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MARCH – MAY 2014



MAMMA MIA! the irresistible musical RHYS DARBY heading home for the comedy festival NUMBER ONE AUTHOR alexander mccall smith headlines writers festival MIG AYESA returns to the civic

La Dolce Vita

NEW ZE A L A ND SY MPHO N Y OR CH E ST R A p re se n ts

SEASON 2014 Tickets on s a le now!

App now available for tablet on:

Details and videos at

LIVE SHORTS Fridays have just become more fun at Aotea Square with our Summer Music Festival running every week until 28 March. This free programme of live music features some of New Zealand’s most talented performers on stage at lunchtimes and after work. Come on down – we’ll provide the deckchairs!


HIT Picks

Enter the competitions at We asked and they answered – read our Q&As at Watch videos on our blog at thereadingroom

Download the digital edition of LIVE and read our blog at thereadingroom



As well as a place to see edgy and fresh theatre works, Herald Theatre, on the north end of Aotea Centre, is also a place to gather for openingnight celebrations and industry gatherings – and the foyer and bar area has just been upgraded, including new furniture, flooring and an especially commissioned installation by artist Jeena Shin.


10 April Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall


4 – 8 March Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre


2 – 5 April Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall


Director’s pick

EDITOR Josie Campbell –

Director of THE EDGE Robbie Macrae is a huge fan of Jacques Brel’s music and is delighted that Silo’s production of BREL, which had its first season at Auckland Town Hall’s Concert Chamber, is making a return to Auckland for one night in the Great Hall.

ADVERTISING & LISTING ENQUIRIES Rahul Patel – DESIGNER Oliver Rosser THEATRE MARKETING MANAGER Angela Gourdie COVER IMAGE Shadowland Photo credit: John Kane

BREL: THE WORDS AND MUSIC OF JACQUES BREL 4 March | Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

“I adore this show – it has stunning performers, beautiful staging and of course features songs by an extraordinary musician. It’s been no surprise to me to see BREL picked up by arts festivals across New Zealand and I can’t wait to see the show again.”




One of the worlds most exciting dance theatre companies, Pilobolus hits Auckland this June for the Australasian premiere of their groundbreaking show, Shadowland. Sarah Illingworth talks to the companys Executive Director Itamar Kubovy.


rom performing at the Oscars to choreographing unique works for music videos and commercials, Pilobolus harnesses physicality and illusion to create stunning performances. Known for their collaborative approach, the Connecticut-based company invite their dancers to contribute to the development of a work, rather than insisting upon the traditionally more formal distinction between choreographer and performer. “Basically, the idea is that you have many chefs in the kitchen at the same time,” says Executive Director Itamar Kubovy, who has been with Pilobolus since 2004. “It [can] initially appear to people as utterly chaotic, [but] ultimately, we believe, produces consistently original and surprising work.” Founded in 1971 by a group of students from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA, the original company were more athletes than dancers. Travelling the world as a band of six, they essentially created a style of dance now credited with changing the course of modern dance, ultimately shifting “people’s perceptions of what was possible to do with the human body, and what the visual and surrealistic imagery could produce in live performance.”

Today, Pilobolus continues to have this boundarypushing expectation of dance. Recent projects, managed through the company’s sister initiative Pilobolus Lab, have included collaborations with fiction writers, comic artists and the critically acclaimed radio programme Radiolab. They’ve tackled briefs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s robotics department, performed with Penn & Teller and teamed with Google Japan and American band OK Go to produce a Grammy-nominated music video.

“The main mission of the company,” explains Itamar, “is to convene folks who aren’t necessarily dance people. And that’s really the great pleasure for us – to invite an imagination and an artist and an intellect that can teach us something, and experience what we’re trying to do with us.”

“Once the show hit Germany, all hell broke loose. People had an amazing response to it, and it started really becoming an idiosyncratic and amazing phenomenon”

Having seen the resulting ad spot, Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin (Pretty Woman, Spider Man, The Butler) contacted Itamar to ask if his dancers could create something similar for the 2007 Academy Awards, which she’d been tasked with producing that year.

It was this openness that gave birth to Shadowland. The show, which has its Auckland premiere this June, had its seed in a commission the company received to choreograph a commercial for Hyundai in 2006. Asked if they could create a car using just the projected shadows of bodies against a screen, the company rose to the challenge, having little idea what the job would lead onto.

Once again, Pilobolus accepted the dare, and their work – six short segments that saw the dancers memorialise the year’s Best Picture nominees in shadow form – made such an impression the phone started running hot with requests for similar work.



Founded as Pilobolus Dance Theater in Dartmouth, New Hampshire, USA


Opening act for Frank Zappa at a concert at Smith College


PBS make film about the group, titled Pilobolus & Joan


Broadway debut at St James Theater

1996-7 Awarded Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Programming

“We performed little shadow pieces ranging from two to five minutes in length, for the next three years,” tells Itamar. “We were performing for the Queen of England, princes in the United Arab Emirates and for corporations like IBM and McKinsey, and South African companies that were doing advertising campaigns.” Eventually, the crew’s new ‘short shadow’ skill-set evolved to a point at which they felt it would be a loss not to use it to construct a show of their own. “Each time we did one of these things we’d learn a new little trick or technique, or some kind of expansion of our vision,” Itamar continues, “until we had this kind of catalogue of all of these different images and approaches and shapes and techniques. We thought, what if we were to try to really put this together, and create a story that we were passionate about?

