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Survey - The Unbelievable Glory of the Human Voice

Television (Full Length) – 1972

Opening with an image of Orpheus floating on the water, this inspired doco climaxes with a contender for NZ's most eyeopening montage yet. Loaded with examples of the infinite ways the human voice can make music, the film sees host Julian Waring introducing choirs, opera, balladeers and protest singers. Along the way Michael Heath recreates a performance by Florence Foster Jenkins, a worryingly close cousin of Asian-New Zealand songbird Wing. The mash-up finale uses 2000 photographs to summarise two decades of music, in a scene that must have blown minds in the suburbs. 

Opera nearly always deals with primitive passions - revenge, jealousy, murder, rampaging sexuality, lust. In fact someone once said that if a martian were to land on earth he’d get a better idea of human conduct through visiting the Italian opera than from almost anything else.
– Julian Waring

Key Cast & Crew

Tony Williams

Director, Writer

John O'Shea


Michael Heath

As: Florence Foster Jenkins

Kathy O'Shea

Assistant Editor

Adrian Ward


Julian Waring

Presenter, Writer

See all 15 credits

Produced by

Pacific Films


Presented with thanks to the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust – Te Puna Ataata



Includes music by the Orpheus Choir (Musical Director Malcolm Richard) and St Mary of the Angels Choir (Director Maxwell Fernie).



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