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Timothy West To Star In & Direct HMS Pinafore

Timothy West To Star In & Direct, The Gilbert & Sullivan
Sea-Faring Musical Romp – HMS Pinafore.

Following a hugely successful tour of the UK and Ireland, Timothy West takes the Carl Rosa Company on an adventure across two New Zealand cities, with his magnificent new production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s popular comic opera, HMS Pinafore. The New Zealand tour of HMS Pinafore will perform in Auckland (Civic Theatre, November 11-14) and Wellington (Westpac St James November 18-20).

Timothy West joined the Carl Rosa Company in 2003 to direct their new production of HMS Pinafore, making his Gilbert & Sullivan directorial debut. Throughout his highly prestigious and prolific career as an actor - on stage, screen and radio - West has also worked as a director for both theatre and musical programmes. In the early 1980s he was appointed as Artistic Director of the Old Vic Theatre, London - where he played the title role in the highly acclaimed production of King Lear last year - and in 1990 he became Associate Director of the Bristol Old Vic Co.

HMS Pinafore premiered in 1878 at the Opera Comique in London, and became Gilbert & Sullivan’s first smash hit, enjoying a very successful run of 571 performances. Satirising the snobbery and hypocrisy of the English social system of its day, HMS Pinafore is a comic tale of love, class pretensions and mistaken identities. Questioning the integrity of the ruling elite and exposing the duplicitous motives of leaders of power, this 125-year-old comedy still has a remarkable resonance today in the light of contemporary political culture.

In 1997, Peter Mulloy together with Musical Director Wyn Davies, successfully re-launched Carl Rosa Opera, Britain’s foremost touring Opera Company, which was originally established in 1873. Over the past five years the company has built a high reputation, both nationally and internationally, for its authentic, ‘traditional style’ productions presented with a fresh approach for contemporary audiences. This new production of HMS Pinafore follows the company’s hugely successful tours of The Mikado (which delighted New Zealand audiences in 2001), Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, Yeomen of the Guard, The Gondoliers and Die Fledermaus.

HMS Pinafore is directed by Timothy West, who also does double duty in the role of Sir Joseph Potter, and features musical direction by Martin Handley. The Carl Rosa Company features twenty-five singers, and a twenty-four-piece orchestra. The cast also includes Graham Stone as Dick Deadeye, Anne Bourne as Josephine and Beverly Klein as Little Buttercup. With designs and costumes by leading film designer, Christine Edzard whose credits include the Oscar-winning film Little Dorrit; and The Woman in White, Amistad, Oscar & Lucinda for television; and Tales of Beatrix Potter for the Royal Opera House; with lighting by James Whiteside.

Tickets on-sale through Ticketek from Monday, 13 September.

Tour Dates

Auckland Civic Theatre Thursday, 11 November – Sunday, 14 November

Wellington Westpac St James Thursday, 18 November – Saturday, 20 November


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