The central North Island’s Opus Orchestra will perform two delightful, short concerts in Hamilton, Rotorua and Tauranga in February and March.
Opening at Hamilton Gardens’ Arts Festival on 28 February, the Opus Orchestra – the professional orchestra for Waikato and the Bay of Plenty – will then perform the same concert in Rotorua on 6 March and Tauranga on 7 March.
The programme begins with an hour of Margaret Mahy magic for kids and their big people. That is followed by a cocktail-hour encounter featuring work by some of New Zealand’s foremost composers, Ross Harris, Gareth Farr and Martin Lodge – all of whom will be in attendance in each location.
Mahy Magic is an early-afternoon programme made up of poems and stories by the beloved New Zealand writer, set to music by award-winning composer and author Philip Norman. Flingamingo Tango, The Tin Can Band, The Lion in the Meadow, The Man from the Land of Fandango and Wonderful Me are just a few of the wonderful Mahy works Norman has delightfully brought to life through original compositions. In all three locations, young people and lovers of Mahy’s incomparable imagination will be engaged and entertained through narrative and interactive performances by Georgia Jamieson Emms and Robert Tucker.
Classical soprano Georgia Jamieson Emms grew up in Featherston, trained in New Zealand, has performed with the likes of New Zealand Opera, and has also lived and worked in Germany.
Opera fans would have perhaps seen Baritone Robert Tucker most recently in the highly regarded New Zealand Opera production of Eight Songs for a Mad King at the Auckland and New Zealand Festivals earlier this year, and more recently in Christchurch. Robert completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Otago in 2004 and spent time living in Australia and the UK before returning to New Zealand in 2012. He was an Emerging Performer at the Australian Opera Studio in 2005 and is a current Freemasons Opera Scholar with New Zealand Opera.
Made for Opus: Composer Encounters is a one-hour, early-evening concert in which audience members have the chance to interact with some of New Zealand’s most respected composers and the musicians of Opus Orchestra. Each composer will introduce their work, then, following the performances, the audience is invited to stay on for a Q&A session with them.
The Made for Opus: Composer Encounters programme includes Ross Harris’ Three Pieces for Orchestra, each inspired by a European composer - Mahler’s Vienna, Wagner’s Lucerne, and Schumann’s Düsseldorf. Martin Lodge’s Pan Dreaming will feature Agnes Harmath on flute. Finally, Gareth Farr’s Marimba Concerto – which was written for Opus Orchestra in 2019 – will be performed with Tauranga local Yoshiko Tsuruta on marimba.
Arts laureate Ross Harris is one of New Zealand’s leading composers. He has written more than two hundred compositions including opera, symphonic music, chamber music, klezmer and electronic music. He has been a finalist in the prestigious SOUNZ Contemporary Award more times than any other New Zealand composer and won the award four times.
Gareth Farr is a leading composer of contemporary music in New Zealand. Also an accomplished percussionist, Gareth’s music has been performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia and the NZ String Quartet, among others, and he has composed for ballet, theatre, contemporary dance, and TV.
Tauranga-born Martin Lodge is a New Zealand composer known for his eclectic and individual style.
He has received commissions from the major performance ensembles in New Zealand including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Ogen Trio and the New Zealand Chamber Soloists, as well as from leading performers across the world.
Tickets for all concerts are on sale now.