Classical treat

by Anonymous Author

Selwyn classical music lovers are in for a treat next month with internationally renowned tenor Simon O’Neill returning home to perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Christchurch.

An Evening with Simon O’Neill at the Isaac Theatre Royal on June 13, will be the singer’s debut orchestral performance of Richard Wagner’s famous song cycle the Wesendonck Lieder.

Hailed by critics as “the Wagnerian tenor of his generation”, O’Neill has recorded Wesendonck Lieder with New Zealand pianist Terence Dennis but has never sung the song cycle with an orchestra.

The NZSO will be led by acclaimed Dutch conductor Lawrence Renes, who has a long association with O’Neill and NZSO Music Director Edo de Waart. When O’Neill first performed with the San Francisco Opera in 2012 in John Adams’ Nixon in China, Renes was the conductor.

“Maestro Renes was a fantastic conductor of the Adams work, and I can’t wait to work with him on this NZSO tour,” Mr O’Neill said.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for this — Wagner, for me is the pinnacle. The composing of the Wesendonck Lieder appears in an incredibly important time in Wagner’s life and career.”

An Evening with Simon O’Neill will also see the NZSO perform Wagner contemporary Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No 4. Conductor Lawrence Renes said he has long been an admirer of Bruckner’s works since he first performed the composer’s symphonies while a violinist in the Netherlands National Youth Orchestra.

He said conducting the world’s leading orchestras is like driving a Ferrari.

“It’s a fantastic feeling, and it’s the most fulfilling thing for me.”