Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opera, Sol3Mio and Kauwiti

I fell in love with Opera when I went to see "This is Cinerama". I must have been about 10 years old. One section of the film showed La Scala Opera theatre in Milan and the Grand March from Aida.
While I have discovered some of that film on Youtube, I cannot find the Grand March section.
I attended many performances of the Australian Opera at the Sydney Opera House. Far too many to list. The most wonderful were with Joan Sutherland. I can remember Norma, Lakme, La Fllle du Regiment, Les Huguenots, Lucia di Lammermoor, Tales of Hoffman and the Merry Widow.
I have seen Aida several times, the most recent here in Dunedin on Film from the Met.
I have never attended a performance at La Scala.
I have attended a number of Operas at the Vienna Opera. Der Rosenkavalier in 2008 and Werther and La Boheme last year. I have tentative plans to see more there in 2015. I have also seen a few productions at the Vienna Volksoper. Barber of Seville in 2000, Land of Smiles in 2008 and Der Wildschutz last year. In 2008, I saw a production of The Magic Flute in Berlin and way back in 1974 I saw Die Valkerie at Covent Garden.  I stood for that performance, the Sydney Opera House had only just opened and I had only previously seen a few operas at the old Elizabethan in Newtown.

Unfortunately the only way to see opera in Dunedin is on Film from the Met. However we do get to hear some young opera singers with symphony concerts. Jonathan Lemalu was born in Dunedin and Anna Leese studied here. They are both making international names for themselves.
I attended a farewell concert for Kawiti Waetford, a young baritone now studying in Wales.
I have a ticket to hear Kiri Te Kanawa on her farewell concert tour here in June. I heard her sing with José Carreras at the Last Night of the Proms in Hyde Park, London in 2010.

Last Saturday night, I saw a thrilling performance by Sol3 Mio here at the Regent Theatre. I have seen these 3 remarkable young men on various news items and bought their CD before Christmas. Pene and Amitai are brothers and Moses is their cousin. They have all studied in Wales. They have just finished 15 sold out concerts throughout New Zealand and have added 3 more this week in the 3 largest cities using bigger venues.
Here they are singing "I am Samoa" the unofficial national anthem of Samoa. 

Their story is on NZ Story. I am not sure this will be viewable outside NZ.

Last night on a news program there was an item about a 16 year old Maori boy from Northland, Kauwiti Selwyn, and his meeting with Sol3 Mio. Perhaps there is another great opera singer of the future.

Meanwhile at the concert on Saturday, we learnt that this year Moses will be singing in France, Amitai at Salzburg and Pene at the San Francisco Opera.  I have found that he is singing the role of Gascon in La Traviata the night I will be there. I have purchased a ticket.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

At last the NZ Archbishops speak

Finally there is a response to the disgusting laws recently passed in Uganda and Nigeria

Dear Friends and Colleagues in Christ,
Anglicans throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia continue to wrestle with divergent views on many aspects of human sexuality, and on a Christian response to the marriage or blessing of same gender couples in particular. However, we believe that all Anglicans are united in condemning homophobic attitudes or the persecution of people on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Many of us will have seen reports this week (eg: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26320102 ) that Uganda’s President has signed into law a bill that toughens penalties for gay people.
This new law includes the provision of life sentences for certain of these new ‘crimes’, and the legislation appears to have been passed with the encouragement of Uganda’s Joint Christian Council – which includes the country’s Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican bishops.
We recall Resolution 1:10 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference, which encouraged Anglicans throughout our Communion “to minister pastorally and sensitively to all, irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals...”
We note with dismay these developments in Uganda, and encourage you to remember that country, those placed further at risk by these laws, and those who lead the Church and the state in Uganda, in your prayers.
Archbishop Brown Turei
Archbishop Philip Richardson
Archbishop Winston Halapua

Saturday, March 01, 2014

A Pox on all their Houses

Just over 2 weeks ago, the House of Bishops in England issued a statement which, to put it mildly, was disgraceful.  A torrent of abuse has rightly descended upon them. Now the academics of the Church of England are pointing out that it contains downright lies.
There is only one courageous bishop speaking out and, as he is a Suffragan bishop, he is not a member of the house. Bishop Alan Wilson of Buckingham is worth all the rest put together.
As he says
"But, being English, the powers that be prefer to freeze me out on a naughty step and occasionally patronise me, than actually to talk about the subject in a grown-up way, which would be unbearable."

It seems that only Assistant bishops are willing to speak out. As far as I know the Assistant Bishop of Auckland is the only Bishop in Aotearoa/New Zealand to speak up about the horrific laws in Uganda and Nigeria which to their shame have been applauded by the Anglican (and Catholic) bishops of those countries.

To get back to the House of Bishops in England. One of their number, in fact number 2, will soon be in Dunedin and plans to wander about the Diocese with out own bishop.  Almost makes me want to pray for snow, sleet and hail.

The main reason, we presume, for the statement was to continue to pander to the GAFCON churches. And all to no avail.   Their spokesman, the archbishop of Kenya has criticised them as not being tough enough. He probably is disappointed his own country is fairly mild in comparison to neighbouring Uganda (only 14 years imprisonment instead of Life and they wanted death).

And I am expected to welcome "missionaries" from Kenya at the end of this month. I will be going nowhere near my church while they are here.  They are supported by the Church Missionary Society.
A search shows me that the most homophobic dioceses of the Anglican church were all established by CMS.  I note that it had only a small influence in South Africa which has a totally different view.
This was seen in Archbishop Desmond Tutu and has been continued by his successor Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

CMS is this year celebrating 200 years since Rev Samuel Marsden first preached in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Of course, having grown up in Sydney,  I have always known that Samuel Marsden was the "flogging parson" a figure of scorn, no advertisement for the church.

Meanwhile back in the Church of England, you can bless cats and dogs, you can bless ships but not loving monogamous gay marriage.
And they wonder why surveys show that people under 50 are rejecting the church.
And do not upset the hate filled, murdering, bishops of Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya.