New music and drama and some antique art in Auckland

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir
Auckland Town Hall
April 19

A new work by New Zealand composer Ross Harris will receive its world premiere with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra next week at the Auckland Town Hall. The work, Face, looks at the emotional and physical scars of war and the men who sought to repair them

Harris’ new composition for orchestra and voices draws on the pioneering work of New Zealand surgeon Harold Gillies and his team, who developed radical new plastic surgery and skin grafting techniques to treat World War I soldiers. The piece is an international co-commission with the APO and BBC Symphony Orchestra in the UK and, following its worldwide premiere in Auckland, it will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican in London on April 28.

Harris has collaborated with poet Vincent O’Sullivan for the text to accompany his score, which features a trio of soloists: a soldier whose face has been destroyed in the war, his fiancée, and the surgeon who operates on him. Soloists for the Auckland premiere are Australian tenor Henry Choo, Australian soprano Allison Bell, and New Zealand-Samoan bass-baritone Joel Amosa. The work also features a chorus, sung by Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and directed by Dr Karen Grylls.

Also on the programme are Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Mrs Warren’s Profession by Sir George Bernard Shaw.
Adapted and directed 
by Eleanor Bishop
Auckland Theatre Company
ASB Waterfront Theatre
May 1-16

Written in 1893, George Bernard Shaw’s play, Mrs Warren’s Profession, was originally banned by the censors for its subject matter and the hypocrisies it exposed. What continues to shock is how old taboos stay topical and how little things have changed. Many of the themes in the play are still relevant more than 100 years after it was written including identification of female roles in society and morality. They were themes that related to Shaw’s interest in socialism, which in turn reflect contemporary changes in society.

Eleanor Bishop (Body Double, BOYS, Jane Doe) who has recently returned from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she completed her masters in directing at the Carnegie Mellon Institute will be taking a contemporary look at questions of sexuality and empowerment as she directs Shaw’s rarely performed classic.

The story follows Vivie who has recently graduated from Cambridge University and has returned home to New Zealand, determined to make it in a top law firm.

When she finds out her mother has been a sex worker, she is forced to question all her assumptions about women, power and making money.

“This will by no means be a traditional telling of Mrs Warren’s Profession. Sex work has been decriminalised in New Zealand since 2003 but we very rarely get to hear from sex workers themselves," Ms Bishop says. "In this production, Liz, Mrs Warren's sister, is played by writer/performer/sex worker Hadassah Grace who wrote from her personal experience during the Chiefs' stripper scandal of 2016.”

Jennifer Ward-Lealand (Lysistrata, Rupert) will lead the cast along with Stephan Lovatt (Billy Elliot the Musical, Macbeth), Cameron Rhodes (Lord of the Rings, Lysistrata) and Jack Buchanan (When Sun & Moon Collide, Jekyll & Hyde). They will be joined by Karin McCracken (Body Double, Jane Doe) and Twanda Manyimo (Ghost in the Shell, Meg) and Hadassah Grace who will be making their ASB Waterfront Theatre debuts.

Designer Tracy Grant Lord (Billy Elliot the Musical, Guys & Dolls) will use her signature sophisticated aesthetic to paint the picture of the upper-class bourgeoisie in New Zealand’s Coromandel, bringing the world of Shaw’s classic into 2018.

Classical Sculpture From The Ancient World
Tim Melville Gallery
April 18–25

The Tim Melville Gallery will be displaying several pieces of classical sculpture from Rome Greece and China

The exhibition is being presented by Antiquarius, a specialist dealer in classical antiquities of the ancient world and coins of ancient Rome and Greece.

Included in the show is a Roman marble portrait head of emperor Hadrian, from the late Hadrianic Period ($140,000), a Roman marble reclining Hercules from the first to second century CE ($110,000), a

Greek Chalcidian-type bronze helmet from the fifth century BCE ($36,000)and a Chinese Han horse created between 200 BCE and  200 CE ($28,000).