The Juniper Passion

a dramatic opera in three acts

Creative Team

Michael Williams is a well-known figure in New Zealand composition. He has received commissions from most of the country's major musical institutions including the NZSO, NBR New Zealand Opera and Chamber Music New Zealand and his music is regularly broadcast on Radio New Zealand Concert. He has recorded a number of works through the Atoll label.

His music covers a wide range of genres including chamber music, orchestral, concerti and opera.

Polystylistic in his approach to composition, many influences can be heard in his music from Gregorian chant to the use of pitch class sets.

Michael maintains an interest in the digital manipulation of acoustic instruments which is evident in a number of his works.

His Chamber Opera The Prodigal Child has enjoyed great success with productions in Taranaki, Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton and is now available on CD.

Piercing the Vault for oboe and orchestra was commissioned by the NZSO in 2005 and has toured the country twice since.

His Triple Concerto which was a commission from the Opus Chamber Orchestra with the New Zealand Chamber Soloists was premiered in September 2008.

Michael’s latest work The Juniper Passion is an opera in three acts based on the battle of Montecassino Italy in WWII and was recently released through the Atoll label. This work is scheduled for its premier live performance on location in Cassino Italy as well as Rome in 2013.

His work is in demand internationally including Vietnam, Italy and Ireland.

Piercing the Vault was recently performed in Vietnam with the HBSO under the baton of Colin Metters who is director of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Current projects include a piece for harp and electronics for NZSO harpist Carolyn Mills.

He is co-founder and artistic director of the University of Waikato contemporary performance ensemble ‘Okta’

Michael teaches across a number of areas including composition, orchestration, computer music, aesthetics and harmony and counterpoint.



John G Davies – Librettist and Director

  John Davies studied the art of acting at the

New Zealand Drama School. Following his training,

he went on to perform with Red Mole Enterprises in

New Zealand, Mexico, The U.S.A and

The United Kingdom. In 1984 John made the first

 of four study trips to the Kongo Noh Theatre in

Kyoto, Japan. He has subsequently presented

four original Noh Plays as director of NZ Noh Theatre Company.

 He has worked as Assistant Director

for NBR New Zealand Opera before becoming

a Theatre Studies Lecturer at Waikato University.

From 2002 he worked in Partnership with 

Michael Williams and David Griffiths writing Libretto

and Directing original Opera productions. In 2010

he was appointed Curriculum leader of Live

Performance at Unitec in Auckland. 

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