Incorporating multiple, moving screens of different sizes and shapes, Shadowland is that tale. Created in collaboration with SpongeBob SquarePants’ lead writer Steven Banks, and set to an original score composed by renowned US musician, producer and composer for film David Poe, the show merges projected images and front-of-screen choreography to weave a fantasy-led narrative “of a young girl, and her Alice in Wonderland experiences.” To date, Shadowland has been performed almost 700 times, in over 30 countries. Though it met with rave reviews from its inception, as Itamar recalls, it was in Germany that things really started blowing up. “Once the show hit Germany, all hell broke loose. People had an amazing response to it, and it started really becoming an idiosyncratic and amazing phenomenon – in its appeal, and in our sense of being able to bring this completely new form of theatre to audiences around the world.”

Itamar Kubovy

Finally Auckland gets to see what all the fuss is about. In line with the company’s penchant for adaptation and surprise, the local version will have its own unique spin – a customised segment at its close, comprised of shadows concocted exclusively as a nod to our city.


Published first edition of Twisted Yoga


Itamar Kubovy appointed first Executive Director


Awarded TED Fellowship


Hyundai commercial airs on television


Performed Best Picture ‘shadow shorts’ at Academy Awards


Established International Collaborators Project


Debut performance in Auckland, New Zealand


Shadowland premiered in September


Clip created for NFL Network nominated for Emmy Award in Sports


First collective awarded the 54-year Dance Magazine Award


Co-founder Jonathan Wolken passed away and Wolken Education Fund established


Won Guinness World Record for fitting most people in a Mini Cooper (26)


Appearance on Sesame Street (the letter L and number 4)


Google Chrome Japan and OK Go collaboration nominated for Best Video Grammy (All Is Not Lost)

2012 Radiolab collaboration, In the Dark, premiered


3 – 8 June | The Civic


Awarded German Live Entertainment Award


[esc], a theatre collaboration with Penn & Teller, premiered in Las Vegas




POP ANTHEMS on stage

Pull on your white platforms, slip into a sequinned jumpsuit and prepare to party because the blockbuster musical Mamma Mia! is dancing into town fuelled by ABBA’s perfect pop songs. For the show’s leading ladies, it’s a chance to dress up, have some fun and share some memories. By Dionne Christian.


n a sun-soaked Auckland afternoon, musical theatre stars Jackie Clarke, Delia Hannah and Minouk Van der Velde are chilling out on the Aotea Centre terrace, laughing about their childhood memories of Swedish super-group ABBA.

Now Jackie, Delia and Minouk are doing just that in the ultimate summer feel-good musical Mamma Mia!, which features 22 ABBA hits including Dancing Queen, Chiquitita, Knowing Me Knowing You, The Winner Takes it All, Super Trouper, Take a Chance on Me and Mamma Mia!

Donna’s past to the island they last visited 20 years ago, to try to work out which one is her father. Back then, Donna was a fun-loving singer headlining the all-girl group Donna and the Dynamos with best friends Rosie (Jackie) and Tanya (Minouk).

“I was fascinated by the fact they were two married couples and they came from Sweden. It all seemed so exotic, especially when you were an 11 year old growing up in Gisborne,” says Jackie, who once performed in an ABBA tribute band.

“For many people, ABBA is a guilty pleasure,” says Jackie. “Whenever we played their songs, it would get everyone on the dance floor.”

“I think they probably got each other out of quite a few difficult situations,” says Minouk, “because they were young, having fun and taking risks – although it was all probably quite innocent given the era they were growing up in. The world was their oyster!”

She got the album ABBA Arrival for her 11th birthday and treated her class to a rendition of the song My Love, My Life; Minouk and her brother, newly arrived in New Zealand from Holland, sung Eagle on a cassette to send to their grandmother while Delia used to marvel at how “the girls” could sing in perfect unison. And then there were the clothes! The flared pants, the platform boots, the pussy-cat dresses, the Lycra jumpsuits and all the sequins. What little girl didn’t want to dress up like blonde Agnetha and brunette Frida?

Delia says that’s because the songs are pop anthems with great rhythm and melodies sung by two women whose voices complemented one another perfectly. “They were self-taught musicians who would work tirelessly in the studio, doing everything themselves, to perfect each song and that’s why, I think, they were so successful. It’s fantastic to be able to sing these songs.” Seen by 54 million people worldwide, writer Catherine Johnson’s sunny and funny Mamma Mia! is set on a Greek island where Donna Sheridan (Delia) is preparing for the wedding of her only daughter, Sophie. But Sophie has a surprise for her mother: she’s invited three men from

The trio agree some of the most magical moments in Mamma Mia! happen when the girls relive their Donna and the Dynamos performances. They say dressing up is one of the best things about performing, and donning the costumes helps them get into character and lose any inhibitions. “There are moments in every show where the things you’ve been working so hard on in the rehearsal room come together and everything just flows,” says Delia. “You can feel the audience coming along for the ride with you and there’s an amazing energy. We want people dressing up, singing along and dancing in the aisles. Everyone gets to have a good time and celebrate with music we all love.” Presented in Auckland by Amici Productions and Auckland Music Theatre Inc, Mamma Mia! features an all-new set and costume design. Other cast members include Richard Neame as Sam, Steve O’Rielly as Harry, Aimee Gray as Sophie and Rory Nolan as Sky.


4 – 23 March | The Civic


Four tickets to the final performance of Mamma Mia! Visit to enter.



