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2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival

First Events Announced For 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival

A fusion of dance celebrating George Gershwin’s music, a play with no words set to a soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel, Mahler’s orchestral masterpiece ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ and leading British writer and historian Simon Schama are the first events to be announced for the 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival to be held in February and March next year.

World-renowned Russian conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy will lead the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and some of the world’s finest soloists for an epic performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 8 ‘Symphony of a Thousand’; from Latvia comes the innovative New Riga Theatre with The Sound of Silence – a play without words set to the soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel; French dance company Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu makes its first visit to New Zealand with Good Morning, Mr. Gershwin; while leading British writer, historian and television presenter Simon Schama headlines New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week.

Season tickets go on sale today for the 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival which takes place in Wellington from 26 February to 21 March.
In making today’s preview announcement, artistic director Lissa Twomey says the 2010 Festival programme looks to the past while continuing to explore innovative art forms of the future.
“We’re bringing the best possible works and the best artists to New Zealand to connect with, engage and entertain the widest possible audiences,” Ms Twomey says. “I’m excited about the wealth of experiences we have in store for 2010 and I’m delighted to now be able to share a few Festival gems.”

Mahler Symphony No 8
2010 marks 100 years since the premiere of Mahler’s Symphony No 8, dubbed ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ due to its vast instrumental force. Opening the 2010 Festival, this monumental work, Mahler Symphony No 8, will be performed by the NZSO with two large mixed choirs, a children’s chorus, organ, off-stage brass and eight leading vocal soloists.
“Mahler 8 is a remarkable work of redemptive power and one of the greatest musical experiences of our time,” Ms Twomey says. “We’re absolutely thrilled to bring one of the world’s most renowned and revered artists to New Zealand to conduct this work. It will be a wonderful celebratory start to the Festival.”
The vocal soloists feature New Zealanders Simon O’Neill (tenor) and Martin Snell (bass) together with sopranos Annalena Persson (Sweden), Russia’s Marina Shaguch and Australian Sara Macliver; altos Dagmar Peckova from the Czech Republic and Bernadette Cullen (Australia) and German baritone Markus Eiche.

The Sound of Silence
Set to a soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel hits and staged by award-winning director Alvis Hermanis, New Riga Theater’s The Sound of Silence brings to life the idealism and heady romance of the 1960s.
The Sound of Silence weaves together the experiences of 14 young Latvians as they discover the intricacies of life and love in the aftermath of the cancellation of a Simon and Garfunkel concert. The production has won numerous awards including the Grand Prix at the 18th International Theatre Festival in Poland held in May this year.
“The Sound of Silence is a journey back in time,” says Ms Twomey. “It’s funny, colourful and exuberant, but it’s also mischevious and poetic.”

Good Morning, Mr. Gershwin
Fusing hip-hop, ballet and tap-dance against a backdrop of immense and emotive video imagery, Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu’s Good Morning, Mr. Gershwin pays tribute to American composer George Gershwin.
In the first half, dancers bring to life the glamour of the 20s and 30s as they take an exuberant frolic through some of Gershwin’s most well-known Broadway classics; while the second half draws on the music of Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess and features some of the composer’s most popular hits including Summertime and It Ain’t Necessarily So.
“I’m looking forward to welcoming Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu to New Zealand for the first time. They’ve been to Australia before, but despite previous efforts have never made it here,” Ms Twomey says. “It’s hard not to like this company, who blend ballet with contemporary street dance and acrobatic styles with video to popular and magical effect.”

Simon Schama
New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week runs from 9-14 March presenting a programme of remarkable writers and thinkers from around the world and headlining the programme will be renowned British writer, historian and art critic Simon Schama.

Currently an art and cultural critic for the New Yorker Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University, Simon Schama is a multi award-winning writer and is best known for writing and hosting the 15-part BBC documentary series A History of Britain. His impassioned account of the American Revolution in Rough Crossing won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction in 2007 and his other award-winning books include Citizens: Rembrandt’s Eyes and the History of Britain trilogy.

These events are just a glimpse of what’s in store for the 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival programme of music, theatre, dance, performance, visual arts and literature which will be staged from 26 February to 21 March 2010 in Wellington. The full programme will be announced on Tuesday 3 November. The 2010 New Zealand International Arts Festival is proudly supported by Gold sponsorship partners TV3, New Zealand Post, Pacific Blue and Clemenger BBDO.
Season tickets for the Festival are on sale from today for dedicated arts enthusiasts to be able to secure priority access to the hottest tickets of the Festival. Season tickets and Friends of the Festival memberships can be purchased online at


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