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Opera Romp Takes To The Road

1 August 2006

Opera Romp Takes To The Road

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Opera on Tour: Don Pasquale (Conal Coad), Norina (Lorina Gore) and Ernesto (Ashley Catling) all take to the road this week in the National Tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale presented by The NBR New Zealand Opera. Photo: Dean Treml

The NBR New Zealand Opera takes to the road this week with a lively opera romp that is certain to bring a blast of wit and warmth to 14-centres nationwide this winter. The National Tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale opens tonight at The Centre in Kerikeri to a sell-out crowd.

Over the next seven weeks theatres up and down the country will resound to the sparkling music of Donizetti’s comic opera performed by an international and New Zealand opera cast, and live orchestra. Audiences can look forward to a new effervescent production that captures all the romance and charm of Donizetti’s score.

In the title role is one of New Zealand’s finest international opera performers, Conal Coad, also marking his directing debut with this production. The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Director of Music, Wyn Davies, and Associate Conductor Michael Vinten share the conductor’s duties. Auckland designer, John Verryt, brings his clever mastery to the production’s design with sumptuous sets and costumes.

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Cast and creative team members of the NBR New Zealand Opera bring a blast of wit and warmth to winter when the National Tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale head to 14-centres from Kerikeri to Invercargill this week. (Standing, l-r): Conal Coad, Phillip Rhodes, Andrew Conley, Rick Leckinger, Ashley Catling. (Seated, l-r): Wyn Davies, Jacqueline Coats, Lorina Gore. Photo: Dean Treml

Coad says that Don Pasquale will have wide appeal, attracting both seasoned and first-time opera goers.

“Don Pasquale’s great attraction is its terrific music and amusing storyline,” he says. “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 theme found in other well-known operas. However, in this case, trickery and comeuppance bring a scheming plot to its climax, with some wonderful arias and ensembles along the way!”

In line with the opera company’s philosophy of developing the talents of young opera artists are several burgeoning singers joining Coad on stage. Among them; UK-based Australian soprano, Lorina Gore, as the gorgeous Norina; and English tenor, Ashley Catling as Norina’s fiancé, Ernesto. Two of New Zealand’s most promising young opera singers, Andrew Conley and Phillip Rhodes will share the role of Dr Malatesta.

“Don Pasquale is the perfect touring opera,” says Coad. “We’ve done some judicious pruning to make it faster, funnier and a more finely honed operatic experience. It’s a lively comedy that moves along at a fair pace and we’re singing it in English so the audience doesn’t get left behind with the array of wonderful, amusing moments. To express these at their best is to do so in the language of our audience so the immediacy isn’t lost. It’ll be a fun night at the opera and people won’t have to go too far to see it!”

Building on The NBR New Zealand Opera’s two previously successful opera tours in 2003 and 2004, the National Tour of Don Pasquale heads further north and south than before, including five new centres. Following tonight’s opening in Kerikeri, the tour heads to North Shore, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Wanaka, Greymouth, Hastings, Wanganui and New Plymouth. [full tour schedule follows].


Kerikeri The Centre at Kerikeri Tuesday 1 August 7.30pm
North Shore Bruce Mason Centre 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 7.30pm
Monday 14 August 7.30pm
Blenheim The Marlborough Centre Wednesday 16 August 7.30pm
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 7.30pm
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 Saturday 9 September 7.30pm


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