Get outside the box of opera as you know it with this innovative indoor/outdoor staging of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ “astonishing work” (Classical Source) Eight Songs for a Mad King.

This new production by New Zealand Opera sees a King in distress transformed into a modern corporate everyman, as a disarming device to explore our complicated relationship with mental health and power. As an added twist, you will experience the action up close again, with only a window separating you and the king.

Maxwell Davies’ iconic score derives from the songs King George III played on his mechanical organ and attempted to train his bullfinches to sing. The music requires a baritone of extraordinary technique to sing over five octaves, with New Zealander Robert Tucker fit for the challenge. Partnering with the ground-breaking contemporary music ensemble Stroma, this modern take on opera promises to be a bold and immersive experience.

Composed by
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies

Directed by
Thomas de Mallet Burgess

Designed by
Robin Rawstorne

These performances of Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd of London.

Funded by Creative New Zealand, Auckland Council, Wellington City Council and Christchurch City Council. Supported by New Zealand Festival of the Arts and Auckland Arts Festival.

Thanks to

Monday 2  –  Saturday 7 March

Monday 2 March Selling Fast 8:30pm
Wednesday 4 March Selling Fast 8:30pm
Thursday 5 March Selling Fast 8:30pm
Saturday 7 March Selling Fast 8:30pm


RNZB Dance Centre

  • Wheelchair Access Symbol.png Wheelchair accessible
Duration: 1hr 15mins

Music Opera
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