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Devilish Opera Ignites Tomorrow!

Devilish Opera Ignites Tomorrow!

Stirring tunes and dark drama await Wellington audiences tomorrow night, when the Genesis Energy Spring Season of Faust bursts on to the Westpac St James stage. Gounod's world-renowned opera tells the famous tale of the man who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for youth and love, and the devastating consequences that result. The NBR New Zealand Opera presents a bold and dramatic new production, transporting audiences to a surreal, mystical world filled with temptation, opulence and manipulation.

Sumptuous and powerfully dramatic, this production is led by English director Mike Ashman; with French conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak bringing Gounod's electrifying music to life and New Zealand design team: John Parker (sets), Elizabeth Whiting (costumes) and Rob Peters (lighting). Making his debut in the title role is Australian-based Korean tenor Jaewoo Kim. Russian bass - and Grammy Award nominee - Mikhail Svetlov sings the demonic Mcphistoph'¨s, a role which demands vivid acting and sonorous vocal ability. Stunning French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels performs as Marguerite - a victim of Faust's ultimate desire. Several fine New Zealand singers take leading roles including Helen Medlyn, Jared Holt, James Harrison, Kristen Darragh, and Malcolm Ede. Joining in performing Gounod's resplendent, sweeping score full of galvanizing choruses and emotionally-charged melodies - including the famous Solider's Chorus and the Jewel Song - is the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus of 50-strong voices, accompanied by the orchestral forces of the Vector Wellington Orchestra.

Director Mike Ashman's fresh insight into this classic tale of good overcoming evil, includes moments of grand spectacle with rousing choruses, contrasted with moments of intense and poignant intimacy. Transcending two time periods, Ashman has created a decadent, illusionary realm that weaves for Faust; where the power of the devil is omnipresent throughout and the boundaries between reality and fantasy become blurred.

"As the instigator, Mc©phistophs appears to orchestrate the action at all times, as if he's playing with human beings," says Ashman. "He manipulates everyone. However as powerful as he is, he has one weak spot: love. It diminishes his power, and truly unsettles him to the core. However dark Faust may be, love really does conquer in the end, in the true sense of the word."

The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Faust is at the Westpac St James Theatre, Wellington from 16 - 23 September, and then at the Aotea Centre, The Edge, Auckland from 5 - 14 October. The Opening Night performances in each centre are gala charity performances in support of the Genesis Oncology Trust. Tickets are subject to a voluntary donation with all proceeds going to the Trust.


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