Five Lines: Transfigured Night - from saucy games to passionate desire (Wellington)

Updated: Mar 23

This article was originally published by Five Lines on 17 March 2021. Click here to view the original article.


Elizabeth Kerr, Five Lines | 17 March 2021


The stage in Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre is set with music stands and a large white sail-like backdrop painted in multi-coloured geometric shapes. A single barefoot ballet dancer steals in silently from the wings and gazes in wonder at the musical scores on the stands. The audience is hushed, not sure what to expect. This is clearly not going to be your average chamber music concert.


A viola player enters playing a simple folk-like tune and she and the dancer meet with happy surprise. Next a violinist arrives and the music becomes a Celtic-flavoured duet. Soon another violinist moves from the stalls to the stage playing a third musical line; quickly a cellist and two more dancers join in and string quartet and dancers begin to move together with a sense of discovery. All are dressed in white with roughly painted splashes of colour.

The audience is entranced. The pace picks up, music and dance becoming spikier as musicians and dancers turn around each other in joyous sure-footed counterpoint. The work alternates slower, thoughtful sections and energetic, witty dances before moving to its delicate ending.

Composer Tabea Squire I Danced, Unseen - charmingly light

Composer Tabea Squire’s delightful I Danced, Unseen is currently on its premiere tour of New Zealand as the opening work in Chamber Music New Zealand’s programme Transfigured Night. Squire developed her piece in collaboration with choreographer Loughlan Prior and together they have crafted a charmingly light, cheeky and amusing work, performed by the New Zealand String Quartet and three da