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Swedish Soprano To Perform Pre-Festival Show

Stunning young Swedish soprano, Miah Persson, will perform at an exclusive outdoor concert in Hawkes Bay before appearing in the 2002 New Zealand Festival's production of Der Rosenkavalier from February 23rd next year, the Festival confirmed today.

This comes a fortnight after the announcement of the one-off concert, which will be held at the Lombardi Amphitheatre on Saturday February 2 as part of the Harvest Hawkes Bay Weekend. The concert will also feature international opera singers Louise Winter and Alan Ewing, both of whom are also in the country for the New Zealand Festival's Telecom Opera, Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.

The Lombardi concert is an exclusive arrangement and will be the performers' only New Zealand appearance outside the opera itself. The evening will feature a popular lineup of music from light classics through to some of opera's best-loved works, accompanied by the same 35 piece orchestra that performed for 'Three Tenors in Wine Country' at the same venue last year.

Currently on contract at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, Miah Persson studied lieder, sacred music and opera interpretation at the private conservatoire Kulturama in Sweden. In 1994 she began at the Opera Studio 67 in Stockholm and in 1996 continued her studies at the University College of Opera in Stockholm. Her recent roles have included Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Pamina in Die Zauberflote, Scarlatti's Gresenlda at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Berlin and in Innsbruck with Rene Jacobs, and as Nanetta in Falstaff at the Aix en Provence Festival.

Persson is also a committed recitalist and recently recorded a recital with Roger Vignoles for the BBC 'Voices' programme. Later this season she will make a recital CD with Roger Vignoles for Hyperion. Next year she makes her debut at the Wigmore Hall and in summer 2003 she'll give a recital at the famous Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, both with Roger Vignoles.

Telecom Opera Der Rosenkavalier will feature one of the largest casts ever seen on the New Zealand operatic stage. Producer Joseph Seelig has drawn together a top-flight creative team and a stellar cast for the first New Zealand production of this internationally loved opera, which will run from Saturday 23 February - Sunday 3 March.

Peta Mathias will MC the event at the Lombardi Amphitheatre, which will transfer to the Hastings Municipal Theatre in the unlikely event of rain. The event is limited to an audience of 1500 and tickets are available nationwide through Ticketek.

The full Festival programme is available on the 2002 New Zealand Festival website at www.nzfestival.telecom.co.nz

ENDS.

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