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Hot international stars take leads in La Bohème

MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by The NBR New Zealand Opera

31 March 2008


Hot international stars take lead roles in La Bohème

Opera stars ANTOINETTE HALLORAN and JESUS GARCIA are taking the opera world by storm. Soon they will unleash their dynamic stage presence on New Zealand audiences when they perform the roles of Mimì and Rodolfo in The NBR New Zealand Opera’s forthcoming season of La Bohème.

Australian soprano Antoinette Halloran has been hailed as opera’s hottest property across the Tasman since making her Opera Australia debut five years ago. She is at the forefront of the new breed of exciting young opera stars, with her combination of gorgeous voice, acting prowess, ravishing looks, and onstage energy.

When Antoinette Halloran makes her NBR New Zealand Opera debut in the role of Mimì, she will be fresh from performing the role in February/March with Opera Australia. “Puccini is my favourite composer,” she says, “so to sing any of his heroines is an absolute joy. Mimì has so much heart and humanity. She’s no shrinking violet yet she has such strength, such integrity – it’s an honour to play her. And for me, the key to the role is to make her so enchanting to audiences that when she dies the loss is very great. Even though I’ve seen Bohème probably 20 times,” she adds, “I still get a shock when Mimì dies. It’s a very beautiful death – she just slips away.”

American tenor Jesus Garcia has also become one of opera’s most sought-after rising stars, possessing an impressive voice and considerable theatrical talent as well as striking good looks. In 2003, at the age of 27, he made the headlines playing Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème on Broadway, winning a Tony Award and being hailed for “effectively displaying the sensuous Latin timbre and instinctive pathos that Puccini's writing implies” [New York Times]. Five years later he’s relishing reviving the role for New Zealand audiences.

Joining Antoinette Halloran and Jesus Garcia in the principal roles of this new production is a similarly exciting and talented line-up. Australian soprano Tiffany Speight, who was lauded by critics and audiences in 2006 when she performed Pamina in The Magic Flute, returns to play Musetta. Polish baritone Marcin Bronikowski, who was described by The Sunday Mail as “outstanding... a tantalising world-class baritone” during his 2007 performances in A Masked Ball for State Opera of South Australia, makes his New Zealand debut as Marcello. New Zealander Robert Tucker, a recent graduate of the Australian Opera Studio plays Schaunard, and The NBR New Zealand Opera’s 2007-2008 PwC Dame Malvina Major Young Artist Wade Kernot plays Colline.

Puccini’s La Bohème is arguably the most popular of all operas. Much more than just another tragic love story, it is a timeless celebration of youthful rites of passage, the proletarian struggle against poverty and the artist’s quest for integrity. The story of Mimì and Rodolfo is captivating and moving, and this new production, with its freshness, energy and modern perspective will give audiences a memorable theatrical experience.

The NBR New Zealand Opera Winter Season of La Bohème

Opera in Four Acts by Giacomo Puccini; Libretto by Giuseppe Giocosa and Luigi Illica

Conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak

Director Patrick Nolan

Set Designer Ralph Myers

Costume Designer Elizabeth Whiting

Lighting Designer Bernie Tan

Assistant Director Steven Anthony Whiting

Mimì Antoinette Halloran

Rodolfo Jesus Garcia

Musetta Tiffany Speight

Marcello Marcin Bronikowski

Schaunard Robert Tucker

Colline Wade Kernot

Alcindoro Richard Green

Benoit Roger Wilson (Wellington)

Brian McKay (Auckland)

Parpignol Michael Gray*

Customs Sergeant Matthew Landreth*

Customs Officer Hadleigh Adams*

With the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus

Accompanied by Vector Wellington Orchestra (Wgtn) and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Akld)

PwC Dame Malvina Major Young Artist / *PwC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist

Sung in Italian with English surtitles, The NBR New Zealand Opera Winter Season of La Bohème opens in Wellington on Saturday 10 May and in Auckland on Thursday 29 May.

The NBR New Zealand Opera Winter Season of La Bohème

WELLINGTON – St James Theatre

Sat 10 May, Thu 15 May, Sat 17 May (7:30pm); Tue 13 May (6:00pm)

AUCKLAND – Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®

Thu 29 May, Sat 31 May, Thu 5 June, Sat 7 June (7:30pm); Tue 3 June (1:00pm)

Single Tickets: $49.50 to $159.50; Concessions available. Service fees apply.

Bookings: Ticketek outlets nationwide, Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or www.ticketek.co.nz. Bookings also at The NBR NZ Opera Box Office: Tel (09) 379 4068 or Tel (04) 499 8343.
Further information at www.nzopera.com

ENDS

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