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Comic Opera Tours Further Than Before

3 May 2006

Comic Opera Tours Further Than Before

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New Zealand’s own Conal Coad in the title role of The NBR New Zealand Opera’s National Tour of Don Pasquale – August/September 2006.

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

Building on its two previously successful opera tours, Don Pasquale heads further north and south than before, including five new centres. The tour also marks the professional opera directing debut of one of New Zealand’s finest opera performers – Conal Coad – as well as the opportunity to hear him in the title role.

With the support from national sponsors – Creative New Zealand, The Southern Trust and Pub Charity – audiences in Kerikeri, North Shore, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Wanaka, Greymouth, Hastings, Wanganui and New Plymouth can look forward to a new, effervescent production that captures all the comedy and charm of Donizetti’s score.

Alongside Coad, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Director of Music, Wyn Davies and Associate Conductor (Wellington), Michael Vinten, will lead a cast of New Zealand and international singers, accompanied by a live orchestral ensemble of players from the Vector Wellington Orchestra. Auckland designer John Verryt brings his usual clever mastery to the production’s design with sumptuous sets and costumes.

When rehearsals commence in mid-July, 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.

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 different productions around Australia, the UK and in Israel, that Coad will be sure to bring fresh insight to this new production and he relishes the opportunity to be making his professional 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 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.

Two of New Zealand’s most promising young opera talents also take to the stage. Andrew Conley and Phillip Rhodes, both former PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists, will share the role of Dr Malatesta. Conley – who has performed in the opera company’s two previous tours - returns home to New Zealand having recently completed post-graduate opera studies at the Royal College of Music, London. New Zealand-based Phillip Rhodes recently won the prestigious Lockwood Aria Competition, and is making a name for himself around the country in both opera and on the concert platform.

The 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)


Presented by The NBR New Zealand Opera


Kerikeri: The Centre at Kerikeri
Tuesday 1 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: At Venue 0800 200 411

North Shore: Bruce Mason Centre
Saturday 5 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (09) 307 5000

Rotorua: Civic Theatre, Rotorua Convention Centre
Monday 7 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (07) 350 2244

Tauranga: Baycourt Theatre
Wednesday 9 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: TicketDirect 0800 484 253

Wellington: The Opera House
Saturday 12 August, 7.30pm
Monday 14 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (04) 384 3840

Blenheim: The Marlborough Centre
Wednesday 16 August 7.30pm
Thursday 17 August 7.30pm
Bookings: TicketDirect 0800 224 224

Christchurch: Isaac Theatre Royal
Saturday 19 August 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (03) 377 8899

Dunedin: Westpac Mayfair Theatre
Tuesday 22 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (03) 477 8597

Invercargill: Civic Theatre
Thursday 24 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: At Venue (03) 211 1692

Wanaka: Lake Wanaka Centre
Saturday 26 August, 7.30pm

Monday 28 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: i-Site (03) 443 1233

Greymouth: Regent Theatre
Thursday 31 August, 7.30pm
Bookings: i-Site (03) 768 5101

Hastings: Hawke's Bay Opera House
Tuesday 5 September, 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (06) 835 1059

Wanganui: Royal Wanganui Opera House
Thursday 7 September, 7.30pm
Bookings: At Venue (06) 349 0511

New Plymouth: TSB Theatre
Saturday 9 September, 7.30pm
Bookings: Ticketek (06) 759 0021


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