November 24-30: Including Verdi’s Rigoletto

by Fiona Rae / 24 November, 2012


The Secret Life of Piano Tuners (RNZ National, 4.10pm). Julie Hill, inspired by her own attempt with her father to tune a piano, looks at this beautiful art. A tuner aims to determine the “equal temperament” of the intervals between notes, something that is unique to each piano.


Composer of the Week (RNZ Concert, 9.00am today and weekdays and 7.00pm Monday). RNZ Concert focuses on Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), the French composer and pianist who, with his remarkable talent, intellect and longevity, towered over the musical life of his country. He was born before the invention of the telegraph, yet Saint-Saëns became the first major composer to write film music. He contributed to every major genre of the 19th century, although only one of his 13 operas remains in the repertoire, Samson & Delilah. His eidetic memory allowed him to master many subjects and he wrote and travelled into his eighties.

Spectrum (RNZ National, 12.15pm). Jack Perkins shines a light on the successful YMen project that is being run from Katoa kindergarten in Porirua. The project’s aim is twofold: to address the shortage of men working in early childhood education, and to make inroads into unemployment in the area. In 2011, eight young men began working at the kindergarten; of the eight who graduated, two have enrolled in other tertiary study and six are pursuing early childhood education degrees.

Opera on Sunday (RNZ Concert, 3.00pm). “In many decades of opera-going, I have rarely felt such complete delight in every aspect of a production,” said Listener reviewer Lindis Taylor of NZ Opera’s staging of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Director Lindy Hulme gives the story the contemporary backdrop of Silvio Berlusconi’s Italy and “Warwick Fyfe and Rafael Rojas, as Rigoletto and the Duke respectively, are utterly commanding in vocal and dramatic interpretation and powerful projection”.

The Shed, a Whole New World of Music (RNZ Concert, 7.00pm). A new four-part World Music series begins tonight, presented by British broadcaster Mark Coles. Coles is a former BBC presenter who took over Charlie Gillett’s weekly world music show in 2010, but became a victim of the large-scale cuts at the Beeb earlier this year.


In the Neighbourhood (Base FM, 7.00am). Auckland’s Base FM has been broadcasting on the smell of an oily rag for a remarkable seven years, which goes to show that the audience for hip-hop, reggae, funk, soul and all genres in between continues to grow. Chip -Matthews and Dylan C’s breakfast show goes totally homegrown on Thursday mornings, a nice touch, and although Base is a low-power station (broadcasting on 107.3FM, if you’re close enough to its Ponsonby studio to tune in), it’s easily available online (, on Freeview channel 71, or as an iPhone app.
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