Rhys Darby

on home soil

OLD MOUT CIDER COMEDY GALA 24 April, 8pm | $94.90* The Civic JIM JEFFERIES 25 April, 8.30pm | $49.90* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

Who better to talk to about the 2014 NZ International Comedy Festival than one of our most successful comedy exports. Because Rhys Darby is currently on the other side of the world, we asked one of the people closest to him to talk to Rhys about the festival and his upcoming show – his wife and manager Rosie Carnahan Darby.


uckland is home for Rhys Darby: he may live in LA, but this is home. He grew up in the eastern suburbs riding his bike to the beach, bussing into town on a Friday night and watching Star Wars at The Civic. This year he returns to The Civic, which is significant for him; he feels like his Mum can truly tell he is successful when he sells out Auckland’s most iconic theatre… again. Just up the road is The Classic comedy club, where he cut his teeth as a comic and still remembers the excitement when he booked

his first Thursday pro night. “The Classic and the NZ International Comedy Festival are still the petrie dishes for developing comedy talent in New Zealand. Without them we’d all still be begging bars to let us tell jokes for a beer,” Rhys remembers. For Rhys, meeting the international comics who would prop up the bar late at night during the festival was the turning point. “They all told me I was good, that I had universal appeal. So, after the second Billy T nomination my girlfriend and I headed to the UK.” Doors opened and he was worked

off his feet for six years. Those comics he met in the late ’90s are still mates, part of the international comedy family. Then came Flight of the Conchords, TV, films and America. But would any of this have happened without performing to a handful of people in obscure little venues in the late ’90s? Probably not. Rhys is enthusiastic about comedy in NZ; he always tries to catch local shows “because it is fun to see them at the beginning, then watch their journey to comedic superstardom, or abject poverty. Although I always make sure I pay for tickets, the poverty sucks.”

Image by Al Best, Modsquad

If you want to see someone whose star has risen, and continues to rise, you can see Rhys in Mr Adventure. It’s a show about how life is an adventure, whether you're exploring the biggest shopping mall in America or tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda. It will of course include Rhys’ trademark storytelling, sound effects and fantastical tales. He's excited that Cornish rappers Hedluv + Passman will be joining him on stage too. He explains, “Well, The Civic is an epic theatre; so it deserves an epic show with epic lo-fi casiotone music.”


8 & 9 May | The Civic







JEFF ACHTEM OF BUNK PUPPETS IN STICKS, STONES, BROKEN BONES 29 April – 3 May, 11am & 6.30pm $20 – $25* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre BIRDS OF PARADISE 2 & 3 May, 8.45pm | $36 – $42* Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESENTS THE SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL 4 May, 7pm | $40* Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall THE BIG SHOW 5 – 10 & 12 – 17 May, 8.45pm $38.50 – $48.50 Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall PROMISE AND PROMISCUITY BY JANE AUSTEN AND PENNY ASHTON 6 ­– 10 May, 7pm | $20 – $25* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre TOM WRIGGLESWORTH: UTTERLY AT ODDS WITH THE UNIVERSE 6 – 10 May, 9pm | $20 – $26* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre RHYS DARBY: MR ADVENTURE 8 & 9 May, 8pm | $42.50 – $47.50* The Civic THE GOOD GUYS 11 May, 7pm | $35* Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall SQUIDBOY 13 – 17 May, 7pm | $20 – $25* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre KRAKEN 13 – 17 May, 9pm | $20 – $25* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre HAIRY SOUL MAN: KAI SMYTHE & 7-PIECE SOUL BAND 15 – 17 May, 7pm | $25 – $28* Comedy Chamber, Auckland Town Hall The full festival line-up will be announced on 5 March at


LIVE calendar DANCE DON QUIXOTE The Imperial Russian Ballet Company will bring this flamboyant and festive ballet to New Zealand in March. 28 & 29 March, 8pm | $55 – $97* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre SHEN YUN An extraordinary journey across 5,000 years of Chinese civilisation! With classical Chinese dance, a unique orchestra blending East and West, dazzling costumes and amazing animated backdrops, Shen Yun will transport you to another world. 11 April, 7.30pm & 12 April, 2.00pm & 7.30pm | $50 – $120* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre RNZB: COPPÉLIA The Royal New Zealand Ballet presents Coppélia – a ballet that combines laughter, mystery, romance and the finest classical ballet in a fun-filled spectacle. 28 – 31 May | $25 – $145* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre See Bruce Mason Centre section for more dates



CARL BARRON: A ONE ENDED STICK Carl returns to New Zealand with his acclaimed new show. Get ready for something a little different with Carl's new monologue/ stand-up/ music show. More Troy stories, worms, ants, acid, and being Carl Barron are all explored. 1 March, 8pm | $44.90* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

NZIFF AUTUMN EVENTS: A CLASSIC WEEKEND AT THE CIVIC IN APRIL Astaire. Brando. Hepburn. Herzog. Miyazaki. Orson Welles. NZIFF presents legends of the giant screen this autumn on the magnificent Civic screen. 11 – 13 April | Various The Civic

FRESH OFF DA BLANE The premiere of the latest offering from the Pacific islands’ most-loved (and successful) comedy duo. 8 March, 8pm | $27 – $57* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

AUCKLAND WRITERS FESTIVAL Your chance to see 150 international and New Zealand writers and thinkers as they challenge, inform and provoke at NZ’s largest literary festival. Full programme annnounced on 20 March. 14 – 18 May | Various Aotea Centre and Auckland Art Gallery

