Spirit features internationally acclaimed New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill, who performs a selection of outstanding songs by music greats Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss. The Orchestra will also perform two uplifting works: Hector Berlioz’s exuberant Le Corsaire Overture and Sergei Prokofiev’s heroic Fifth Symphony.

Berlioz’s Le Corsaire Overture was inspired by a voyage he made on a corsair sailing ship and reading Lord Byron’s poem The Corsair. 

O’Neill will perform Mahler’s masterpiece Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen ‘Songs of a Wayfarer’, inspired by the composer’s infatuation with a soprano. 

O’Neill will follow with six of Strauss’ finest lieder: the song cycle Ruhe, meine Seele, Cäcilie, Heimliche Aufforderung and Morgen, along with Allerseelen and Zueignung. 

Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony premiered in 1945 to acclaim in the USSR and was also so popular with American audiences the composer featured on the cover of Time magazine. Prokofiev wrote his symphony as the tide of the Second World War turned to the Allies. He described his work as “a symphony of the greatness of the human spirit, a song of praise of free and happy mankind”. Scholars have since speculated that it is also a call for artistic freedom.


The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has released a special ticket deal to celebrate its return to touring the country from August.

Tickets in the stalls to the NZSO’s Spirit concert on August 7 will cost just $30, with further concessions available.

The special price is also a thank you to New Zealanders for their hard work and ongoing vigilance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Park for $2 per hour at The Civic car park on weekends. Find out more.

30% off existing adult AT Hop fares off peak during Alert Level 2. Find out more.

Last updated: 04 February 2020