Festival Opening Welcome
The Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival will open on Monday, October 12, with a unique community gathering and performance of Transfigured Night, directed by Salā Lemi Ponifasio.
Samoan-born Ponifasio is a visionary performing arts curator and director of global acclaim.
Based in Auckland, Ponifasio alongside MAU, a performing arts pathway and theatre company started by him, have created performances in more than 30 countries worldwide. This includes three invitations to the Venice Biennale, an unprecedented honour.
Transfigured Night, composed by Arnold SchÖnberg in 1899 is based on a poem by Richard Dehmel.
The music will be performed by an 18-piece string ensemble from Hawke's Bay Orchestra.
As well as these classical inspirations, the performance will include MAU performers and our own world class talent in the form of Kahurangi Māori Dance Company.
Another local feature will be a treatment of the ubiquitous waiata Tutira Mai Ngā Iwi, by Wiremu Te Tau Huata (Kahungunu).
These seemingly disparate parts are given a space to come together through theatre. This can be likened to how our community may do the same.
"The aim being "To call the community together, to recognise everyone," Ponifasio said.
"Don't come as a customer, come as a member of your community to transfigure and find out why you should love that person by you, instead of finding out why you are so different," he said.
Te Mātau a Māui/Hawke's Bay it seems we have an invitation to take part in a gathering. To experience a performance based on our unique potential for unity.
Ponifasio tells us that "the theatre is like a ceremony. You are invited to take part. Bring your open heart, your concentration, your best self and enter the ceremony". I'll see you there.
For tickets and information www.hbaf.co.nz