NZ INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL Grab your mates and be part of three weeks of massive laughs. Sample from a huge range of hilarious local and international comedians. Enjoy a refreshing night out – you’ll feel awesome! Full details at 24 April – 14 May | Various

See our Rhys Darby story and comedy festival listings on page 7

FAMILY APO 4 KIDS: MAGIC CARPET RIDE An unbeatable and exciting magic carpet ride through the world of music with the APO and the Polkadots. Presented by Porse In-Home Childcare. 29 March, 10am & 11.30am | $15* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

THEATRE BLACK FAGGOT It’s not easy being young, brown and gay – especially when God and your mother are watching. Don’t miss this award-winning show by Samoan–Kiwi playwright Victor Rodger. 4 – 8 March, 8pm | $20 – $25* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre MAMMA MIA! The storytelling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship – every night everyone’s having the time of their lives! 4 – 23 March | $32.00 – $82.50 The Civic MY BED MY UNIVERSE Massive Company, NZTrio and THE EDGE present a genre-busting, eye-opening theatrical event, rooted in the rhythms of everyday life. 2 – 5 April, 7.30pm | $20 – $35* Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall

Booking information

EXHIBITION SPECTRUM BY UNGUARDED INTERSECTION This interactive exhibition utilises aspects of gaming, popular culture and mobile storytelling to draw the audience into the unseen world of communication. 5 March – 6 May | Free Owens Foyer, Aotea Centre BARRY ROSS SMITH – CULTURAL NARRATIVES An art exhibition of New Zealand perspectives. 2 – 30 April | Free Aotea Gallery, Level 4, Aotea Centre CUT AND PASTE BY JENNA GAVIN This interactive exhibition invites you to select words from New Zealand poems. The words will be remixed and a new line of poetry revealed. From 14 May | Free Owens Foyer, Aotea Centre

Book online: Phone: 0800 111 999 or 09 970 9700

Box Office:

MUSIC SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL Live music, free on Fridays in Aotea Square, with performances from Sal Valentine and the Babyshakes, Lisa Crawley, Anna Coddington, Latinaotearoa, Malcolm Lakatani, Fou Nature and DJ Randomplay. 21 February – 28 March | Free Aotea Square BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND THE E STREET BAND After delivering in March 2013 what many critics and fans declared the ‘greatest rock and roll show on earth’, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have announced they are headed down to New Zealand in 2014 for their biggest shows on our shores to date. 1 & 2 March, 5pm Mt Smart Stadium BREL: THE WORDS AND MUSIC OF JACQUES BREL Voted the #1 Best Cultural Experience by Metro in 2012, BREL is a unique interpretation of Jacques Brel’s passionate and timeless anthems of hope, despair and love. 4 March, 8pm | $35 – $65* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall BILL HALEY JR. & THE COMETS The son of the father of rock‘n’roll, Bill Haley Jr, will perform all the classic 50s hits such as Rock Around The Clock and Shake, Rattle & Roll along with The Comets. 26 March, 8pm | $69 – $79* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre THE ROLLING STONES The Rolling Stones return to the road in an exhilarating and critically acclaimed celebration of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood bringing their iconic music and groundbreaking stage shows to audiences around the globe on the 14 On Fire tour! 5 April, 7pm | From $165* Mt Smart Stadium

Level 3, Aotea Centre Monday to Friday, 9am – 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm

JAKE BUGG Jake’s universal critical acclaim and word of mouth is undeniable. Best New Act 2013 Q Awards, nominated Best Album Mercury Prize. Hot ticket – don’t miss! 10 April, 7.30pm | $69 – $79* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall ERYKAH BADU Erykah Badu returns to Auckland for a special one-night-only headline performance. 10 April, 7.30pm | $96.50* The Civic

Natalia Lomeiko


PAUL POTTS The first winner of Britain’s Got Talent returns with a superb new show of classical/crossover hits. Orchestral accompaniment and a featured Kiwi soloist. 19 April, 7.30pm | $79 – $95* The Civic DOOBIE BROTHERS One of the enduring worldwide favourites of the 1970s, the Doobie Brothers will bring their celebrated catalogue of rock music back to Auckland this April! 25 April, 8pm | $99 – $129* The Civic ELVIS COSTELLO & THE IMPOSTERS Elvis Costello and The Imposters will present an incredible night of entertainment taking audiences through a selection of songs from the past, present and future. 27 April, 8pm | $139* The Civic

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON Country Music Hall of Famer, singer, songwriter, Grammy Award winner and actor, American country music legend Kris Kristofferson returns to New Zealand. 30 April, 8pm | $70 – $90* The Civic JAMES BLUNT James Blunt is set to return to Auckland with his full band at The Civic this May. 28 May, 8pm | $95.70* The Civic

Tickets for ALL events sold by Ticketmaster can be purchased at the Aotea Centre Box Office.

*Service/booking fees will be applied when purchasing tickets. All sales are final and there are no refunds or exchanges, except as required by law. Ticket prices include GST. Every effort has been taken to ensure details in LIVE are accurate at time of publication but may be subject to change. Individual companies reserve the right to add, withdraw or substitute artists or vary programmes should the need arise. THE EDGE takes no responsibility for any incorrect event information in this publication.


