John Weekes

John Weekes is an NZME. News Service reporter based in Wellington.

Orchestra drops concerts for Hobbit

NZ Symphony Orchestra's production of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is expected to be lavish.
NZ Symphony Orchestra's production of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is expected to be lavish.

A series of classical concerts has been chopped because our national orchestra will be busy recording the music for a Hobbit movie.

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra's Heights of Passion concert series has been postponed because its musicians will be working on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug next month.

People who bought tickets for the music series have been offered credits, refunds, or tickets to other performances around the country.

"There have been a few noisy constituents as you'd expect, but overwhelmingly the public support is in favour of The Hobbit," NZSO publicity manager Trudy Shannon said. "People who have had this situation explained to them can see the financial benefits of a six-week full-time recording over a four-concert tour."

The four-concert series was to have taken place in Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland next month.

Shannon said the tour cancellation left a gap in the calendar for some cities, but the National Youth Orchestra would play in Auckland on August 31.

The NZSO expected The Hobbit recordings to boost its coffers at a time when the Government said it must find new revenue sources.

The production was expected to be lavish.

"It's not the cheapest production in the world," Shannon said of the filmmakers.

"They tend to do things very thoroughly and very well.

"We haven't seen the score yet ... but we would certainly be operating under the assumption that it would be our full orchestra."

This year, the NZSO has also recorded for Escape Plan, starring Hollywood stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Last year, its credits included the Tommy Lee Jones war movie, Emperor, and the Andrew Adamson-directed Mr Pip.

Production company 3 Foot 7 has spent about $447 million on The Hobbit trilogy.

- Herald on Sunday

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