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Comic Opera Tours Further Than Before


20 October 2005

Comic Opera Tours Further Than Before

The NBR New Zealand Opera’s National Tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale will bring a blast of wit and warmth to winter next year when it sweeps through 14 centres nationwide in August and September.

Building on its two previously successful opera tours in 2003 and 2004, Don Pasquale heralds the opera company’s first truly national tour – heading further north and south than before and including five new centres. The tour will also mark the professional opera directing debut of one of New Zealand’s finest opera performers – Conal Coad – as well as an opportunity to hear him in the title role.

Audiences in Kerikeri, Auckland, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Wanaka, Greymouth, Hastings, Wanganui and New Plymouth can look forward to a new, effervescent production that will capture all the comedy and charm of Donizetti’s greatest score. Alongside Coad, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Director of Music, Wyn Davies, will lead a cast of New Zealand and international singers, accompanied by a live orchestral ensemble. Auckland designer John Verryt brings his usual clever mastery to the sets and costumes.

When rehearsals commence next year, Coad will be fresh from performing Don Pasquale at Garsington Opera in the UK. It’s a role that Donizetti could have written for the New Zealand bass, and is among a number of similar character roles for which Coad has become renowned around the world. New Zealand audiences will fondly remember his magnficient performances here as Leporello in the NBR New Zealand Opera’s Don Giovanni earlier this year, as well as in its 2002 production of Falstaff as the loveable rogue, Sir John Falstaff. Coad points out that the figure of the romantically ambitious, wealthy old Don Pasquale who has designs to marry a delicious young woman (Norina), is a popular operatic type and a theme found in other well-known operas such as Falstaff, The Barber of Seville and Der Rosenkavalier. In the case of Don Pasquale, however, trickery and comeuppance bring a scheming plot to its climax, with some wonderful Donizetti arias and ensembles along the way.

Such is his wealth of experience performing Don Pasquale in productions around Australia, the UK and in Israel, that Coad will be sure to bring fresh insight to this new production and he is relishing the opportunity to make his directing debut on home ground. However, he also explains this production will be a streamlined English-language version – something he and principal conductor, Wyn Davies were keen on, in presenting a comic opera piece.

“Don Pasquale is the perfect touring opera. It’s a lively comedy that moves along at a fair pace, so it’s important that the audience doesn’t get left behind!”says Coad. “It has an array of wonderful, amusing moments and to express these at their best is to do so in the language of our audience, so the immediacy isn’t lost. There’ll be good laughs, great numbers and time for supper afterwards!”

In line with The NBR New Zealand Opera’s tour philosophy of developing the talents of young opera artists are several burgeoning principal singers who will join the tour. Among them, performing the role of the beautiful Norina – the focus of the Don’s attention – will be UK-based Australian soprano, Lorina Gore. As Ernesto, the Don’s penniless but handsome nephew and Norina’s fiancée, will be English tenor, Ashley Catling.

Alex Reedijk, General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, says the company is delighted to be back on the road again taking professional opera performance beyond the main centres. In 2004 after two successful tours, the company took the decision to revert to a biennial touring model, which has enabled the 2006 tour to go further afield than previously.

This truly National Tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale will open at The Centre, Kerikeri on 1 August and finish on 9 September at the TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace, New Plymouth [Subs: full tour schedule follows].


The National Tour of Donizetti's DON PASQUALE
1 August to 9 September 2006

Kerikeri: The Centre at Kerikeri : Tuesday, 1 August : 7.30pm

Auckland: Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna: Saturday 5 August : 7.30pm

Rotorua: Civic Theatre, Rotorua Convention Centre: Monday, 7 August: 7.30pm

Tauranga: Baycourt Theatre: Wednesday 9 August: 7.30pm

Wellington: The Opera House: Saturday 12 August and Monday 14 August: 7.30pm

Blenheim: The Marlborough Centre: Wednesday 16 August and Thursday 17 August : 7.30pm

Christchurch: Isaac Theatre Royal: Saturday 19 August: 7.30pm

Dunedin: Westpac Mayfair Theatre: Tuesday 22 August: 7.30pm

Invercargill: Civic Theatre: Thursday 24 August: 7.30pm

Wanaka: Lake Wanaka Centre: Saturday, 26 August and Monday 28 August: 7.30pm

Greymouth: Regent Theatre: Thursday, 31 August: 7.30pm

Hastings: Hawke's Bay Opera House: Tuesday, 5 September: 7.30pm

Wanganui: Royal Wanganui Opera House: Thursday, 7 September: 7.30pm

New Plymouth: TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace: Saturday, 9 September: 7.30pm

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