March – May 2014 CLASSICAL APO: HOME FIRES Newstalk ZB presents the first concert in the Remembering WWI series, celebrating the British composers of the era. Featuring Elgar’s Cello Concerto and Vaughan Williams’ A London Symphony. 13 March, 8pm | $26 – $125* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall SOL3 MIO Selling out shows across the country on their first nationwide tour, Sol3 Mio will play the ASB Theatre on 14 & 15 March. 14 & 15 March, 8pm | $69 – $79* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre CMNZ: KELEMEN QUARTET Hungarian passion. Classical perfection. Contemporary fire. This brilliant young Hungarian quartet, taking Europe by storm, make their exciting debut in New Zealand. 19 March, 8pm (Free pre-concert talk, 7pm) $35 – $70* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

APO: EXOTIC BIRDS In the third concert of the New Zealand Herald Premier Series, the APO presents a programme of music inspired by birdsong. Featuring acclaimed British pianist Joanna MacGregor. 27 March, 8pm | $26 – $125* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

APO: SCOTTISH PROMS Qantas presents a lively night of music with a celebration of Scottish culture. Prepare to cut loose as the APO launches into jigs and reels, as well as some of the best-loved Scottish songs. 10 April, 8pm | $26 – $88* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

APO: MOZART AND ELGAR In the fifth concert of the New Zealand Herald Premier Series, British conductor Paul McCreesh leads the APO through a concert of masterpieces including Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3. 8 May, 8pm | $26 – $125* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

AYO: FOLKLORE Auckland Youth Orchestra presents a concert featuring Brahms, Ligeti, Bartok and Kodály. Conductor: Antun Poljanich. Viola: Alexander McFarlane. 17 May, 7.30pm | Free Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

ROBERT COSTIN: TOWN HALL ORGAN Robert Costin plays the grand Auckland Town Hall Organ in a varied programme of classics: Mendelssohn, Bach, Langlais and Percy Grainger. 14 April, 7.30pm | Donation on exit Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

NZSO: HEAR & FAR In this exciting concert, the best of contemporary NZ music meets the best of contemporary music worldwide. Features the compelling voice of Jonathan Lemalu. 10 May, 7.30pm | $30 – $126* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

APO: UNWRAP MOZART SYMPHONY NO. 40 Join conductor/presenter Graham Abbott and the APO as they present the unusual history and genius of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor. 22 May, 6.30pm | $15 – $25* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

AUCKLAND CHORAL: WAR AND PEACE Auckland Choral presents a poignant Anzac Day programme, featuring Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and a new work by David Hamilton. Conductor Uwe Grodd. 25 April, 5pm | $34 – $89* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

ASO: ROMEO & JULIET A free family concert by Auckland Symphony Orchestra featuring music inspired by Shakespeare (and friends), including Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture, and works by Mendelssohn, Bernstein and more. Peter Thomas conducts. 11 May, 2.30pm | Donations appreciated Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

NZSO: RUSSIAN FIRE Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15, a masterpiece of the Russian repertoire, comes to life in the expert hands of Russian conductor Alexander Lazarev. 24 May, 7.30pm | $30 – $126* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

NEW ZEALAND POPS ORCHESTRA: NOTHING BUT DREAMS Featuring Will Martin; Tina Cross; Suzanne Lynch; Carl Doy; Tayla Alexander; Rita Paczian (Conductor); and Dr Frances Pitsilis (MC) – with hits by Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Moody Blues, Elgar, Carl Doy and more. 27 April, 5pm | $20 – $65* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall APO: SLAVONIC DANCES In the fourth concert of the New Zealand Herald Premier Series, the APO presents a thrilling programme featuring Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances and John Williams’ Five Sacred Trees. 1 May, 8pm | $26 – $125* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

NZSO: VISIONS OF HAPPINESS The rich splendour of the brass section calls out insistently in the opening bars of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. Pietari Inkinen conducts. 4 April, 7pm | $30 – $126* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

APO: THE EMPEROR MEETS BRAHMS Spanish conductor Pablo González opens the Bayleys Great Classics series with a trio of Romantic-era classics by Brahms and Beethoven. Featuring Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, Emperor. 15 May, 7.30pm | $26 – $125* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

CABARET VAGUE DE CIRQUE: CAROUSEL & CLOTHESLINE Eight acclaimed acrobats from Montreal make their New Zealand debut, in a show created by alumni of Cirque du Soleil. This is 2014’s mustsee cabaret performance. 8 – 12 April, 7.30pm | $25 – $35* Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre

Coming up at Bruce Mason Centre

APO: OPEN ORCHESTRA An afternoon of entertainment and musical exploration for all ages. Interact with APO musicians, hear the instruments up close, watch rehearsal and performances and take part in workshops. 29 March, 1.30pm | Free Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall


Rita Paczian

BACH MUSICA: J.S. BACH ST JOHN PASSION A pillar of the classical music repertoire. Conducted by Rita Paczian and featuring: Anna Pierard – soprano; Stephen Diaz – counter-tenor; David Hamilton – tenor; Jared Holt – baritone; and David Griffiths – baritone. 30 March, 5pm | $10 – $65 Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

NEW ZEALAND STRING QUARTET WITH JAMES CAMPBELL Chamber Music New Zealand presents the sublime combination of string quartet and clarinet featuring music from Brahms, Mozart and New Zealand’s The Travelling Portmanteau. 12 May, 8pm (Free pre-concert talk, 7pm) $35 – $65* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

DAME KIRI IN RECITAL Experience the lyrical beauty of one of the world’s great voices, as Dame Kiri, accompanied by renowned pianist Terence Dennis, performs a selection of her favourite arias and songs. 24 May, 7.30pm | $69 – $155* ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

