Homesick and under-employed, a group of New Zealand opera singers based in London pulled together to make something beautiful for the world, and generate some much-needed lock-down income from their art. The result is an hour of Pākeha, Māori and Pacific songs performed live by 21 of our best singers.
Whanau Voices of Aotearoa, Far From Home was broadcast by official media partner RNZ Concert and will be repeated at 6pm on Sunday 29 November. A film of the performance in the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London is available now at rnz.co.nz for one month or view the YouTube link above.
Organiser Madeleine Pierard, a sought-after soprano in New Zealand and London, says:
“We are so excited to be sharing this event for the first time with Aotearoa and the rest of the world. This concert is a labour of love, of loss, and of a need to find our whānau in this sea of uncertainty. It is a beautiful reflection of the music and culture we hold dear and while it’s a gift for the world and for Aotearoa, it was an incredibly healing and profound experience for all of us involved. One that I am incredibly proud to have been part of.
“It has been a trying time for so many over here, but particularly artists, as theatres have been almost entirely dark since March, with very little hope of returning audiences in the near future. The donations from this concert will all go towards helping our Kiwi artists recover from this devastating loss of our livelihood. We are so touched by the donations we have already received - so many are from New Zealand - and we know viewers will be able to see and hear how much of an emotional and beautiful event it was, showcasing music some of our most gifted professional and rising young singers, most of whom hadn’t had the chance to sing publicly for months.”
Find out more about the project, including who is performing on the RNZ website.
While the performance is free for all to enjoy, people can choose to contribute directly to the singers and musicians through their website whanaulondonvoices.com.