Let the shows begin ...

Shayne Carter performs with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in Tally Ho! in 2019. He will join it...
Shayne Carter performs with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in Tally Ho! in 2019. He will join it again this year. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
As we head into 2022, Dunedin’s art calendar is filling up despite the ever-present threat of Covid-19 restrictions. Rebecca Fox takes a look at some of the music, theatre, arts and festival happenings ahead (Covid-permitting).

Classical music

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra says it has not been impacted by Covid in its programme for its 75th year.

It is planning a big weekend of concerts in Dunedin in mid-October (the same time as the Arts Festival) as part of its Immerse Festival. Dunedin’s Shayne Carter (Straightjacket Fits) will join the NZSO in a concert featuring his favourite moments of the ‘‘classical canon’’ with re-imagined orchestral versions of his songs from composer Tane Upjohn-Beatson.

Carter is also bringing his ‘‘Dimmer, I believe You Are A Star show’’ to The Regent Theatre in March.

The night before the NZSO concert, conductor Alexander Shelley will lead Venezuelan pianist Gabriele Montero through a programme including Gillian Whitehead’s Commission.

Montero will also do a separate piano recital of her favourite works and improvisations.

Earlier in the year NZSO is bringing its Baroque Series ‘‘Extravaganza’’ concert featuring NZSO associate concertmaster Yuka Eguchi on violin, directed by NZSO concertmaster Vesa-Matti Leppanen, to Dunedin, Oamaru and Invercargill.

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra will not announce its line-up until February but has said that a concert in early July will be held to celebrate the country’s first Matariki holiday.

General manager Philippa Harris says it is an ideal opportunity for the orchestra’s first performance of Gustav Holst’s large-scale orchestral work The Planets (1914-1916) for a full orchestra and female choir.

The first half of the programme will feature New Zealand soloists performing New Zealand works all linked to Matariki.

It also hopes to stage a concert scuppered by Covid restrictions last year featuring Leppanen and principal cellist Andrew Joyce performing Brahms’ popular double concerto for violin and cello.

Bird Like Men are coming to Dunedin this year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Bird Like Men are coming to Dunedin this year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Chamber Music New Zealand is also planning a full programme including, in March, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons recomposed by German-born British composer Max Richter by Christchurch Symphony Orchestra solo violin and director of strings Martin Riseley and inclusive dance company Jolt Dance along with musicians of the CSO.

Also performing will be Ariana Tikao, Al Fraser, Phil Boniface and Roby Solly with visual artist Louise Potiki Bryant as they take inspiration from Maori rock art depictions of bird people at the Maerewhenua site in Otago. It will pair taonga puoro, waiata, karakia and purakau (story) with western instrumental elements of the cello and bass.

Opera

Opera lovers have a full programme this year with Silence is and The Strangest of Angels alongside Opera Otago’s Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) from Il Trittico (The Triptych) by Giacomo Puccini which features an all female cast, and in November Only a Miracle by American composer Seymour Barab.

A new version of Cinderella is being created by Loughlan Prior and Claire Cowan. PHOTO: RNZB
A new version of Cinderella is being created by Loughlan Prior and Claire Cowan. PHOTO: RNZB

Ballet

Ballet offerings will be very light in Dunedin in 2022 with the Royal New Zealand Ballet only bringing one of its three major shows to the city.

Luckily it is Cinderella, a brand new production by Loughlan Prior and Claire Cowan, the team behind Hansel and Gretel.

However, we will miss out on Venus Rising, a mixed bill, and a re-visiting of Swan Lake by artistic director Patricia Barker in collaboration with NZ ballet legend Russell Kerr.

Instead the RNZB is bringing its regional ballet show Tutus on Tour to Dunedin and Invercargill.

RNZB executive director Lester McGrath says the decision not to bring Swan Lake south was because the Regent did not have dates available (it clashes with We Will Rock You) and Venus Rising was programmed for Aotearoa New Zealand Festival in Wellington and the Auckland Arts Festival.

"This is typically not an ideal time to take a contemporary programme to Dunedin — however, we hope we might be able to perform at the Dunedin Festival of the Arts in 2022."

The ballet was also taking a more cautious approach to Dunedin and Palmerston North due to the impact of the closure of Ticket Rocket.

"As a result we have seen that ticket buyers are more cautious than they were previously, in addition to Covid-19 cautiousness."

Rahim Alhaj will perform Letters from Iraq. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Rahim Alhaj will perform Letters from Iraq. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Other

Other highlights include Grammy-award-winning Iraqi-American composer and oud player Rahim Alhaj coming to Dunedin. He will lead the New Zealand String Quartet, double bassist Joan Perarnau Garriga and percussionist Justin DeHart to perform Letters from Iraq.

R&B artist Tami Neilson will return to Dunedin in August after her successful show "F Word" in Dunedin’s Art Festival in 2020 with her latest show "Kingmaker", premiering new songs with string arrangements by Victoria Kelly.

CMNZ is collaborating to bring acts to our regional centres with male four-piece Tokowha coming to Wanaka, Cromwell and Arrowtown, Wellington’s Ensemble Go comprising violinist Monique Lapins and Japanese percussionist Naoto Segawa coming to Wanaka and Cromwell, Strings Amore to Arrowtown and Duo Harmonics, Nicole Chao and Beth Chen on piano, play Cromwell and Wanaka. Also coming to Arrowtown and Cromwell is solo pianist and Spanish specialist Lorelle McNaughton.

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