NZSO: WE REMEMBER – MUSIC, MATESHIP & MEMORIES This concert not only marks the commemoration of Anzac Day but also the centenary of World War I. 2 May, 7pm | $30 – $126* Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

THE EMPERORS NEW CLOTHES 25 April – 3 May, 10.30am | $16*

SONGS IN THE KEY OF MOTOWN 21 & 22 March, 8pm | $69.90*



2014 2DEGREES COMEDY CONVOY 20 May, 8pm | $45*


GRUMPY OLD WOMEN – 50 SHADES OF BEIGE 22 May, 7.30pm | $59.90*

PACO PEÑA – FLAMENCURA 15 & 16 April, 8pm | $97.90 – $109.90* APO: MAGIC CARPET RIDE 23 April, 10am & 11.30am | $15*

RNZB: COPPÉLIA 24 & 25 May, 7.30pm | $35 – $85* Book at Ticketmaster for these events.

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Dame Kiri answers questions from fans

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will perform her first hometown concert recital in May. Rather than interview her ourselves, we put out the call for questions from fans – and received some from all around the world. Here is a selection of the questions and Dame Kiri’s answers. Did you ever sing with the late Dame Joan Sutherland and if so, can you please give an insight into the experience? Yes – I first sang with her in 1969 when I was just out of the London Opera Centre. She had visited the Centre, and we were in total awe of her. She and her husband had advised me then that my natural sound was soprano – instead of the mezzo sound I’d been making when I was younger. Their advice really made the turning point which put me towards a career – I’ve been singing soprano ever since. After that 1966 visit, Dame Joan remembered me and invited me to sing a small role in her concert performance of Alcina in the Royal Festival Hall. That was the first major excitement of my setting out after being a student: standing on the stage with the world’s greatest soprano! And then there was more – some time later I sang with Dame Joan (and Angela Lansbury) in the recording of the Beggar’s Opera. Joan was a major super-talent, but she had a great sense of fun and we both enjoyed recording our outrageous ‘Beggars’ duet: “Why how now, Madame Flirt?” She was a wonderful woman – and as a singer, we won’t hear her like again in our lifetime.

What is it like to mean so much to so many people? It’s a responsibility. People often create an image of what another person is like – and if the image doesn’t always match the reality, it can be awkward. But in terms of what a soloist means to an audience – well, the responsibility is to do your level best at all times, to bring them the happy experience they hoped a concert would be – and I take that responsibility very seriously.

“I love fishing almost as much as I love singing” What is your hardest role to perform? Strauss’s Arabella is a joy – the music lies exactly ‘in’ my voice and the Strauss phrasing and orchestration are just a constant pleasure. But it’s not easy. I don’t do the role any more – and I miss that, but much as I loved it, Arabella is a ‘big sing’ and a difficult one.

What is the secret of a good masterclass? Listening. And then, where you think advice is needed, explaining it firmly, but with tact. Don’t destroy someone’s confidence; find a way of pointing out a fault in a way which gives them hope to be able to fix it. Do you subscribe to the idea that dairy affects your singing ability? What do you tend to stay away from on the day of a concert? On concert days I don’t stay away from dairy so much as I stay away from talking. The vocal cords can only stand so much per day, and if in the evening there’s a concert – which might have as many as 18 items in five different languages – then during that day, minimum talking. If you hadnt been blessed with a wonderful voice from early childhood what do you think you would have liked to become? I know it sounds bizarre, but I might have been a commercial fisherman! I love fishing almost as much as I love singing. There’s nothing like being out in a boat and bringing home a catch.

A question about opera costumes. My personal favourite is still the Versace dress from Capriccio. But what is the strangest costume you've ever had to wear in an opera? The Capriccio dress was stunning, but weighed a ton. I think the ‘strangest’ was in my last Rosenkavalier in Germany where the crinoline was over three metres (11 feet) wide – not the easiest to get around in. Looking back on a long and wonderful career, is there anything that you would have done differently? In other words, do you have any regrets? My career was more fulfilling than I ever could have dreamed when I was a junior student in New Zealand... and any regrets I’ve had, I’ve kept to myself.



Te Kanawa In recital with Terence Dennis, Piano

Saturday 24 May, 7.30pm ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre or 0800 111 999

“a deep musical intelligence in a recital that approaches perfection” Sydney Morning Herald




One of the world’s most prolific and widely loved authors is headlining the upcoming Auckland Writers Festival. Here British writer Alexander McCall Smith talks about his latest novel and what the festival experience means to him. By Charles Moxham.


hodesian-born and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, Alexander McCall Smith has excelled in many fields including writing the only book on Botswana law and sitting on several international committees on biogenetics. However, it is his adored books The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and 44 Scotland Street series that have brought him a worldwide following. Speaking to Alexander was a total pleasure – he was engaging and fascinating to listen to, traits that will be quickly appreciated by everyone lucky enough (and quick enough) to get tickets to one of his appearances. In Auckland, in May, the author will be talking about his new book, The Forever Girl. This engaging novel covers a sweep of countries, ages and emotions, held-back or otherwise. Beginning in the tight community of ex-pats on Grand Cayman Island with a child’s undeclared affection for her best friend, the story unravels in Scotland and England as the protagonists grow and attend university there, before the scene changes again, moving to Melbourne and beyond. Alexander says it is a novel about how love shapes our lives. With his grandfather a doctor in the Hokianga in 1913 and two cousins living here Alexander has strong connections to

“It’s fantastic to have direct contact with my readers, and also very interesting meeting fellow participants – you never know what to expect.”

