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Utterly Spellbinding

Jenny McLeod's new opera 'Hohepa',
reviewed by HOWARD SMITH


Scarcely a month after war in Europe ended with the Germans' surrender in Berlin (1945), opera in England experienced a quantum leap with the world premiere of Peter Grimes at Sadler's Wells in London.

Much the same happened in Wellington Opera House on Thursday 15 March 2012 as music-lovers encountered a progressive 'sea-change' with the NBR New Zealand Opera launch of Jenny Mcleod's dramatic Hohepa, a revolutionary dramatic opera twelve years in the making.

Hohepa te Umuroa (early 1820s-1847) was a member of Ngati Hau of Te Ati who became a political prisoner. The opera presents a polemic story of New Zealand's nineteenth century settlers and their irresolute interaction with indigenous Maori peoples in Hutt River Valley, beside the upper Wanganui River and at Port Arthur, a former convict settlement (1833-1863) on the Tasman Peninsula, south-east Tasmania...

Copyright © 17 March 2012 Howard Smith,
Masterton, New Zealand






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