Kiwi book inspires family- friendly Mozart concert

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra are giving Mozart fans a glimpse into the life of the great composer with a special concert – Amazing Mr Mozart.

The concert is based on New Zealand author and illustrator Donovan Bixley’s book Mozart: The Man Behind the Music, which tells the great composer’s story through his personal letters.

“Mozart’s genius is well-known, but people aren’t familiar with the man behind the wonderful music that we know so well. Donovan’s book not only tells Mozart’s life story but also showcases his playful, witty and quirky personality,” says APO Connecting Director Thomas Hamill.

“We were so inspired by this wonderful resource that we created a concert sharing Mozart’s life and personality in a fun, exciting way that audiences of all ages can enjoy,” he says. 

Bixley happened upon Mozart’s letters while researching another composer and was so intrigued that he wanted to share the discovery with others.

“Everything I read that came from Mozart’s own pen showed him to be gregarious, vivacious and real. He is incredibly naïve sometimes, and astute at other times. He can be cruel, he can be kind, and he can laugh and cry,” explains Bixley. “I saw him as this incredibly well-rounded person. He’s no different from us. He has an incredible gift, yes, but we can still have a strong connection with him.”

The orchestra, led by conductor Graham Abbott, will play some of Mozart’s most beloved compositions, including his Clarinet Concerto, Symphony No.40 and works from his operas Don GiovanniThe Marriage of FigaroCosì Fan Tutte and The Magic Flute.

Bixley will narrate the performance while illustrations from his book are projected onto a screen above the orchestra. Helping to tell Mozart’s story are two of New Zealand Opera’s 2019 Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists: Soprano Pasquale Orchard and baritone Will King.

Amazing Mr Mozart

Narrator Donovan Bixley
Conductor Graham Abbott
Soprano Pasquale Orchard
Baritone Will King

Where: Aotea Centre, 50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland
When: 2pm, Sunday 1 September

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