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Stunning Preview of MAU's Latest Before Vienna

Media Release
For immediate release
30 August 2006

Lemi Ponifasio and MAU preview their new work REQUIEM
before it’s World Premiere in Vienna for Mozart’s 250th Anniversary,
SKYCITY Theatre, September 15-17.

REQUIEM has been commissioned by celebrated director Peter Sellars as part of the New Crowned Hope Festival- a specially created festival supported by the city of Vienna and produced by the Vienna Festival to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of Mozart.

Inspired by the profound humanity of Mozart’s work, Sellars has conceived and curated the New Crowned Hope Festival, commissioning a variety of international contemporary artists who are known for making new work by creatively engaging with the cultural, intellectual and social issues of today.

The Festival will pose the question: “How would Mozart compose today?” The answer will be explored through a programme of world premiere performances including music, theatre, dance, concerts, films, exhibitions, architecture and social projects.

The uncompromising and controversial work of esteemed choreographer Lemi Ponifasio brings an overwhelming response to the visionary themes of Mozart’s last years: magic and transformation, truth and reconciliation, and ceremony for the dead.

Ponifasio refers to REQUIEM as a pilgrimage of hope. It echoes the march of Dame Whina Cooper and the history of social negotiations in New Zealand and the Pacific. With his company MAU, Ponifasio has chosen to collaborate with people from some of the smallest islands of the Pacific inviting people from islands such as Kiribati to be part of REQUIEM as a cultural and symbolic act of ‘hearing from everyone’.

REQUIEM is created from Pacific rites of farewelling the dead, of remembrance, and of greeting the ancestors. REQUIEM is composed of ancient ancestral chants, oratory, incantation, songs of love, songs of lamentation, songs of wandering, songs of joy, songs of the navigators and songs of the frigate bird.

‘The dead shall be at the surface of the world. We shall encounter the most horrible, the most beautiful and the most wondrous creatures that return to us and within us. Requiem is to be alive- more beautifully,’ says Ponifasio.

Ponifasio’s unique theatre work is urgent and prophetic. It goes beyond the disciplines of theatre, dance and culture. Ponifasio is applauded overseas and at home for his uncompromising vision and integrity. It is with daring originality that Ponifasio leads us to where others are afraid to go.

Ponifasio has presented his work at major arts events such as the Venice Biennale, Theatre Der Welt, Holland Festival and the Adelaide Festival.

REQUIEM will premiere in Vienna November 25 - 28 and will then be presented at the Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) in Brussels, Belgium,
December 2 -3.

NB: Mozart’s Requiem Mass
Mozart wrote the Requiem in 1791. It was Mozart's last composition and is also perhaps one of his most powerful and recognised works, not only for its music, but also its obscure composition and history as there has always been debate surrounding the work as to how much of the music Mozart managed to complete before his death, and how much was later composed by his friend and pupil Franz Xaver Sussmayr. Despite this, however, Requiem has certainly taken a prominent place among the canon of Mozart's most iconic works.

Bookings: Ticketek
Ph: 09 307 5000
Tickets: $29 - $45


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