New Zealand and has been here several times. Alexander told me he not only loves the country but also coming to writers and readers festivals generally. “It’s fantastic to have direct contact with my readers, and also very interesting meeting fellow participants – you never know what to expect. At a literary party in Key West at one festival – they can really party in Florida – I met Laurent de Brunhoff, the son of Jean de Brunhoff who wrote the Babar the Elephant series, which I had always adored. Laurent had carried on his father’s series, which has sold over eight million books worldwide. It was a great connection for me.” If you enjoy beautiful writing, charming manners and erudite conversation, then beg, buy or counterfeit a ticket to one of Alexander’s appearances. Festival director Anne O’Brien has been involved in the event since 2011, and says there will be a few surprises this year, including some elements that venture out from between the book covers.

Our own literary wunderkind Eleanor Catton is another early announcement for the Auckland Writers Festival programme. She appeared at the festival last year too, but since then her Man Booker Prize win for The Luminaries has seen her become a household name in New Zealand and an extremely busy person with appearances at international literary festivals and honours galore. We suspect tickets will sell out extremely quickly for any session that features this brilliant author. Make sure you get in fast when tickets go on sale on 20 March. DIGITAL ART LIVE Cut and Paste by Jenna Gavin will be launched at Auckland Writers Festival. This interactive exhibition allows you to select letters from poems to recreate words. Combined together, these words reveal lines to create a surrealist poem on the screen. Check out the exhibition next to Door A of the ASB Theatre.

“Cornelia Funke is another of our star turns for 2014,” says Anne. “The writer of the famous Reckless and Fearless novels has teamed with Mirada Studios – a multi-platform storytelling company in California – to create an app that will expand on her works and let them rise off the page. “There will also be film screenings and musical and theatre events, including the Etherington Brothers who combine comedy and text – darlings of the Edinburgh festival in recent times. John Marzden is another big name released prior to the complete programme reveal – he is popular with young readers and the Australian author has been translated into 11 languages.” Anne says one tip is to buy concession tickets. They can be shared between friends for one speaker, or used for single entry to multiple events and offer considerable savings on admissions. So, are books and reading them still in fashion? A staggering 34,000 people attended the five-day festival last year, a number expected to rise this year. If you like the idea of some of the planet’s most popular and influential writers gathered together at one time, then see you there for a wine, a chat and a celebration of the expressive intellect.

AUCKLAND WRITERS FESTIVAL 14 – 18 May Programme launches 18 March Tickets on sale 20 March





He’s the son of a musical icon, the man who led the transition of popular music in the 1950s from crooner to rock‘n’roll. Now, Bill Haley Jr. is leading his of band of Comets down under to tell stories about the birth of rock‘n’roll and share his father’s greatest hits along the way. By Josie Campbell.


he story goes that Bill Haley and His Comets had the first rock‘n’roll song in the American charts with Crazy Man, Crazy in 1953. A year later, their cover of Shake, Rattle and Roll became a worldwide hit and the first rock‘n’roll song to make the British charts. But it wasn’t until 1955 – when Rock Around The Clock was featured in the film Blackboard Jungle and topped the Billboard charts for eight weeks – that music historians considered the rock‘n’roll genre to have been officially born, which brought a close to the absolute dominance of crooners like Frank Sinatra. Bill Haley Jr. was there – sort of. “I was born probably within days of when Rock Around the Clock went to number one, which was the very, very first number one rock‘n’roll record.” Jumping to the more recent past: Bill is a full-time magazine publisher and hobby musician and has released his very first album of original music. At the release party, he’s recorded performing a cover of Rock Around The Clock, which was then posted on YouTube. Soon after, Bill got the call that set him on the track to what he calls a rock‘n’roll history show which has seen him perform from Las Vegas to a football stadium in Miami. “I go to great lengths to fill in the gaps about how these songs were created and some of the circumstances around not only how they were written, but how they impacted society and some of the obstacles they encountered – resistance from the conservative press and so on.

Paul Potts︐

One Chance


t may be seven years since Paul Potts shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent, but it seems that this tenor has never been busier. His extensive tour of New Zealand begins at The Civic on 19 April, coming hot on the heels of the release of his autobiography One Chance. The singer didn’t just hand his life story over – he convinced the publishers to allow him to dispense with a ghost writer. “I was very determined that I would write the book myself. I worked with an editor, but the words are mine. I’m really happy with it – I still look at it and think ‘I’ve got a book that’s mine’.

“My father was a western-swing cowboy yodelling artist – he kind of started doing this around 1950 and it started happening around the country in 1953/54; so he was really the guy out there doing it first. The feeling was that if anyone could tell this story, I probably could. And also I love his music and I can sing just like my father – I sound like him when I sing; so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do it. It’s snowballed into a second career for me and a mission to share this wonderful music.” Bill says that the fun part of touring is getting to hear other people’s stories about the music – whether from when they were teenagers when it was released, or when it came back into prominence. Rock Around The Clock, for example, featured in the 1973 classic film American Graffiti and is as synonymous with Happy Days as The Fonz’s thumbs. “The kids wanted music that was happy, upbeat, fun, the lyrics were simple and I think that formula still works today.”

