The best of the week.
Sunday July 2
The Sunday Feature (RNZ Concert, 2.00pm). Alan Platt begins a four-part programme about Dame Janet Baker, the British mezzo-soprano who went from South Yorkshire to the world. She was particularly known for her dramatic intensity and was associated with the works of Benjamin Britten, Gustav Mahler and Edward Elgar.
The Sunday Feature (RNZ National, 4.06pm). Hilary Mantel takes time off from writing the last instalment of her Cromwell trilogy to deliver the 2017 Reith Lectures; she begins with how and why she communes with the dead. Art can bring the dead back to life, she says. “They have something to tell us. Using fiction and drama, we try to gain that understanding.” The third lecture will be recorded in Antwerp, which features in her Booker Prize-winning books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Thursday July 6
Music Alive (RNZ Concert, 8.00pm). The Auckland Philharmonia is joined by Uzbek pianist Behzod Abduraimov in this live broadcast from the Auckland Town Hall. The theme is “Fallen Heroes”, and Abduraimov will perform Shostakovich’s experimental and parodic Piano Concerto No 1. Beethoven’s famous Symphony No 3, Eroica, closes the concert; the work was originally dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, but Beethoven was reportedly so incensed when the Frenchman declared himself Emperor in 1804 that he tore the dedication off the title page.
Friday July 7
Music Alive (RNZ Concert, 7.00pm). Who said sport and culture don’t mix? The NZSO celebrates 100 years of Lions tours with the music of Britain, Ireland and New Zealand. Recorded in Wellington on June 30, “Lands of Hope and Glory” features English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh works and Helen Medlyn will sing a medley of favourites. Lilburn’s iconic Aotearoa Overture represents our own sceptred isle and Proms favourite Pomp and Circumstance will top off the night.
As the Lotto draw on Saturdays is set at 8.00pm, why is it not possible for TVNZ 1 to have a set time for the Wednesday draw? It seems to be at quite random times on Wednesdays. That time could also be listed in the Listener.
TVNZ responds: Wednesday Lotto plays at the start of the 20.20pm commercial break, and although the exact time will differ slightly based on programme length, it will always be between 8.15-8.25pm. We’ll work with our scheduling team to get the exact time in the electronic programme guide, but it will miss the Listener listings as they’re printed too far ahead.
I can’t believe the decline of television. There are no programmes worth watching any more. My husband and I have returned to the video shop. All we watch on TV now is the news and The AM Show. Coast New Zealand was wonderful and the thriller The Missing was well done. We need more such programmes, not reality shows and dumbing-down garbage.
League of our own
In a similar vein to the question as to why rugby games start at 7.35pm, not 7.30pm (Talkback, June 24), my request is on behalf of all those who start work at 6am or thereabouts as I do.
Why can’t the rugby league grand final be played on a Saturday night, not on Sunday, so we can view it live and not have to avoid radio sports and newspapers all day on Monday if we plan to watch it after work? It would not clash with the AFL grand final, which is played in the afternoon to a different audience.
If ever the Warriors get to the NRL grand final, many people here would welcome the rescheduling.
My wife and I have enjoyed the US political drama House of Cards, but why is the fifth season only on Netflix and not on a free-to-air channel as it had been for all previous seasons?
(Aro Valley, Wellington)
Talkback responds: House of Cards was Netflix’s first commissioned series and screened exclusively on that platform in the US. However, before Netflix launched here in 2015, the first two seasons screened on TV3 (as it was then). In 2016, Netflix sorted out any remaining rights issues and made all seasons available on its platform.
Prime hits spot
Dear Prime, re Human Planet: awesome. Thank you. More, please.
This article was first published in the June 17, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.