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AAF returns in March, first events announced

28 Sep 2022
AAF returns in March, first events announced

AAF returns in March, first events announced

We’re back! Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki | Auckland Arts Festival (AAF) has today announced our first events in the 2023 programme.

After three disrupted years, we’ll return in March, with a spring in our step and an exciting line-up of local and international work. This first announcement includes three unique works from leading New Zealand artists and organisations – and within them three world premieres – which were forced to cancel in 2022.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will perform the world premiere of Victoria Kelly’s Requiem, New Zealand Opera will bring the highly-anticipated comic opera The Unruly Tourists to stage, and Whirimako Black MNZM (Ngāi Tūhoe) will deliver a star-studded team of New Zealand musicians for one night only in He Kete Waiata.

Poignantly shaped around poetry by Bill Manhire, Sam Hunt, Chloe Honum, Ian Wedde, and James K Baxter, and inspired by the visual language of photographer Anne Noble, the much-awaited world premiere of Requiem, from award-winning composer Victoria Kelly, explores one of the most ancient musical forms and takes it to new secular and spiritual heights. 

In contemplating our existence, the natural world, and feelings of wonder, loss, longing, desire, and surrender, Kelly has created a rare orchestral and choral work of great beauty and power featuring internationally renowned tenor Simon O’Neill ONZM alongside early music specialist soprano Jayne Tankersley, conducted by Vincent Hardaker and with Choirmaster David Squire.

Within the same concert, we will also be unveiling a second, highly-anticipated world premiere: Ātahu, a work for taonga puoro quartet Maianginui and orchestra by the incomparable poet, composer and musician Ruby Solly.

These two debuts will be complemented by performances of Debussy’s Nocturnes and one of Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’. We can’t wait for this concert – it’ll definitely be a highlight of the Festival.

New Zealand Opera’s highly anticipated comic opera The Unruly Tourists has captured the imaginations of New Zealanders, and will at last make it to the stage. This genre-defying comedy, written by the award-winning duo of Livi Reihana and Amanda Kennedy (The Fan Brigade) and composed by Luke Di Somma, will bring together seasoned professionals including Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Andrew Grainger and Morag Atchison alongside new and exciting young performers Ebony Andrew, Tayla Alexander and William Kelly.

Another world premiere, The Unruly Tourists will be presented by New Zealand Opera and Auckland Arts Festival at the Bruce Mason Centre, in Takapuna where it all began.

Closing the Festival in true style we’ll have Whirimako Black MNZM (Ngāi Tūhoe), one of our country’s most exceptional singers, performing for one night only in He Kete Waiata. Joining this legend onstage are bilingual vocal stars Allana Goldsmith (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tai ki Tōrere) and Leon Wharekura (Ngaati Mahuta, Ngaati Whaawhaakia, Waikato) with Dixon Nacey (Mangaia, Rarotonga), musical director extraordinaire.

Multi-award-winner Whirimako Black MNZM (Ngāi Tūhoe) brings her “spirit, passion, confidence” (Scoop) with dynamic performance energy and dulcet tones, performing original material as well as jazz standards in both te reo Māori and English. Rich and versatile sounds of soul, jazz, and more abound in this roof-lifting music spectacular at Auckland’s Town Hall.

Our Artistic Director Shona McCullagh says, “We are gearing up with much excitement to celebrate the return of our in person Festival in March 2023 and I’m so proud to be able to give you a taste of the programme now, which will be revealed in full in November. These world premieres involve some of New Zealand’s finest artists and arts organisations, all of whom have shown huge courage and resilience over the past three years. We can’t wait to share these live works with the people of Aotearoa and beyond”.

Keep your eyes peeled – our full AAF programme will be announced in November.


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