Breathtaking lineup of acts
A head of programming at Sydney Opera House for 13 years, Manawatu-born Jonathan Bielski, has drawn on international contacts to bring several largescale exhibitions and events to New Zealand.
In the visual arts, Manifesto, an Australian-German film installation with actor Cate Blanchett in different roles, will play at Auckland Art Gallery.
Bielski has persuaded the English National Ballet to bring its production of Giselle out of Britain for the first time. It will be an entree to the festival, playing at the Aotea Centre’s ASB Theatre on March 1-4.
Renowned Canadian theatremaker Robert Lepage also returns. His Far Side of the Moon, with a soundtrack by Laurie Anderson, makes its Auckland debut while German composer Max Richter’s eight-hour-concert, Sleep, where the audience spends the night listening to 31 uninterrupted pieces of classical and electronic music, comes south.
Sleep is part of The Richter Residency, a trilogy of the composer’s works in the festival. It also comprises Recomposed, his adaptation of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which will be performed by the APO, and a workshop with local students.
The festival has already announced the British touring production of George Orwell’s 1984 will run for its duration.
Bielski has also ensured local acts and artists are well represented.
NZ’s first Kiwi/Sri Lankan theatre-maker Ahi Karunaharan’s Tea is described as a journey into a tea plantation and the stories in its landscape; artist Tiffany Singh, one of the recipients of a 2017 Arts Foundation New Generation award, will design the set.
Playwright Hone Kouka’s newest work, Bless the Child, looks at the consequences of violence against children and will be performed at the Auckland festival and the NZ Festival in Wellington.
Feminist theatre-makers Eleanor Bishop and Julia Croft continue to explore the impact of the male gaze on female sexuality in their latest show, Body Double.
On Saturday, the Weekend Herald announced The Naked Samoans Do Magic, which brings together the comedy troupe behind Sione’s Wedding and bro’Town and Wellington theatre company The Conch, for “The Nakeds’” 20th anniversary.
Dance fans will be pleased by choreographer Michael Parmenter’s first full contemporary dance work in a decade, OrphEus - a dance opera, and the Royal NZ Ballet’s The Piano — The Ballet, a dance version of the classic NZ film.
The festival commemorates the late Mahinarangi Tocker, a champion of Maori music, gay rights and mental health who wrote more than 1000 songs. Anika Moa, Annie Crummer, Shona Liang, Nadia Reid and Emma Paki are among those performing a selection of Tocker’s songs in Love Me As I Am. Moa also tours her family show Chop Chop Hiyaa!