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Image: PM Visits Opera As It Takes To The Road

ISSUED BY THE NBR NEW ZEALAND OPERA

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday 14 June 2004

OPERA TAKES TO THE ROAD


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Prime Minister, Helen Clark, with members of the Cosi fan tutte cast, from left: Benjamin Fifita Makisi, Stephanie Acraman, Katherine Wiles and Andrew Conley.

It's Opera for All as the New Zealand Post "Cosi fan tutte" tour takes to the road today for the start of a two-month, 14-centre nationwide tour of Mozart's flirtatious operatic masterpiece. The NBR New Zealand Opera's 32-strong cast, orchestra and crew head to Rotorua for the season opening at The Civic Theatre this Wednesday 16 June at 7.30pm. The tour will finish at the Hawke's Bay Opera House, Hastings on August 10.

Over the weekend Prime Minister, Helen Clark, tasted life behind the scenes when she visited the opera company's rehearsal venue in Auckland. Hosted by four of New Zealand's up-and-coming young opera stars - Stephanie Acraman, Andrew Conley, Benjamin Fifita Makisi and Katherine Wiles who all perform principal roles in Cosi fan tutte - Miss Clark got "hands-on" when she laced corsets on some of the sumptuous period costumes, fitted a wig, toured the set and finished with a cuppa in the Green Room with the cast and crew.

This is the second nationwide tour by The NBR New Zealand Opera. It follows the highly successful inaugural 2003 tour of "The Barber of Seville" which blazed a trail through 13 centres with around 17,500 people enjoying opera in their own backyard.

"Last year we said 'arrivederci' - we'll be back - and it's exciting to be on the road again with Opera for All!" says Alex Reedijk, General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera. "It's due to the generosity of New Zealand Post, The Southern Trust and loyal regional supporters that we are able to deliver opera to more people, closer to home. We hope that local audiences will take the opportunity to support us again as they did so wonderfully last year - and enjoy a damn fine night out!"

In 2005 The NBR New Zealand Opera envisages journeying further afield extending its South Island sweep to ensure the tour covers the full length and breadth of New Zealand from Kerikeri to Invercargill. During April, May and June 2005 a line up of 37 performances in 21 centres is planned.

"This will culminate as the best expression yet of our belief that opera is for all", says Alex Reedijk.

The New Zealand Post Cosi fan tutte tour travels to Rotorua, Gisborne, Tauranga, Auckland, North Shore, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Blenheim, Nelson, Greymouth, Wellington and Hastings.

Ends.

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