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World Premiere Season

By Michael Parmenter
With The New Zealand Dance Company

Auckland Arts Festival

The Civic, Auckland
Fri. 9th & Sat. 10th March 7:00 PM
Sun. 11th March 5:00 PM

Pre-show Artist Talk Sat. 10th March, 5:30 PM


Information for school bookings available here.

NZ Festival

Opera House, Wellington
Fri. 16th & Sat. 17th March 8:00 PM

Pre-Show Artist Talk Sat. 17th March, 6:30 PM 

Information for student tickets available here.


We are thrilled to announce the world premiere season of OrphEus – a dance opera, a bold new full-length work by Michael Parmenter with The New Zealand Dance Company.

Parmenter has drawn on a ravishing musical score, including Rameau and Charpentier, reflecting a period during which the ancient Greek hero invoked a harmonious cosmos and a hierarchical political order. Since then, Orpheus has come
to represent art’s power to transcend suffering and death.

In this richly layered, epic dance work, Parmenter brings these contending perspectives into conflict and dialogue. OrphEus confronts the power of music and voice in both the personal and the political realms, revealing, in this familiar story of love and loss, the tensions between seduction and restraint, harmony and disorder.

Combining the power of dance, live music and theatre, Parmenter’s incredible vision is brought to life by The New Zealand Dance Company, performing alongside Grammy Award-winning American tenor Aaron Sheehan, baroque ensemble Latitude 37 and special guests.

NZDC’s Artistic Director Shona McCullagh draws together a superlative creative team including Tracy Grant Lord, John Verryt, Nik Janiurek, Keren Chiaroni and David Downes.

Through the lens of this mythic yet deeply personal tragedy, OrphEus thrillingly stages the eternal challenge of the artist – to seek the familiar or venture into a dangerous uncharted territory.

Co-produced by The New Zealand Dance Company, Auckland Arts Festival and the New Zealand Festival.

“Michael Parmenter’s name is synonymous with bold and innovative contemporary dance … challenging, thought provoking and fulfilling.”- The Press

Photos by John McDermott.


Concept & Artistic Director of ‘OrphEus’: Michael Parmenter
NZDC Chief Executive and Artistic Director: Shona McCullagh
Producer: Behnaz Farzami
Dramaturg: Keren Chiaroni
Set Designer: John Verryt
Costume Designer: Tracy Grant Lord
Lighting Designer: Nik Janiurek
AV and Sound Designer: David Downes
Music Consultant: Marc Taddei
Rehearsal Director: Claire O’Neil
Dancers: Carl Tolentino, Chrissy Kokiri, Katie Rudd, Sean MacDonald, Lucy Marinkovich, Eddie Elliot, Bree Timms, Toa Paranihi & Oliver Caruthers
Voices: Aaron Sheehan, Nicholas Tolputt, Jayne Tankersley, William King & Sid Chand
Musicians: Latitude 37 with Mary Grace (Polly) Sussex, Miranda Hutton, Sally Tibbles & Jonathan Le Cocq


Webisode 1 | VISION with Choreographer Michael Parmenter and Dramaturg Keren Chiaroni 

Webisode 2 | DESIGN with Nik Janiurek (Lighting), Tracy Grant Lord (Costume) & John Verryt (Set)

Webisode 3 | MOVEMENT with Michael Parmenter, Claire O’Neil & the Movement Chorus