BILL HALEY JR. & THE COMETS 26 March | ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

A film of the same name was released late last year, starring James Corden and directed by David Frankel, who helmed The Devil Wears Prada and Marley and Me. The singer was heavily involved in the film too, hitting the studio to voice songs for the film – with the added challenge of timing his vocals to James Corden’s lip movements. The tour will see Paul sing alongside an orchestra, and will also feature a New Zealand singing star – who is yet to be revealed. The programme is still in development but, along with a medley or two, “there’ll be stuff from all the albums I’ve recorded, and I don’t think I’d get away without singing Nessun Dorma. “I love what I do, and being able to do what I love is a dream come true for anyone. Seven years on, I’m still loving what I do and I’m really looking forward to coming back to New Zealand.”


19 April | The Civc


ASTAIRE. BRANDO. AUDREY HEPBURN. HERZOG. MIYAZAKI. ORSON WELLES. NZIFF presents legends of the giant screen this Autumn

Book now at © 2013 – GNDHDDTK



MiG rules the Annie roost Musical theatre star MiG Ayesa is in the middle of one of those only-in-New-York experiences: he’s being shooed out of the building by an over-zealous security guard, unimpressed with him talking on a phone in a quiet space. By Bronwyn Bent.


iG is out on the street. “I’m talking to New Zealand!” he protests in vain. “I’m here in minus 20 weather... at least you know you’re alive!” Luckily he is recently returned from plentiful sun in his native Philippines, so a little cold is bearable. MiG is a platinum-class frequent flyer; last year he toured extensively as the lead in the 10th anniversary production of We Will Rock You, and he’s about to pack his bags again to appear here as the “slimy, nasty” Rooster Hannigan in Annie. This will be MiG’s second time stalking the stage of The Civic, having starred in We Will Rock You in 2007, which he describes as “one of the great moments of my career. The response from the audience, and being in Auckland, was just phenomenal. So the chance to come back again, I jumped at it.”

“There’s a lot of talent in New Zealand and I’m sure we’ll find the perfect girls for Annie. And the perfect dog.” Since we last saw him, his career has been rocketing ahead; he modestly refers to being “in a couple of shows on Broadway”, (he actually played the lead in Rock of Ages); he’s also released a second solo album, and

has branched out into presenting a TV travel show. “I’m just lucky I can keep working, and keep working on really exciting projects.” One of the exciting aspects of Annie is the unknown, in the form of some of his costars: “It’s all about the animals and children. We’re just the bit players; they’re the real stars. They’ll be scouring every last corner to find the perfect Annie, and the perfect dog, and I think that’s going to be an absolutely fascinating process. How do you audition a dog? ‘Well you look good, but let’s see how you tap.’ ‘You’re good, but we’re looking for someone older.’ “There’s a lot of talent in New Zealand and I’m sure we’ll find the perfect girls for Annie. And the perfect dog.” The Aussie in him can’t resist an ages-old joke though: “Maybe we’ll turn Sandy into a sheep.” Sheep jokes aside, MiG also plans to imbue his Rooster with a sense of fun: “Rooster’s a really cool part. The nastiness comes with the songs, and the lines, but I think what’s good about him is that he has a sense of fun too, and I’d love to bring that out.” Last year he saw the Broadway production of Annie, thanks to friend and fellow Australian musical theatre star Anthony Warlow, and “absolutely loved it”. However, he’s confident that Auckland audiences are in for a treat: “I think our production is going to be even better.”


13 – 29 June | The Civic

There’s something for everyone this autumn with the APO. NEWSTALK ZB PRESENTS: REMEMBERING WWI

Home Fires

8pm, Thursday 13 March Auckland Town Hall


Slavonic Dances

8pm Thursday 1 May Auckland Town Hall



Scottish Proms

Mozart and Elgar

8pm, Thursday 10 April

8pm, Thursday 8 May

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

Auckland Town Hall

Book at or call 0800 111 999 / 09 970 9700* Or subscribe at * Service fees apply





28 August – 20 September Silo brings suspense to Herald Theatre with Amy Herzog’s latest thriller that got rave reviews at Chicago’s Steppenwolf last year. Directed by Oliver Driver and featuring Sophie Henderson and Matt Whelan, Belleville will be your only chance to see Silo at Herald Theatre this year, and a play not to miss.



Royal New Zealand Ballet brings us five short ballets by international choreographers, including two works by Larry Keigwin, whose Final Dress was an absolute sensation at part of 2012’s NYC. Allegro also features the choreography of George Balanchne, Johan Kobborg and a brand new work by Daniel Belton.

Kate Cherry, director of last year’s stunning New Zealand Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly returns with lighting designer Matt Scott for what promises to be a lavish production of Giuseppe Verdi’s classic. La Traviata is the mostperformed opera in the world with a score featuring many instantlyrecognisable tunes.

30 July – 2 August

19 – 29 June



Fifty years ago to the day, The Beatles played Auckland Town Hall. If you were there, or if you wished you were, you can see The Beatle Boys’ recreation of the concert as part of a huge anniversary tour. We’re talking the same costumes, venues, songs and excitement!

The music you know from the films, performed by the APO and singers led by host Tim Beveridge. A superb night out for music lovers and film buffs and we pick it as a great date night, especially if you want to introduce someone to an orchestral concert!

27 June

21 August


LIVE March - May 2014  

Live arts and entertainment in Auckland, featuring Mamma Mia, Rhys Darby, Alexander McCall Smith and more.

LIVE March - May 2014  

Live arts and entertainment in Auckland, featuring Mamma Mia, Rhys Darby, Alexander McCall Smith and more.