Classical Sparks moved to Waitangi Day

23:17, Feb 05 2013
Christchurch actor Mark Hadlow in costume.

The Classical Sparks musical night has been postponed because of poor weather and a wet ground.

Christchurch City Council marketing manager Richard Stokes said the show would start at 7.30pm tomorrow in North Hagley Park.
"We know how much this show means to the people of Christchurch and how keenly many people are anticipating ASB Classical Sparks, but Wednesday evening is looking much more pleasant. The decision has been made purely for audience comfort," he said.

The classical music and fireworks concert showcases a 65-piece orchestra, the New Zealand Army Band and several soloists. The Christchurch Symphony Orchestra will take the stage from 7.30pm.

The concert will be hosted by The Hobbit star Mark Hadlow, who left his job as events manager at the city council to play Dori the Dwarf in Sir Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy.

As well as hosting the concert, Hadlow will star as Toad in an open-air production of The Wind in the Willows on the banks of the Avon River.

Hadlow said he promised to return for The Wind in the Willows before leaving to shoot The Hobbit.

"I'm doing this because I have a commitment to Christchurch, " he said.

Hadlow said Classical Sparks would feature some populist classics and the return of a bombastic favourite.

"We will be playing the 1812 Overture for the first time in six years, " he said.

"There are some really lovely numbers in there. It's a really nice programme. Our slogan is 'More strings, less stress'. If you are feeling stressed at the moment, bring everyone along."

He said of playing Toad in the Summer Theatre production, which opens on February 15: "He is audacious, bombastic, slightly egotistical. He loves life and every craze that comes along. He is arrogant in a lovely way. Positive and possessive. All the characteristics he has are certain characteristics in me and that works quite well."

Once Wind in the Willows ends in March, Hadlow has a busy year ahead of him.

He will sing the national anthem in Gallipoli for the Anzac Day memorial service, head to Germany for a Hobbit convention and shoot a World War I movie in Canada. He is also helping organise the 75th anniversary celebrations for the Royal New Zealand Navy in 2016.

In June he will return to The Hobbit set in Wellington for two months of extra shooting that will help turn the franchise into another trilogy.

Classical Sparks is a free event, part of the Garden City SummerTimes festival. For more information, visit


The Press