Michael Parmenter

The New Zealand Dance Company Proudly Presents
OrphEus – a dance opera

Premiering at the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival and New Zealand Festival, celebrated New Zealand choreographer Michael Parmenter created his bold new full-length work OrphEus – a dance opera 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.

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"Michael Parmenter's OrphEus – a dance opera was a masterpiece. The multi-layered dance, music and dramatic epic, merged classical and contemporary worlds in a challenging and inspiring journey of courage, temptation, forgetfulness – and eventually – harmony."

Francesca Horsley
DANZ Magazine


Auckland Arts Festival
The Civic
Friday, 9 March 2018 at 7pm
Saturday, 10 March 2018 at 7pm
Sunday, 11 March 2018 at 5pm

Pre-show Artist Talk on Saturday, 10 March at 5:30pm

Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts
Opera House Wellington
Friday, 16 March 2018 at 8pm
Saturday, 17 March 2018 at 8pm

Pre-show Artist Talk on Saturday, 17 March at 6:30pm


“a rich fusion of dance and song, narrative and design, music and deep emotion.”
Raewyn Whyte, NZ Herald


“The proximity and mobility of the musicians has been thoughtfully arranged, adding original symbolic depth to their presence onstage.”
Brigette Knight, Theatre Scenes

“Choreographically there is all the elegance and fluidity we have to expect from him. But there is also an added choreographic maturity, refinement and articulation that is impressive.”
Ann Hunt, Stuff

"it was an outstanding production with every element supporting and adding to Orpheus’ journey, old and new." Francesca Horsley, DANZ


“You can tell when a show is masterful. When it has grabbed the audience and excited them en masse. Michael Parmenter’s OrphEus is one such show. Quite simply, it’s unmissable.”
Liz Gunn, 13th Floor


Concept & Artistic Director of ‘OrphEus’
Michael Parmenter

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

Wellington Chorus Rehearsal Director
Lyne Pringle

Bree Timms
Carl Tolentino
Chrissy Kokiri
Eddie Elliott
Katie Rudd
Lucy Marinkovich
Oliver Carruthers
Sean MacDonald
Toa Paranihi

Aaron Sheehan
Jayne Tankersley
Nicholas Tolputt
Sid Chand
William King

Musicians - Latitude 37
Miranda Hutton
Sally Tibbles
Jonathan Le Cocq

with Mary Grace (Polly) Sussex

Christina Guieb
Raisedinland Iose

Hamish Phillips

Auckland Movement Chorus
Abbagail Rogers
Allan Hsu
Amber Jackson
Billy McColl
Brandon Ross
Briar Wilson
Christina Guieb
Doris Jung
Elan Austin-Tennant
Emma Deakin
Gabrielle Wilson
Geordan Wilcox
Jacob Reynolds
Jan Wuis
Jia Zeng
Joanna Sylvester
Josh Eliu
Kan Wang
Katie Shaw
Kirsty MacDonald
Libby Valentine
Lin Guo
Raisedinland Iose
Robyn Gandell
Severine Chelot
Vito Prasasta
Yandie Li
Zean Chen

Wellington Movement Chorus
Albert Carneiro
Anna Sheffield
Anna Groves
Hamish Phillip
Jacqui Bisley
Jaimee Ramage
Janet Gootjes
Joshua Baines
Kate Martin
Katrina Kellie
Kim Broad
Kit Marsh
Laifa Ta'ala
Lucas Cornejo
Megan Evans
Moira-Clare Donovan
Nick Hendricks
Nicola Davies
Salem Foxx


Listing thumbnail Tamaki Tour
Tāmaki Tour 2024

Expressions of interest for our 2024 Tāmaki Tour are open for primary, intermediate and secondary schools in the greater Auckland region. Q&As, and/or a workshop also available. For enquiries, email NZDC at [email protected], or call +64 9 378 7361.

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2022 Night Light

Exploring an ancient sequence of nature in The Fibonacci and the blurred lines between fiction and reality in Uku – Behind the Canvas, Night Light premiered in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2022 to critical and audience acclaim.

2021 Innate Series

Exploring the openness of movement, the Innate series are process-driven works to take us into new spaces of discovery, disruption and connectedness.