus Dog in conjunction with the Cadbury chocolate carnival, open auditions in February, fortnightly late-night shows by Impressaurus, performances for blind and partially sighted people, the young playwrights' initiative and visiting shows during the Fringe and Arts festivals.
For more information visit www.fortunetheatre.co.nz
• Opera Otago plans a significant production of a major new opera with international opera singers as well as a development relating to the future of the Mayfair Theatre, and will be announcing this in late February, according to John Drummond.
• The Southern Sinfonia will also launch its subscription programme in the new year, but general manager Philippa Harris says it will have the usual three international concerts in the Town Hall on Saturday evenings and two matinee concerts in the Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre early on Saturday evenings and again on Sunday afternoons.
Highlights will be the premiere of a new work by Anthony Ritchie, and artists include ex-Dunedinite conductor Tecwyn Evans, now based in Europe, and Bulgarian-born violinist Bella Hristova, who won the Michael Hill Violin Competition in 2007.
As well as its subscription series, the Sinfonia will accompany two of the Royal New Zealand Ballet's Dunedin seasons, Coppelia in May and Christmas Carol in November, and City Choir Dunedin's performance of Mozart's Requiem, also in November.
For more information visit www.southernsinfonia.org
• For the Mozart Requiem concert on November 22, City Choir will be joined by the Yokohama Soundbridge Choir from Japan, which will also sing a bracket of Japanese songs. Following its tour with the NZSO and Verdi's Requiem this year, the choir will sing Haydn's The Creation with the NZSO on September 3 in the Town Hall. Although it has concerts confirmed for the later part of the year, it is still finalising details for two concerts earlier in the year.
For more information visit www.citychoirdunedin.org.nz
• The inaugural New Zealand International Early Music Festival from March 1-9 will feature morning, lunchtime and evening concerts by local groups and musicians such as St Paul's Cathedral Choir, the Rare Byrds, The Southern Consort of Voices, countertenor Christopher Clifford, and David Burchell and Alan Edwards on organ, as well as Douglas Mews of Wellington on harpsichord, Australian John Griffiths on vihuela, and Christchurch soprano Lois Johnston.
The festival will conclude with a Renaissance picnic in the grounds of the former Roman Catholic church at Seacliff, according artistic director Christopher Clifford. For more information check NZIEMF on Facebook
• Dunedin early music consort The Rare Byrds will collaborate with the Southern Consort of Voices and Les Belles Vilaines in ''The Tudors: Piety and Pleasure'', performing a selection of Renaissance dance music and dances as part of NZIEMF on March 1.
In March or April it plans a repeat performance of the historical masque Mary, Queen of Scots, which sold out at this year's Celtic Arts Festival, according to director Jonathan Cweorth.
In June the Dunedin Medieval Society and the OUSA Fire and Juggling Club will collaborate on In the Grimm Midwinter, two linked shows based on some rarely explored Brothers Grimm stories. There are giant puppets in Godfather Death, glove puppets and live actors in Capturing the Moon and a shadow puppet play of The Devil and his Grandmother. The Castle of the Golden Sun is a Grimm tale with a contemporary twist, featuring live music, an original score, fire and circus performers.
Cweorth also hopes to stage ''Carnival of Souls'' a Halloween event, including live music, fire performances and a steampunk puppet show on October 31 at the Gasworks Museum.
• Arts Festival Dunedin (October 10 to 19) won't launch its programme until later next year but director Nicholas McBryde says that as an extra, the festival will be presenting the only South Island appearance of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, accompanied by Terence Dennis in her 70th Birthday Gala Tour in Australia and New Zealand, at Queen's Birthday. For more information, visit www.otagofestival.co.nz
• The 11th annual Fringe Festival (March 13-23) will present the New Zealand premiere of Carousel and Clothesline by touring Canadian circus company Vague de Cirque, featuring artists from world-renowned circus company Cirque Du Soleil.
Among more than 40 innovative and experimental works in the festival will be Melody Moore, a solo theatre show about Irish poet, singer, songwriter and entertainer Thomas Moore presented by New Zealand-born actor Richard Hanna.
It won Best of the Festival at the Calgary Fringe. The Fringe Fishbowl, performances designed to stop people in their tracks will be presented in a shop window performance space each day.
The complete programme will be launched on February 5. For more information visit www.dunedinfringe.org.nz
• Commemorating the centenary of World War 1, the Globe Theatre opens the year on February 20 with Journey's End by R.C. Sheriff. The powerful play deals with real characters, some of whom deal better than others with the stresses of war in the trenches.
This is followed by the dark comedy, The Killing of Sister George by Frank Marcus in March and Alan Bennet's award-winning The History Boys in late May, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream in July (celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Bard's birth) and The Choice by Clare Luckham, among other shows.
For more information visit www.Globetheatre.org.nz
• Also commemorating the centenary of World War 1 is ''ANZAC'' an exhibition of photographs of World War 1 memorials in New Zealand and Australia by New Zealand photographer Lawrence Aberhart. It opens at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery in April.
''The Cubic Structural Evolution Project'' (2004) by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, known for large scale installations, is a participatory work in which viewers contribute to the construction of a Lego world at the gallery from May to August.
''His own Steam'' a survey of Barry Brickell's ceramics, from pots to witty sculptures and murals is at the gallery from September 12.
For more information visit dunedin.art.museum
• The NZSO will give six concerts in Dunedin next year, including Haydn's The Creation with City Choir Dunedin on September 3, and a concert on October 15 featuring Australian composer Brett Dean's Trumpet Concerto commissioned by virtuoso trumpeter Hakan Hardenberger, in conjunction with Arts Festival Dunedin.
Other concerts include Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4 on April 9, ''Russian Fire'' on May 21, conducted by Russian Alexander Lasarev with works by Rachmaninov, Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor with Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov, and Shostakovich's Symphony No 15.
On July 31 British conductor Alexander Shelley conducts music inspired by Shakespeare's genius, including Korngold's Much Ado about Nothing Suite and Richard Strauss' Macbeth. The season concludes with ''In the Hall of the Mountain King'', with two works by Grieg, as well as Mozart's Symphony No 31 ''Paris'', on November 27. This concert will also be given in Oamaru on November 28.
For more information visit www.nzso.co.nz
• After the Royal New Zealand Ballet's US tour with Giselle and a mixed bill in early February, the company opens its New Zealand season with Coppelia in Dunedin in May. On August 23 it will tour Allegro, a mixed bill including works by Balanchine, Keigwin, Kobborg and Dunedin choreographer and dancer Daniel Belton.
At the end of the year it tours A Christmas Carol.
For more information visit www.nzballet.org.nz
• Next year's Chamber Music New Zealand Dunedin concert season includes the award-winning Kelemen Quartet on its first visit to this country. Specialising in Hungarian repertoire it will perform works by Bartok, Ligeti and Kurtak as well as Haydn and Mozart on March 9.
The New Zealand String Quartet with Canadian virtuoso clarinettist James Campbell performs works by Mozart and Brahms on May 11, and in late June Michael Hill violin competition winner Nikki Chooi, accompanied by pianist Stephen de Pledge and cellist Ashley Brown, tour the country. In July the Doric String Quartet will perform Haydn, Schumann and Schubert.
In September the Austrian Eggener Trio with violist Amihai Grosz, of the Berlin Philharmonic, performs trios and quartets from Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Dvorak.
The Dunedin season finishes on October 18 with the Borodin Quartet, one of the longest-lasting quartets, which traces its history back to the Soviet era. They will perform works by Shostakovich, Muaskovsky and Beethoven's String Quartet op 130.
For more information visit www.chambermusic.co.nz