Today in New Zealand International Arts Festival history: Schools Tour (2004), Parsifal (2006), La Vie & Festival Setup (2008)
Almost there - only one day left of this look back at the New Zealand Festival over the past decade or so. Of course, the Festivals we're looking back at were winding up too, so today we've got more people than shows, as naturally there were fewer & fewer rehearsals for me to attend & photograph as the shows came to an end.
In 2004, Technical Director Ian Nicholls was leading a group of students around the venues and back to the Festival office, and I happened to catch up with him there as he introduced them to some of the paperwork involved in being ready when a show arrives - lighting plans, technical lists, and so on. Ian's a great guy, and has possibly worked on every Festival since they started in 1988. (It wouldn't surprise me, anyway!)
2006 saw a semi-staged production of Wagner's Parsifal, which of course (being 5h long) I couldn't cover all of; but the parts I did see were great, and featured some of the best of New Zealand's opera talent, brought back from all over the world. It was rare enough to have tenor Simon O'Neill in town, but to have great Wagnerian bass-baritone Sir Donald MacIntyre performing was a treat indeed. Margaret Medlyn, Paul Whelan, Martin Snell, Jenny Wollerman and Madeleine Pierard also appeared.
One of the final shows of the Festival in 2008 was La Vie, from Les Sept Doigts De La Main from Montreal. Well, when I say final, it had been on for a while, but I was only able to get there in the last couple of days - which is a shame, because it was great! Not that they needed my help to sell tickets, mind you - word had got out early about that one...
And to wrap up today, we've got a few images from around the St James Theatre in '08: front of house before an afternoon show, I ran into Festival Director Lissa Twomey chatting with Deirdre Tarrant from Footnote Dance, and CEO Dave Inns, both looking pretty relaxed now that they'd nearly made it through another one. Backstage, venue manager Jenn Ryan was into a serious game of foosball with the crew, and who should I find but Ian Nicholls again - now working for the venue.
And last but not least, a quick glimpse of the autographs in the elevator of the St James - and there's The Overcoat again...!