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Toreador Artistic Competition, October 2017

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1 Toreador Artistic Competition, October 2017 on Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:29 am

Wellington recently played host to a spectacular series of performances by the glamourous and talented individuals of Clan Toreador. Jointly judged by esteemed international guest Marianna Bertolini, Harpy of Florence, and magnanimous patron of the arts Prince Pietro Cellini, the five-night extravaganza saw Toreador from varying backgrounds display their talents par excellence.

Performing Toreador included essential Wellington dignitaries such as Primogen Virgil Mercier and Seneschal Reinhart Van Buel. Yet this roster of excellence was enhanced even further by the presence of Toreador from all around Aotearoa, not to mention their assistant performers from even further afield, including Oceania and Europe.
All who could not attend this event should count themselves unfortunate indeed. For those of the clan who could not attend, their apologies were well received, even if they carried with them a strong sense of sadness and disappointment.

The first night of performances saw Gemma Mansfield, the Baron of Rotorua, begin the event with a very well-crafted stage drama that evoked a strong response from all members of the audience. The performance of the actors involved only added to the excellent fictional tale that Mansfield spun for her audience.

Member of the Sabbat, Cameron Brodie of Oamaru, led a performance entitled “Aesthetic Body Crafts”. Assisted by known talented fleshcrafter Sabrina of the Tauranga Sabbat, Brodie led the audience through every single brushstroke upon the skin, flesh and bone of a volunteer, bringing out the loveliness that was within the body. By the end of the meticulous performance, the change in appearance of the volunteer was quite striking. On this miraculous note the first night came to conclusion.

The second night of performances began with a jazz performance that even oceans could not prevent being put together. Draven Fourie of Auckland took up the saxophone, supported by Andrea of Florence and Selena of Sydney. Unfortunately, the exceptional vocals by the vivacious Selena seemed to distract young Fourie from his own performance, for while all three performers are indeed masters in their fields, there was a distinct lack of cohesion on stage. At the concluding ceremonies a rather crestfallen Fourie was extremely gallant and gracious in defeat, and all wish him well in future performances.

Continuing the Camarilla of Auckland’s musical theme, Beatrice Faulkner next took to the stage with perhaps the most beautiful violin in the southern hemisphere, if not the world. Faulkner was supported by a string quartet of Auckland’s kindred; Primogen Surfal on cello, Stephanie Willis on Viola, Emily White on violin and Felix Acker on double bass. Although the unusual combination of supporting strings were good and strong, it was Faulkner’s exceptional emotive playing that left no person in the audience uninspired, so grand were the notes pouring from her fingers across the strings.

Stella Lavery, Harpy of Nelson, next added to the emotional high of the attendees by bringing a truly inspired Improvised Comedy routine. Lavery was uniquely assisted by Ferris, Harpy of Northland, and Skippy the Wonder Possum, a juggling marsupial trained by Auckland’s Bruce Jackson. Although this performance wasn’t quite to the same intensity as others during the extravaganza, the cohesion of performers was flawless. Each member of the troupe had perfect comedic timing, including the possum, to the surprise and delight of the audience. A solid and excellent performance with equal contributions by all.

Hayden Delaware, Harpy of Wellington next starred in a classic stage acting performance. Even though the material presented was not an original work, Delaware’s performance was exceptional, the presentation clearly a personal take on the original material. Unfortunately for Delaware, his supporting cast were outshone by him, which does detract from a stage performance, as in acting all thespians do need to be on par. Regardless, Delaware was pleased with his offering and the positive reception it received.

Mayeaux of the Auckland Sabbat next treated the audience to a display of traditional flax weaving, together with his close associates Bishop Corbyn and Priest Walker. Leading the audience through each step as it was performed, it became clear that Mayeaux and his assistants were all masters of the traditional crafts. Of note is that even though individually all three were exceptionally talented, they all worked with pristine teamwork, they complimented each other well and looked fantastic creating the final sculpture, which left the crowd well impressed. The applause following them leaving the stage ended the evening on a fine note.

The third night of talent offerings saw Annalucia Mancini displaying her fine jewel crafting talent. Mancini elected to work with the peerless weapon smith Cassandra of Wellington, and assisted by a notable high society jeweller they set to work creating a beautiful jewelled weapon. While the artwork of the jewel craft was exceptional, it was overshadowed by the sword’s elegant styled construction. At the concluding celebrations, many attendees who are known experts in the sword were heard remarking upon the balance and function of the artistic blade, with very little comment being passed as to its decoration.

Seneschal Reinhart Van Buel took the stage to conclude the third night with a powerhouse rock and roll performance. Flanked by exceptional backup dancers, Van Buel belted out tune after tune of classic rock and roll, clearly enjoying every moment of the very well-rounded performance. He was overheard remarking to a throng of his admiring public during the concluding festivities: “You see, rock and roll isn’t a career or hobby – it’s a life force. It’s something very essential.” When pressed for specific comment regarding his performance, the ecstatic Van Buel remarked “We believed that anything that was worth doing was worth overdoing.”

The fourth and final night treated the extravaganza attendees to a silent film written by, directed by and starring Primogen Virgil Mercier. Together with his exceptional co-stars Primogen D’Artagnan and Achaela Harmlinson, Harpy of Canberra, Mercier’s performance of swashbuckling feats of derring do and dashing swordsmanship displayed what such a film should truly look like. The directing was superb, the editing was sublime, and the chosen film format truly brought out the best in all three Actors, who each stormed the screen with flashing steel and equally dazzling smiles. A truly magnificent and exceptionally cohesive film that was greater than the sum of its parts.

After a brief conference, judges Harpy Marianna Bertolini and Prince Pietro Cellini were pleased to announce the following:

  • Stella Lavery received an honourable mention, specifically highlighting her exceptional use of supporting cast, receiving credit for the only performance where a member was not a person.
  • Mayeaux of the Auckland Sabbat received Third Place, for his “Magnificent use of traditional crafts”.
  • Primogen Virgil Mercier of Wellington received Second Place with his Sublime Swashbuckling Film.
    And Finally,
  • Beatrice Faulkner of Auckland was awarded First Place, with special attention being made to her “Stunning Personal Performance.”


The extravaganza concluded with various celebrations and festivities, finally leading to an Elysium in which Beatrice Faulkner received an unexpected but well deserved extra prize from Prince Pietro Cellini; for services to the arts she gains standing within the Camarilla.

All around an excellent and exceptional event for the arts, which only further adds to Wellington’s reputation.

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