This was a kids concert and the Opera House was full of excited youngsters who never tempered their enthusiasm over what was, for such a youthful audience, a longish affair. I went with my six-year-old granddaughter, and she loved it to bits.
The longest piece was Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf (here called, for some reason, 'Pita') and it used the amusing device of having the theatre cleaner, a brilliant Dave Fane, filling in for an absent narrator. Using the items from his cleaning cart to illustrate the characters in the story, he rather upstaged Prokofiev, but, to be fair, the orchestra was at times a little dim from behind the proscenium arch.
Bret McKenzie narrated the popular adaptation of Dr Seuss' Gerald McBoing Boing, using a youngster from the audience to be Gerald, which he did to the manor born. The music used was by Gail Kubik from the prize-winning cartoon from 1950, but we remember it most from radio in the recording made by radio veteran Harold Peary with music by Billy May. Aided by great percussion from Jeremy Fitzsimmons, beautifully apt narration from McKenzie and that sterling youngster as Gerald, it went brilliantly.
So did the opening Tane and the Kiwi with music by Thomas Goss and narrator Aroha White, setting the stage for a splendid afternoon.
What made the concert long was a great deal of instrument shuffling between items, but it didn't seem to matter. My granddaughter left fully satisfied, along with a myriad other children. Great entertainment.
Orchestra Wellington conducted by Marc Taddei with presenters Aroha White and Dave Fane and guest presenter Bret McKenzie
Pita and the Wolf, Tane and the Kiwi and Gerald McBoing Boing
Opera House, Wellington, July 27
- The Dominion Post