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Sir Michael Tippett's A Child Of Our Time

Media release

EMBARGOED UNTIL 6.30pm, 25 September 2014.


Date Saturday March 21, 2015

Venue Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Conductor - Eckehard Stier

Soprano – Indra Thomas

Alto – Victoria Simmonds

Tenor – Nicky Spence

Bass – Derek Welton

Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir

New Zealand Youth Choir


Auckland Arts Festival is delighted to announce the unique anti-war oratorio, A Child Of Our Time, in the Auckland Arts Festival 2015.

Debuting in 1944, A Child Of Our Time is a moving response to a Jewish boy’s desperate murder of a German official in Paris, which triggered the Kristallnacht pogroms across Germany.

Sharing in the public horror the pogroms aroused, pacifist and conscientious objector Sir Michael Tippett decided he had to respond with a composition which, as it turned out, was to be his first major public statement as an artist, and one that is now performed all over the world.

Shifting from shadow into light, A Child Of Our Time’s wide-ranging musical narrative begins with images of despair and violence and ends by recognising human resilience and our universal capacity for compassion.

Using Handel’s heart-soaring Messiah as the basis for the oratorio’s structure, Tippett’s famous twist is the inclusion of five remarkably arranged spirituals, inspired by the chorale harmonies in Bach’s Passions, which boldly reinforce the plight of persecuted peoples worldwide.

Auckland Arts Festival artistic director, Carla van Zon, says more than seventy years since its conception, the power and the immediacy of the music and the message remain.

A Child Of Our Time is an astonishing live concert experience, combining a full orchestra, a one hundred-plus strong choir and four soloists,” says van Zon.

“Sir Michael Tippett was one of the great composers of the 20th century,” she says.

“It’s exciting that we are able to secure the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, the New Zealand Youth Choir and four international soloists to perform his masterpiece for Festival audiences.”

The APO's manager of artistic planning, Ronan Tighe, says he’s looking forward to the performance of the rarely heard oratio.

“It is an intensely demanding work, but also an exciting challenge,” says Tighe.

“The music brings the text to life and will take everybody on a really touching journey, so I know it will be a deeply moving experience for concertgoers and performers alike.”

Auckland Arts Festival 2015, which runs 4 – 22 March across the Auckland region, is Carla van Zon’s second season as Artistic Director.

Last year the event broke audience records, and was voted Metro magazine’s Event of the Year.

“A Child of Our Time will perfectly complement and contribute to the new programme that will thrill arts lovers and embrace the diversity, dynamism and spirit of New Zealand’s largest city,” says van Zon.

Also part of the 2015 Festival programme is a special concert by the APO’s composer-in-residence Kenneth Young. - Water And Light. The piece expresses our relationship with the environment, particularly water, and features visuals by multi-media artist Tim Gruchy.

The full Auckland Arts Festival 2015 programme will be announced on October 23, 2014.
SEASON DETAILS Show A Child Of Our Time
Where Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall
When Saturday March 21, 2015
Duration Approx one hour, six minutes.

A Child Of Our Time is preceded by Arvo Pärt’s Silouan’s Song and Messiaen’s Hymne.
Price Deluxe $125; Friend/Conc/Group/APO subscriber $113; Premier $105; Friend/Conc/Group/APO subscriber $95

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