APO to perform symphonic celebration of Sondheim

On the 22nd of June, at The Civic, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) will be performing A Night of Sondheim, presented with Auckland Live as part of the Auckland Live Cabaret Experience. This performance promises to bring to life Steven Sondheim’s compositions with a full orchestra of over 65 musicians, together on stage with four outstanding singers.

Sondheim, who passed in 2021, was one of the most decorated musical lyricists and composers of all time, winner of eight Grammy awards, five Laurence Olivier awards, six Tonys, sixteen Drama desk awards, and many more. The New York Times called Sondheim a ‘titan of the American musical.’ His musicals were regularly produced for Broadway and the West End, and even when they began in smaller venues repeated productions and revivals saw audiences grow alongside Sondheim’s reputation as an artist without parallel.

The concert will feature a range of Sondheim’s works, from his lyrical contributions to 1957’s West Side Story to 1987’s Into the Woods. This will showcase the range of Sondheim’s stories and musical styles, from the snappy showtune Everybody Says Don’t! to the Broadway ballad Being Alive.

Vocalists are Tyran Parke, Bridget Costello, Delia Hannah, and Edward Laurenson. Costello comes to this fresh from playing Christine in Opera Australia’s production of Phantom of the Opera. Delia Hannah is a seasoned veteran of musical theatre, best known for playing Grizabella in several productions of Cats. Edward Laurenson returns to the company after a tenure overseas including at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, grateful for the support he enjoyed as an APO Young Achiever early in his career.

Tyran Parke is acting as MC in addition to providing vocals. Parke is a huge devotee to the work of Stephen Sondheim. After playing the title role in the Australian premiere of Sunday in the Park with George, he was thrilled to direct the highly acclaimed 2018 production. Follies was a huge hit at the Melbourne Recital Centre, Assassins toured throughout Victoria after its sell-out Melbourne season, while the concerts, Sondheim on SondheimThe Boys of Sondheim and Everything’s Coming up Sondheim repeated this artistic success. Tyran also directed acclaimed versions of Into the Woods, and the rarely seen, Anyone Can Whistle.

"When it comes to musicals, Stephen Sondheim is unsurpassed in terms of wit, melody, passion and insight into the human spirit. His music has been heard in theatres around the globe, but it is most fully realised with a full orchestra, and they don't get any better than the Auckland Philharmonia" says Parke.

Mark Dorrell will be on piano as Musical Director. He enjoyed a long association with composer Stephen Sondheim collaborating with him on the original London productions of Into the WoodsAssassins and Passion as well as the world premiere of Putting It Together and productions of A Little Night Music with Judi Dench and Sweeney Todd at the National Theatre London.

"This exciting concert provides a wonderful opportunity for audiences to experience the musical and lyrical genius of Stephen Sondheim. A stunning quartet of the finest singers combine with the full orchestral forces of the Auckland Philharmonia to celebrate his extraordinary legacy. As a long-time admirer, friend and collaborator of Sondheim I'm delighted and honoured to be part of this thrilling event" says Dorrell.

Anthony Hunt will be conducting. Hunt has long time experience as Chorus Master at Opera Australia and has conducted for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra is pleased to be able to delight musical theatre and orchestral audiences alike with this performance as part of the Auckland Live Cabaret Experience.

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