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Sealord Night with the Stars, Nelson

Sealord Night with the Stars, Saxton Field, Nelson, Sun 12 Feb, 7.30pm

Kiwi music icon Dave Dobbyn will join a top line up of opera stars at Nelson's major outdoor summer music event this year.

Sealord Night with the Stars is in the tradition of Pavarotti concerts that mix opera arias with performances by popular music greats. The concert features one of the first home appearances of acclaimed New Zealand tenor Keith Lewis, direct from London, the dazzling mezzo Helen Medlyn, and rising star Allison Cormack, the standout winner of this year's Sealord Aria.

Musical Director Peter Rainey says the opera line up is a little different this year and opens up some interesting programme opportunities.

"An international performer with Keith's experience has an enormous repertoire of material and we have selected arias by Massenet, Tchaikovsky, Donizetti, Bizet and the ever popular Ombra mai fu by Handel," he said. "For Helen Medlyn, as a mezzo soprano, Carmen is a natural choice, so we will hear the fabulous Habenera and Seguidilla. As well she will perform an aria by Saint Saens, a duet with Keith Lewis and the popular Lakme duet by Delibes with our soprano Allison Cormack.

And Pete Rainey says he's thrilled to have secured Dave Dobbyn, whose appearance is being sponsored by Kaimira Wines.

"Dave will be singing songs like 'Slice of Heaven' as well as some newer material, in orchestral arrangements with the Christchurch Symphony under the baton of Marc Taddei," Rainey says. "After years of performing solo or with bands, he relishes the opportunity to perform with a full orchestra. Dave wrote many of the songs we think of as kiwi 'greats' and even people who don't consider themselves fans will be converted."

Nelson City Council Festival Director Annabel Norman says Sealord Night with the Stars offers Nelsonians and visitors a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the arts in a beautiful environment at an affordable price - thanks to support from the sponsors and the Nelson City and Tasman District Councils.

Sealord Night with the Stars, Saxton Field, Nelson, Sun 12 Feb, 7.30pm - 10pm. Gates open at 5.30pm. Saxton Field, Main Road, Stoke Cost: $10 Adult, $5 Child. Tickets on sale, Everyman Records Ph: (03) 548 3083 Tasman District Council Ph: (03) 544 8176 Nelson City Council Ph: (03) 546 0200 Please note credit cards are not accepted for ticket purchases. Please add 25c to cheques marked 'not negotiable' and made payable to Everyman Records, Tasman District Council or Nelson City Council. Bring rugs, warm clothing, a torch and picnic. If you bring a chair, please set up in the designated area. Enjoy gorgeous Kaimira wines and famous Mac's beers at the Stars' Bar. LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS...RECYCLING STATIONS AT EXITS.

ENDS

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New Zealand-born tenor Keith Lewis was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000 for services to opera. He has appeared at Covent Garden among many of the world's most famous opera houses and his recordings include the Mozart Requiem, Don Giovanni and the Messiah. So far this season Keith Lewis has sung Faust with West Australian Opera and Captain Vere in Billy Budd in Turin, as well as singing Das Lied von der Erde with the National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin. He will return to the Stuttgart Opera for further performances of Salomé and is doing a major European tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Mezzo soprano Helen Medlyn is in demand in New Zealand and Australia, taking major roles in operas, oratorios, vocal symphonic works, musicals and plays. She has appeared at the Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra; and in New Zealand has performed with the NBR New Zealand Opera, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia. She has performed offshore with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra in Oregon, understudied a major role for the English National Opera and was a guest artist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Osaka.

Dave Dobbyn is one of New Zealand's most renowned and treasured musicians, with a career that has spanned over 25 years and a string of hits including 'Be Mine Tonight', 'Beside You', 'Language', 'Slice of Heaven' and 'Loyal'. Of the 2001 NZ top 30 best songs ever, five of the songs were his. After a break of five years his latest album, 'Available Light', was released to critical acclaim and platinum sales and the track 'Welcome Home' won him 'Songwriter of the Year' at the '05 Music Awards.

Wellington student Allison Cormack was runner-up in this year's prestigious Lexus Songquest. She is currently in her third year of a Bachelor of Music studying singing at Victoria University, Wellington. Recent performances include Pamina (Victoria University) excerpts from Die Zauberflote - Mozart, and the title role in an excerpt from Suor Angelica by Puccini. Allison is a member of the NBRNZ Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus.

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