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Year:  1903

Year:  1903

Alfred Hill

Composer:   Alfred Hill


The opera Tapu takes as its theme the power of the Māori tohunga or priest.

'The production of the romantic opera Tapu was to afford plenty of possibilities for vivid stage effects. The plot is built around the adventures of a visiting Australian politician reviving that not infrequent hope in Canberra of federating New Zealand to Australia. He brings with him four members of the Emancipated Women's League, each of whom wheels a bicycle ...

Various adventures ensue and in the climax the politician is only just rescued from the cooking pot. The second act opens with the famous Pink Terrace at Rotoruaand this scene, with steam slowly ascending in the background, always dazzled audiences ...

... the principal part, that of the Australian politician George Wright, came to be modeled on an actual person, George Reid - down to the monocle, top hat and manner of speech.'

The first performance was given on February 16, 1903 at the Opera House in Wellington followed by a South Island tour. It then travelled to Hobart and, after many delays, a new production was performed in Auckland and Sydney in 1904.

Information from "A Distant Music": by J M Thomson: pp: 72-79