Season’s greetings for Christmas and the New Year from everyone at RNZ Concert!
Here are some of the special music features we have planned for you over the next couple of weeks, alongside our usual great music and good company.
Opera: Christmas Eve by Rimsky-Korsakov 7 pm on 23 December 2023
In this fantastical, earthy and hilarious opera set in Ukraine, the beautiful Oksana sends the blacksmith Vakula on an impossible errand to win her hand in marriage, amidst the havoc created by the pagan spirit world during the winter solstice. Based on a short story, 'Christmas Eve', from Nikolai Gogol's Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka.
Featuring Mikhail Vekua (Vakula), Dmitry Ulyanov (Chubb), Sofia Fomina (Oksana), Ksenia Dudnikova (Solokha), George Enescu Philharmonic Chorus, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.
- The Met Opera Season begin 7pm Saturday 6 Jan 2024.
Hymns on Sunday 7 am on Sunday 24 December 2024
What's the connection between the well-loved Christmas song O Holy Night and the early days of broadcasting? Find out in this programme marking the Fourth Sunday in Advent.
New Horizons: Santa and Mrs Claus 5 pm on 24 December 2023
With New Horizons going to air on Christmas Eve, what better excuse for a half-hour of songs about dear old Santa and his dear wife. William Dart finds some of them are more serious that you might expect.
A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols in Music Alive 8 pm on 24 December 2023
Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul Choirs, Tom Chatterton (organ)/Michael Stewart (conductor)
Wellington Cathedral of St Paul joins with Christians around the world in holding this popular service, traditionally a series of biblical readings interspersed with carols, beautiful music sung by the Cathedral choirs and creative reflections. These follow the story of our need for a redeemer, the promise of the Messiah, the hope of the Old Testament prophets, the courage of Mary and the birth of Jesus as told in the Gospels. Read along on the day here:
Hymns for Christmas Morning 7 am on 25 December 2023
Sing along to favourite carols including o come, all ye faithful, Angels we have heard on high, and Joy to the world. You can find the lyrics here on the day:
Christmas Church Service 11 am on 25 December 2023
We celebrate Christmas with the Cook Islands Christian Church, Porirua. This service is conducted by Assistant Minister Makatea Tairea and features hymns in the Cook Islands language sung by members of the congregation.
Follow the order of service on our webpage on Christmas Day:
NZSO: Messiah 1 pm on 25 December 2023
Messiah celebrates the whole story of Christ, from God's promises to the prophets of the Old Testament, the birth of Jesus, his death and resurrection and his future second coming.
Performed by Anna Leese (soprano), Sarah Court (mezzo), Frederick Jones (tenor), Robert Tucker (bass), The Tudor Consort, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gemma New. (2022)
Celebrate Christmas with the APO 8 pm on 25 December 2023
The Auckland Philharmonia's annual 'Celebrate Christmas' concert is a hugely popular regular feature of the festive concert season. This year they are joined by tenor Frederick Jones, back briefly from the UK, and their constant companions at this event: The Graduate Choir New Zealand director Terence Maskell will share the joy of music ﬁt for the festive season.
Recorded by RNZ Concert at Holy Trinity Cathedral Parnell on 16 Dec 2023.
NZSO: Music from the Movies 8 pm on 26 December 2023
The NZSO performs some of the best known film scores from the past 70 years, from Casablanca to Spiderman and many in between: Jurassic Park, E.T., Schindler's List, Back to the Future, Chariots of Fire, Rocky, Mission Impossible, and Star Wars. Featuring Vesa-Matti Leppänen (violin), NZSO conducted by Hamish McKeich. (2018)
Louis Baker and APO 8 pm Thursday 28 December 2023
Songs including the hits ‘Rainbow’ and ‘The People’ by neo-soul singer Louis Baker and band with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Hamish McKeich, with orchestration by Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper. Listen out for a cover of Prince's 'Purple Rain'.
Louis Baker (vocals & guitar), Laughton Kora (vocals), Esther Stephens (vocals), Daniel Hayles (keyboard), Marika Hodgson (bass), Cory Champion (drums), Nathan Haines (flute), Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra/Hamish McKeich
Orchestra Wellington: Symphonic Dances 8 pm Friday 29th December 2023
Pianist Michael Houstoun plays Three Psalms by fellow Kiwi John Psathas, a work dedicated to Houstoun with references to Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.
Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings and Rachmaninov's dramatic Symphonic Dances from Orchestra Wellington under the baton of music director Marc Taddei round out the programme.
New Year's Eve
NZTrio and Finn Andrews in concert 8 pm on 31 December 2023
NZ singer / songwriter Finn Andrews and NZTrio perform songs from his first solo album One Piece at a Time. Masterfully arranged by composer Victoria Kelly, these touching works take on a new power that combines musical genres.
Recorded at the Winter Garden of the Civic Theatre in Auckland by Radio New Zealand Concert.
New Year's Day
Settling The Score 2023 6 am – 8 pm 1 January 2024
A reprise of our annual celebration of the RNZ Concert audience's most popular classical music for 2023.
Mana Moana live in Wellington 8 pm 1 January 2024
The 50-strong pasifika Signature Choir and The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra perform songs from several island nations, bringing their melodies and languages to the world.
As many RNZ Concert staff take some time away from work to refresh for the new year, our our casual presenters will keep you company over summer. You can find out more about all of RNZ Concert's radio hosts on our website here.
Regular features including Three to Seven interviews, Musical Omnivore, Concert Kete, Love it or Leave it, Early Music Up Late and others are paused until the w/c Mon 22 January, when we return to standard programming.
Thank you for listening this year, we look forward to offering you more beautiful music and good company in 2024.
best wishes from the RNZ Concert team.