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It's a Wrap! Opera Tour Finishes on a High Note

It’s a Wrap! Opera Tour Finishes on a High Note

Conal Coad (Don
Pasquale), Lorina Gore (Norina), Ashley Catling (Ernesto)
Click to enlarge

Opera tour wraps up! Conal Coad (Don Pasquale), Lorina Gore (Norina), Ashley Catling (Ernesto) hit the high notes around New Zealand on The NBR New Zealand Opera’s National Tour of Don Pasquale which finished its 14-centre season this week.


11 September 2006


After 4,000km and 40 days on the road, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s National Tour of Don Pasquale wrapped up on Saturday night in New Plymouth, capping off a successful 14-centre tour that saw nearly 9,000 kiwis from Kerikeri to Invercargill enjoy opera in their own backyard. Donizetti’s comic opera proved an audience favourite around the country, with many of the 17 performances sold-out and yielding positive reviews.

With support from national sponsors – Creative New Zealand, The Southern Trust and Pub Charity – Don Pasquale was labeled the opera company’s first truly national tour, traveling further north and south than its two previous tours in 2003 and 2004. The five new centres were Kerikeri, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and Wanaka, while those enjoying return visits included North Shore, Rotorua, Tauranga, Wellington, Blenheim, Hastings, Wanganui and New Plymouth.

“Once again, we’ve been thrilled with the warmth of response and support from audiences and sponsors around New Zealand, to this our third tour,” said Aidan Lang, General Director, The NBR New Zealand Opera. “This clearly demonstrates there continues to be a thirst for opera around the country, and we are pleased to be able to deliver a professional touring production that takes opera beyond the main centres.”

The National Tour of Don Pasquale marked the 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. Coad was joined by a cast of New Zealand and international singers including Australian soprano Lorina Gore, English tenor Ashley Catling and two young New Zealand baritones, Andrew Conley and Philip Rhodes. At the musical helm The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Director of Music, Wyn Davies and Associate Conductor, Michael Vinten, conducted a live ensemble of players from the Vector Wellington Orchestra.

For the first time, the tour also included a series of Opera Outreach Workshops for local school students and free pre-show opera talks in each centre. Led by Don Pasquale’s Assistant Director, Jacqui Coates, with Philip Rhodes and repetiteur, David Kelly, around 240 students participated in the Opera Outreach workshops, designed to give an introduction to the world of opera beyond the confines of the classroom. Taking Don Pasquale as their inspiration, the students explored operatic themes, learned how opera singers use their voices, and attended a performance. The pre-show opera talks also proved popular and well patronized, with around 220 people attending one talk alone.

“Three years ago the opera company took the important step and returned to opera touring after more than a 25 year hiatus, so that more people could experience the magic of live opera,” explains Mr Lang. “The success of this latest tour is again one more step along the road towards fulfilling this ambition, and complements our mainstage seasons in Auckland and Wellington, as well as the range of concert performances and activities we continue to be closely associated with around the country. I’m confident the success of this tour will continue to ensure the future of an opera touring season is secured, and see us back on the road around New Zealand very soon.”


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