Sundays at 4pm is the time to take off your gardening gloves, put the kettle on and spend an hour immersed in the best of musical theatre from across the decades.
Veteran broadcaster Donald Saville-Cook has joined the Otago Access Radio team of volunteers as host of Musical Matinees For You, a programme of music from Broadway and West End productions, film, operas and operettas.
Mr Saville-Cook is no stranger to the mic, having spent 13 years at the helm of a nostalgia-themed music programme with Radio Dunedin. He once considered a professional career in singing and performed “most tenor parts” in Gilbert and Sullivan productions in the United Kingdom and New Zealand before interests in science and health took priority.
“I’m very interested in the study of the voice, and how voices are used in situations where words have to come over very clearly,” he said.
This was particularly important where lyrics were used to advance the plot of a stage production or musical film.
“People need to be aware of what’s going on. It’s not just a song, in many cases.”
Musical theatre and opera appealed because they addressed some of the “basic problems we all have in life”, he said. Having attended world-class Sadler’s Wells Theatre Company productions at Covent Garden and seen a New York State Opera performance of La Boheme, he considered himself a harsh critic but was impressed by the quality of the New Zealand productions he had seen.
“What we have lost in straying away from the traditional we have gained in terms of movement, bringing this music into the present day.”
Musical Matinees For You was a narrated programme of music, providing an opportunity for those who hadn’t previously seen or heard a production to discover elements of plot and character.
“It’s also simply an opportunity to enjoy beautiful voices making beautiful sounds.”
Musical Matinees For You airs every Sunday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.