A Symphony Under the Stars


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland
February 24th 2008
Published: March 6th 2008
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The Many PoppelbaumsThe Many PoppelbaumsThe Many Poppelbaums

Our extended surrogate family but I don't know all the names!. L-R: Raewyn, David, Japanese mum, Japanese girlfriend, Ian, Allard & Liz. Front is Hyejin and our Glynn.
When we came to Auckland last year, one of the big events Liz told us about was the Symphony Under the Stars. Unfortunately, we were too early to go last year but this time we timed it just right! Symphony Under the Stars is basically a free classical music and operatic concert held in one of the big parks in central Auckland and this year, we got to join in the festivities.

We started the day by taking a 'tiki tour' of the area where Glynn will be working, courtesy of Liz & Allard. We then jumped at the chance to be driven around some car dealerships to get a feel for what type of vehicles are around in our price bracket. Glynn's work is in the middle of nowhere and takes 2 hours by bus to reach from the city where we currently live, so a car is a must for us. Ideally, we'd like something big enough to use as a campervan so we can make the most of any free time we get too.

Back in Takanini, Liz and I shopped for picnic goodies and off we all went to the concert. Oustide the Auckland Domain
Picnic HeavenPicnic HeavenPicnic Heaven

Liz is a happy bunny!
(that's the park where the event is held every year), we met up with a new friend of ours called Hyejin from Korea. We met her via a website where she advertised for friends to help improve her spoken English skills and we all hit it off well when we first met last week. I wasn't sure if classical music would be her thing but she seemed keen to come along.

Inside the park, we located Allard's brother and some of his family including his son's Japanese girlfriend and her mum who had come to visit for a week. We were quite a big group and luckily the others had arrived early and bagged us a big spot with a good view of the show. We started off by chowing down on a massive picnic including 8 bags of vege crisps that were being handed out free at the entrance!

Then the concert began with a pair of famous hosts from NZ TV compering the evening and I was amazed to find I actually recognised them - I've obviously been watching too much TV since we arrived! The show had been pushed back to tonight because of a
Kiwi DivaKiwi DivaKiwi Diva

Dame Kiri Te Kanewa, possibly the world's most famous Maori. You can just make her out on stage to the right of the photo.
day of non-stop rain but luckily today the rain showers had died away and we were even treated to an orange and pink sunset and later on a starry sky as night set in. It couldn't have been more perfect. In fact, it was also so warm we all ended up taking our shoes and socks off to keep cool!

Despite not being a massive fan of opera or classical music, I was surprised at how much of the music I recognised and I think Glynn was even more surprised at how much he enjoyed the show! Highlights included half the crowd getting up to waltz to a bit of Strauss, 3 arias performed by world reknowned Kiwi opera diva Dame Kiri Te Kanewa and a laser light show peformed to some of the score from the Lord of the Rings movies. We also got to have a 'Last Night of the Proms' done NZ style, where those of us in the crowd who had bought blue glow sticks for charity got to wave them around and pretend we were conducting the orchestra as Land of Hope and Glory resounded across the Domain. Then there was the spectuacular finale
Lying Down on the JobLying Down on the JobLying Down on the Job

It's hard work, all this concert watching!
of Beethoven's 1812 Overture complete with laser lights, fireworks and real cannons. It was absolutely brilliant!


Additional photos below
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Lord of the LasersLord of the Lasers
Lord of the Lasers

The laser light show in full swing as the orchestra belts out some highlights from the Lord of the Rings movies.
Beam Me UpBeam Me Up
Beam Me Up

They blew huge amouts of smoke into the air to capture the lasers at their best. It was pretty cool.
I Want to be a ConductorI Want to be a Conductor
I Want to be a Conductor

Jude and Hyejin demostrate how conduting an orchestra should really be done, shortly before turning the lightsticks on each other in an excellent reenactment of the Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker light saber duel!
Finishing with a BangFinishing with a Bang
Finishing with a Bang

Beethovens' 1812 Overture and a breathtaking firework show to make sure it all went with a real bang!
FinaleFinale
Finale

How's this for a finale? Shame I couldn't get the cannons in the photo too!


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