Face to face with a Sea Lion and Cricket in Dunedin08 March 2013 by Marc Taddei
In addition to working with wonderful musicians, one brilliant bonus of traveling from orchestra to orchestra is the chance to experience new sights, cultures and events. Coming to Dunedin is always a pleasure. I have many friends in the city and two recent arrivals – Lloyd Williams and Cally McWha are dear friends of mine who are playing in the orchestra. Lloyd is a former General Manager of the Auckland Philharmonia, has a Doctorate in Orchestral management and is currently the Director of Arts Management at Whitecliffe College. His dissertation is entitled, “Organizational Change in Symphony Orchestras” and is an enlightened look at the sector. To say I have immense respect for the man would be to understate my view.
At any rate, during some time off we drove out to Allan’s Beach, on the Otago Peninsula. This is a beautiful, wind swept and almost deserted beach just a half hour out of the city. I say almost deserted as Sea Lions enjoy the beach and the sun and there were quite a few lounging around. Here is one of the creatures having a look at me…
The Dunedin Town Hall has been closed for renovations and will reopen in May, so the concert took place in the Regent Theatre. I have done ballet there and the hall’s pit has the best acoustics in the county. Playing on stage is not quite as warm as the sound gets trapped somewhat by the proscenium arch. If the hall had a full shell I can imagine it would be a brilliant acoustic for orchestras. The theatre’s interior is reminiscent of Carnegie hall in terms of basic shape and the decoration.
I was also fortunate to enjoy a gorgeous summer’s day at the University Oval, where (for this day at least) New Zealand was demolishing England in a Cricket test. Sadly, England came back over the next few days and currently it is looking like a draw, but it was brilliant day in what I think is one of the most beautiful and intimate sporting venues in New Zealand.
Following the day of cricket, I enjoyed a concert with the Southern Sinfonia – an orchestra that regularly attracts over 1% of its entire population to concerts!