Semi-Opera project

Here at The Queen’s Closet, we don’t just perform music; we also have a busy programme of projects in development.

We are delighted to announce that we have just been awarded a significant grant by Creative New Zealand to develop a new work in collaboration with Dave Armstrong. This project will revive the semi-opera, a form that only existed in Restoration London, creating what we believe will be the first new semi-opera for 300 years. The work will feature the music of Henry Purcell, tied together with a contemporary New Zealand narrative written by Dave, for performance as one of our future programmes. We’re always looking at how we present Restoration music in ways that resonate with modern audiences, while using performance practice based on the most up to date research and understanding of how 17th century baroque music was conceived and performed.

On March 8th at 5pm we premiered a new programme as part of the NZ Fringe titled Quanto Dolce: Musick for the Passions.

Our patron’s son has returned from his Grand Tour of Europe and brought back manuscripts of exotic Italian music for The Queen’s Closet to transcribe and perform. As always, our repertoire included lesser-known pieces by the familiar composers Vivaldi, and Albinoni, rubbing shoulders with less familiar composers such as Steffani, Bertali and Mancini. In this programme we expanded our cornucopia of Restoration sounds, with the addition of baroque horns.

This performance was well received by the audience and The Queen’s Closet was nominated for two NZ Fringe awards – Most Promising Emerging Company and Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

April 5th we had planned to collaborate with Wellington chamber choir Nota Bene to perform Vivaldi’s Gloria in D rv 589 and Bach’s magnificent cantata BWV 12 “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen.” Unfortunately this performance is postponed.

These works unite choir and orchestra in St Mary of the Angels in Wellington, and feature both vocal soloists and the hoboy and natural trumpet.  

November 22nd, on St Cecilia’s Day we still hope to perform with the Bach Choir of Wellington in a programme featuring Henry Purcell’s Hail, Bright Cecilia Z.328 and Biber’s glorious Requiem in A Major. 
The pieces in this programme demonstrate the versatility of both ensembles, showcasing the Restoration colour and brilliance of  Purcell, as well as the rich continental sounds of Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber in a full baroque orchestra with sackbuts, hoboys and natural trumpets.  The venue of St Mary of the Angels will again provide a wonderful acoustic for these glorious pieces of early music.  

Smaller Programmes

We had planned a number of smaller shows which are all currently on hold. Please check back regularly, or sign up to our mailing list for news of when we will be back performing!

We would like to thank the following organisations for supporting our 2020 season: