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Opera Reaches For New Stars In 2003

Opera Reaches For New Stars In 2003

The NBR New Zealand Opera today announced its 2003 season, revealing a line-up that is bold, exhilarating and sees opera on the move! 2003 features well-known opera favourites in fresh, new productions, operas never performed in New Zealand, and new initiatives including a regional tour and a world premiere.

“2003 will be an opera season that does justice to the great possibilities of the artform,” said Alex Reedijk, General Director. “We are building on the opera company’s proven strengths and outstanding artistic successes to date, while embarking on exciting new journeys and forging new partnerships.

At the heart of what we do is a set of extraordinary human stories fused with music of genius and the spectacular storytelling power of the stage. This is a powerful combination. It is our continued commitment to offer the very best in creative and artistic talent to tell these stories in new ways.”

Highlights for 2003 season include three main-stage operas –

· Opera at its most powerful, Mussorgsky’s Russian masterpiece, Boris Godunov, makes its New Zealand premiere in a new production, during March and April in Wellington and Auckland. Previously announced as part of the 2002 season Boris Godunov has already generated excitement both here and overseas.

This impressively dramatic opera, revered in the world’s leading opera houses, is a story of conscience wrapped in a psychological crime thriller, inside a historical epic. It tells the gripping events of a Tsar’s guilt over the crime that brought him to power and placed him at odds with his people.
Opera reaches for new stars in 2003

Performing some of the most majestic writing in the operatic repertoire, is an international cast led by the extraordinary Vladimir Matorin from Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, in a title role prized by the great Slavic basses of the past century. With its large chorus and accompanied by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Wellington) and the Auckland Philharmonia (Auckland) under esteemed conductor, Nicholas Braithwaite – Boris Godunov is expected to be an opera “Event” in early 2003 that will be compelling viewing.

· Bold and adventurous, The NBR New Zealand Opera takes to the road in May and June, embarking on its first regional touring production with Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. In a collaboration with Class Act Opera the move fulfils a strong determination to take opera to more people in heartland New Zealand.

The Winter Tour of The Barber of Seville will blaze a trail through ten centres in the North and South Islands. Regarded as joyous and deliciously witty, the Barber’s fast-moving plots are played out against some of the most memorable tunes and funniest scenes in opera.

Capturing the energy of this breezy comedy is a specially formed ensemble of fine New Zealand talent including Andrea Creighton, Katherine Wiles, Jared Holt, Andrew Conley, and Benjamin Fifita Makisi with Carmel Carroll, directing and backed by players from the NGC Wellington Sinfonia or the Auckland Philharmonia.

· Red-blooded Italian opera takes to the stage in a seductive new production of Puccini’s Tosca in September-October.

One of the world’s favourite operas, Tosca is a dangerous drama of piety, patriotism and passion played out as three unforgettable characters are caught up in Rome’s wartime intrigues. The Genesis Spring Season of Tosca will see one of New Zealand’s renowned opera performers Margaret Medlyn in the great title role.

Opera reaches for new stars in 2003

Two other important new initiatives will see more milestones for both the company and opera in New Zealand:

· Acis and Galatea becomes the first Handel opera mounted by a professional New Zealand opera company.

This classical romp is a semi-staged concert production in Auckland and Wellington during June. Taken from classical mythology, the charming story of love and rejection is underpinned by Handel’s most glorious music which will be performed by the leading Baroque musicians from the New Zealand Baroque Ensemble, led by Greg Squire and conducted by John Rosser.

· A new New Zealand opera, Michael Williams’ The Prodigal Child will be staged in The NBR New Zealand Opera’s first joint venture with the Taranaki Festival of the Arts and the Christchurch Arts Festival and backed by Creative New Zealand. It is a new initiative for the company to develop New Zealand opera works in partnership with the country’s growing arts festivals. This world premiere of Williams’ setting of Alan Riach’s intimate psychological drama, will be performed at both Festivals in 2003.

During 2003 The NBR New Zealand Opera will continue to develop its programme of activities for the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, the Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists and Outreach programmes in schools.

“In all that we undertake, we endeavour to make opera wonderful entertainment with extraordinary stories told in extraordinary ways that reach as many New Zealanders as possible,” says Reedijk. “It is our mission to bring a “wow” factor into our audience’s lives, and in 2003 we believe we might just do that!”

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