Celebrating that show can go on

Simon O’Neill, Rhiannon Cooper and Anna Lease rehearse at Hanover Hall before Saturday night’s ‘...
Simon O’Neill, Rhiannon Cooper and Anna Lease rehearse at Hanover Hall before Saturday night’s ‘‘Celebrating 2021’’ at the Dunedin Town Hall. PHOTO GREGOR RICHARDSON
Holding a performance in Dunedin in spite of Covid-19’s effect on the arts globally is a celebration of New Zealand’s response to the pandemic, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra marketing manager Pieter du Plessis says.

But it was touch and go this week as Mr du Plessis waited with the rest of the country, learning only on Wednesday at 4.30pm that the Alert Level 2 would drop to Alert Level 1 again and allow "Celebrating 2021" to go ahead at the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday.

Mr du Plessis said he and the performers were ecstatic upon hearing the news.

Amid the confusion, the Otago Daily Times ran the wrong advertisement, incorrectly stating the show had to be cancelled.

But while Covid-19 had created challenges, it also allowed this show’s international star, University of Otago alumnus Simon O’Neill, a chance to perform as a soloist with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra for the first time.

New Zealand was a small nation, but it now had a stage for performers who in normal times might have left the country to find their audience, Mr du Plessis said.

The rest of the world craved the opportunity Dunedin had at the weekend.

"It really is a celebration," he said. "It is a way to say ‘thank you’ for giving us this stage."

"Everything is not that bad.

"It is a pandemic, it has created extraordinary times, but it has also created opportunities and gave us opportunities as a local orchestra to have soloists like him."

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