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2006 Season Brings National Voice for Opera

ISSUED BY THE NBR NEW ZEALAND OPERA

MEDIA RELEASE

20 October 2005


2006 Opera Season Brings a Truly National Voice for Opera


The NBR New Zealand Opera has announced its 2006 opera season programme – one that looks towards truly stamping the company as the “national” voice for professional opera in New Zealand.

On the heels of its successful Auckland and Wellington seasons of Don Giovanni and La Traviata this year, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s 2006 season looks to bring enchantment, wit and devilish drama to the opera stage! Overall throughout New Zealand, the curtain will rise on no fewer than 37 scheduled opera performances in 2006 including two mainstage productions and a first truly national tour of the country. In addition, the company joins with two other major arts organisations to present two significant opera concerts.

“As we move into our seventh year, we continue to be committed to delivering New Zealand audiences consistently high quality, professional opera – whether that be in our fully staged productions, on the road or on the concert platform. Our 2006 season fulfils this and continues our mission to take more opera to more New Zealanders,” says Alex Reedijk, General Director, The NBR New Zealand Opera.

“In 2006 we’re moving up a gear by committing to a truly national tour through New Zealand, that combined with our other significant initiatives - developing the future careers of New Zealand’s young opera talent through the PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists, working towards the long-term financial security of opera here via the New Zealand Opera Foundation, and the recent appointment of Wyn Davies as our inaugural Director of Music – strongly positions us as the national voice for our artform in New Zealand.”

The 2006 Opera Season

Highlights of the 2006 opera season are:

- Two mainstage productions for Auckland and Wellington - The NZI Winter Season of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (June-July) and The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Gounod’s Faust (September-October). Both productions will be fascinating imported works, capturing the essence of the magic, mystery and drama at a scale and splendour that both operas are renowned for.

- A return to national touring with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale sweeping into 14 centres countrywide during August-September. Bringing a blast of wit and warmth to winter, this new touring production marks the directing debut of one of New Zealand’s most esteemed opera singers – Conal Coad. The itinerary sees the tour head further north and south than previous tours of 2003 and 2004, and includes five new centres. The National Tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale will visit: Kerikeri, Auckland, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Wanaka, Greymouth, Hastings, Wanganui and New Plymouth. Coad will also perform the title role.

High Calibre Artists

As with the company’s previous seasons, a highlight of all the 2006 productions is the high calibre of New Zealand and international artists who will perform here - some making return visits and others in their New Zealand debuts.

Among them are some of the most renowned New Zealand opera names – Conal Coad, Rodney Macann, Helen Medlyn and Jared Holt - alongside several of our rising young stars - Kate Spence, James Harrison, Kristen Darragh and Philip Rhodes.

Notable overseas singers making their New Zealand debuts in include; English bass, Graeme Broadbent, who is a member of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; baritone, Richard Burkhard and soprano, Ana Camelia Stefanescu, who each enjoy careers with prestigious UK and European opera houses, respectively. Together, they perform leading roles in The NZI Winter Season of The Magic Flute.

New Zealand audiences can look forward to welcoming back Jaewoo Kim in the title role of The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Faust, in what will be a major role debut for him. A regular performer with Opera Australia, Mr Kim received high praise for his role as Ottavio in The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Don Giovanni this year. Alongside him, making her New Zealand debut will be stunning French soprano, Anne Sophie Duprels in the role of Marguerite.

Joining Conal Coad on the road for The National Tour of Don Pasquale, will be UK-based Australian soprano, Lorina Gore as Norina, and English tenor, Ashley Catling as Ernesto.

Opera conductors include; English conductor, Alistair Dawes, who has a long artistic association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and will conduct The Magic Flute. The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Director of Music, Wyn Davies, who will conduct Don Pasquale; and one of Europe’s finest musicians, the National Theatre of Prague’s current Music Director/Chief Conductor, Oliver von Dohnányi, who will lead Faust.

Opera Partnerships

In 2006, The NBR New Zealand Opera continues to work alongside other major arts organisations to present opera on the concert stage:

- In February with the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra presenting a special gala concert in Wellington, starring Dame Kiri and her close friend and world-renowned mezzo soprano, Frederica von Stade.
- In May, with the Auckland Philharmonia, presenting a concert performance of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle in Auckland.

“These partnerships follow up on our 2005 partnerships with the Auckland Festival and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in The Death of Klinghoffer; and Los Angeles Opera and the Canadian Opera Company with Don Giovanni and La Traviata, respectively,” says Reedijk.

Crucial funding partnerships also continue to ensure the financial viability of opera in New Zealand.

“It is largely due to the commitment of our key public funder – Creative New Zealand - that we are still in business today. Within their limited means Creative New Zealand strive to ensure we are funded as well as possible,”comments Reedijk. “However because opera remains the most expensive live artform to produce and bring to the stage, and with our very low capital base we remain reliant on our corporate sponsors – The NBR, NZI/IAG, Genesis Energy, Chapman Tripp and PricewaterhouseCoopers; as a well as individual opera goers throughout New Zealand. All this valuable and hard-earned support means that we are able to continue to bring wonderful opera stories to life in fabulous productions, for all New Zealanders to enjoy.”

A National Voice for Opera in New Zealand

The performance partnerships, a 2006 truly national tour and other key developmental initiatives The NBR New Zealand Opera have instigated and focused on developing over recent years, now strongly position the company as a leading arts organisation in New Zealand.

“Seven years on, the company has developed into one of New Zealand’s major performing arts organisations and as a natural leader in its field – akin to the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,”says Reedijk. “Not only are we committed to bringing great opera stories to the stage, we are dedicated to fostering the future development and evolution of opera here.”

ENDS

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