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Hero image for Survey - The Unbelievable Glory of the Human Voice

Survey - The Unbelievable Glory of the Human Voice

Television (Full Length) – 1972

Opening with an image of Orpheus floating on the water, this eclectic documentary by future advertising maestro Tony Williams climaxes with one of New Zealand's most eyeopening montages. Loaded with examples of the many ways the human voice can make music, the film sees host Julian Waring introducing choirs, opera, balladeers and protest singers. En route, Michael Heath recreates a performance by Florence Foster Jenkins, a close cousin of Asian-New Zealand songbird Wing. The mash-up finale uses 2000 photos to showcase two decades of rock 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.
– Presenter Julian Waring

Key Cast & Crew

Generic Profile image for Ian John

Ian John


Profile image for Michael Heath

Michael Heath

As: Florence Foster Jenkins

Generic Profile image for Julian Waring

Julian Waring

Writer, Presenter

Profile image for John O'Shea

John O'Shea


Profile image for Tony Williams

Tony Williams

Director, Writer

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Kathy O'Shea

Assistant Editor

See all 16 credits

Produced by

Pacific Films


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


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