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the World with the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’

New Zealand’s International Arts Festival Welcomes the World with the ‘Symphony of a Thousand’

The opening of New Zealand’s International Arts Festival on February 26 will gather together one of New Zealand’s largest ever orchestral and choral polyphonies for Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 lead by world renowned conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Often referred to as Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand, Ashkenazy will bring the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra together with the Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir, New Zealand Youth Choir, Christchurch City Choir, Orpheus Choir of Wellington, and the Choristers of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.

“Nothing can prepare you for the experience of Mahler’s monumental 8th Symphony.

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To have the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy mark the 100th anniversary of this epic work, with a live relay free to audiences in Civic Square is an extraordinary opening to the Festival,” says Lissa Twomey, Artistic Director of the New Zealand International Arts Festival.

This performance features eight of the world’s best solo vocalists: sopranos Annalena Persson, Marina Shaguch and Sara Macliver; with mezzos Dagmar Peckova and Bernadette Cullen, tenor Simon O’Neill, baritone Markus Eiche and bass Martin Snell.

“This is a performance everyone can enjoy to celebrate the opening night of the Festival. There will be a live relay of the performance on a giant screen in Wellington’s Civic Square that people can watch for free,” says Executive Director Sue Paterson.

The redemptive power of human love is the message of Mahler’s magnum opus that blends sacred and secular texts with orchestra, soloists and choirs, as well as an organ and a brass section located offstage.

Mahler himself said, “All the rest of my works are no more than introductions. I have never written anything like it”.

This Mahler Symphony No. 8 performance at 8pm on 26 February is sponsored by Lexus New Zealand. The live relay into Wellington’s Civic Square is supported by Pub Charity.

WHEN: 26 February

WHERE: Michael Fowler Centre


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