SATURDAY February 26
Global Sounds: Anúna, Concert FM, 2.00pm. The shimmery, shivery chorale ensemble Anúna will be familiar to Riverdance fans; their renditions of ancient and contemporary Irish music were pivotal to that straight-armed, tap-dancing spectacular. They were formed in 1987 by Michael McGlynn, performing McGlynn’s works, as well as Middle English, Breton, medieval Irish, Latin and Greek compositions. Today’s recording is from a special charity concert in Ireland; to add to the atmosphere, try closing the blinds and lighting a few candles – Anúna would approve.
SUNDAY February 27
Opera on Sunday: Metropolitan Opera Season, Concert FM, 3.00pm. A real treat, an archive recording of Verdi’s Aida from 1967 and featuring a few of the 20th century’s greats: Leontyne Price, Grace Bumbry, Carol Bergonzi and Robert Merrill.
Mandela: An Audio History, National Radio, 4.06pm. It’s more than a decade since Nelson Mandela became President of a South Africa finally freed from the vicious yoke of apartheid, just four years after he was released from Pollsmoor Prison. He had seen the rise of apartheid in the 1940s and fought against it even after his incarceration in 1962. Today’s programme documents the struggle, with rare recordings of Mandela and those who fought with him and against him. It includes a recording of the 1964 trial, a visit between Mandela and his family that was secretly recorded by a prison guard, government propaganda films and interviews with former ANC activists, National Party politicians and other prisoners at Robben Island.
MONDAY February 28
In Touch with New Zealand: Book Reading, National Radio, 2.30pm. If you were to choose a Janet Frame novel to make into a radio drama, Living in the Maniototo might not be it. The novel about writing a novel is written in three voices – novelist Mavis Halleton, her pseudonym Alice Thumb and her muse, whom she names Violet Pansy Proudlock. Even more tricky, readers are left to sort out for themselves who is speaking. Writer-producer Steve Danby has used three actors for the voices, but the text has similarly been distributed among them. Danby says he wanted to adapt one of Frame’s novels for radio to remind us that she was a writer of fiction, not a writer of autobiographies who, incidentally, wrote a few novels. The actors are Helen Moulder (who plays Mavis), Joanne Simpson and Madeline McNamara. In all, the project has taken around three years to complete and is in 15 parts.
FRIDAY March 4
Neil Diamond: Hot August Night, National Radio, 11.06pm. Good grief. Bring back Donny and Marie and the 70s revival will be complete. This recording, done on August 24, 1972, is one of the greatest live albums, in which Diamond gave it up for a crowd of 4500 – and the “tree people” who got a free concert – for 107 minutes.