Picking the top six at next year's NZ Festival

Artistic director Shelagh Magadza, who has been largely responsible for next year’s New Zealand Festival, says the 2018 programme looks to the future – inviting audiences to explore ground-breaking arts experiences made by some of the world’s most inventive artists. These are her top six picks for the festival.

Theatre: Betroffenheit
"Betroffenheit is one of those ultimate festival experiences that has the potential to leave audiences transformed. A collaboration between theatre-maker Jonathan Young and leading contemporary choreographer Crystal Pite, this dance-theatre hybrid is a stunning, surprising meditation on grief that finds its way toward hope and comfort."

Music: Anne Sofie von Otter  

"I’m very much looking forward to Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sofie’s concert with the NZ Symphony Orchestra at the Michael Fowler Centre. With a focus on her favourites from Schubert lieder, Anne Sofie will be as spellbinding as ever in this one-off performance conducted by Benjamin Northey." 

Dance: Swan Lake
"This is Swan Lake but not as you know it. In this version Irish choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan inverts this most traditional of ballets, by placing the action in an Irish midland setting and using dance, song and live music to express its themes. It is one of the most moving moments in the theatre I’ve had in a long time. Festivalgoers already know Keegan-Dolan from Rian in 2014 and Giselle in 2008 so he has something of a following in New Zealand already."  

Spectacle: A Waka Odyssey
"We’re opening the 2018 Festival with a mass assembly of waka hourua (twin-hulled ocean-going waka) on Wellington Harbour at dusk on February 23. Tens of thousands of people are expected on the waterfront as waka descend on our beautiful harbour in a choreographed arrangement. Complemented on land by actors, choirs, kapa haka groups and the performance of a new haka for Wellington, A Waka Odyssey promises to be a poignant celebration of our Pacific legacy. Its themes of journeying, home and place also anticipate themes that resonate through the broader 2018 festival programme." 

Visual arts: This is New Zealand at City Gallery

"This is New Zealand is a series of works that have all been shown internationally at the Venice Biennale, world fairs and other diplomatic contexts. Featuring work by Michael Stevenson, Michael Parekowhai, Simon Denny, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith and Gavin Hipkins, the exhibition interrogates our “national identity” and Aotearoa’s place in the world." 

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