Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Michael Hurst relishes new role as opera director

MEDIA RELEASE

Issued by The NBR New Zealand Opera

14 April 2008


Michael Hurst relishes new role as opera director


Hansel and Gretel director Michael Hurst

*****

Michael Hurst is no stranger to New Zealand audiences. He has brought intelligence, energy and charisma to classical theatre, fringe theatre, musicals and cabaret, movies and television dramas for decades. Now, for the first time, he is directing opera – The NBR New Zealand Opera’s 15 centre nationwide tour of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

Hurst says he is excited about tackling his first opera but will bring no preconceptions to it. “While I’ve done lots of musicals, I’m basically coming from an acting perspective,” he says. “For me opera is highly ritualistic drama, with similar disciplines to really good Shakespeare and classical drama. The major difference is that opera is driven by the music. I’ll be giving the singers a good run for their money – I’ll be wanting to move them all over the stage,” he says.

Alongside Hurst is his colleague of over 25 years, designer John Verryt. Renowned for his dynamic, stylish design, Verryt’s concept for Hansel and Gretel uses tried and trusted techniques, but in a modern, theatrical way, the music playing a pivotal role in his imagery.

The century-old take on popular Grimm fairytale Hansel and Gretel is ever true today, as the audience follows Hansel and Gretel along the overgrown path from childhood innocence to adult awareness. General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang says, “On the surface it’s just a popular fairytale, but Hansel and Gretel is an opera with real depth, working on different levels. This is fairytale theatre, but with a real kick to it. It draws the audience in and gives adults and children a rewarding and memorable experience. It will enchant, and it will make you think.”

“This new production of Hansel and Gretel is sung in English,” he adds, “and in our commitment to showcasing New Zealand talent, boasts an entirely New Zealand cast and creative team. We are also proud to be touring Hansel and Gretel to 15 centres, from Kerikeri to Invercargill. And in each centre, as part of an ongoing initiative to introduce more children to opera, vocal creative workshops will be held in local schools.”

Returning from overseas to play Hansel and Gretel are two of New Zealand’s rising stars, mezzo-soprano Anna Pierard and soprano Ana James. Leading mezzo-soprano Helen Medlyn, who is highly regarded both in New Zealand and overseas, performs the roles of Witch and Mother. Graduate Emerging Artist James Harrison returns following an excellent portrayal of Valentin in 2006’s Faust to play Father, and two of The NBR New Zealand Opera’s current PwC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists, Barbara Graham and Barbara Paterson, share the role of Sandman/Dew Fairy.

Sharing the conducting are Tecwyn Evans, who has worked with many of the well known British opera companies and festivals over the past decade, and The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Michael Vinten. And in a new collaboration, core and associate players from the Christchurch Symphony join Hansel and Gretel for the South Island leg, while the North Island centres feature associate players from the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

The National Tour of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

KERIKERI INVERCARGILL

The Centre at Kerikeri Civic Theatre

Sunday 29 June, 6.00pm Friday 25 July, 7.30pm

Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $41; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.centakeri.com 0800 200 411 Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

NORTH SHORE WANAKA

Bruce Mason Centre Lake Wanaka Centre

Thu 3 July, 7.30pm and Sat 5 July, 7.30pm Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 July, 7.30pm

Tickets from $48; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.ticketmaster.co.nz 0800 111 999 Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

MANUKAU GREYMOUTH

TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre Regent Theatre

Monday 7 July, 7.30pm Friday 1 August, 7.30pm

Tickets from $48; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253 Bookings: www.regentgreymouth.co.nz

03 768 0920

WANGANUI HASTINGS

Royal Wanganui Opera House Hawke’s Bay Opera House

Wednesday 9 July, 7.30pm Wednesday 6 August, 7.30pm

Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253 Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

WELLINGTON NEW PLYMOUTH

The Opera House TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace

Sat 12 July, 7.30pm and Mon 14 July, 6.00pm Friday 8 August, 7.30pm

Tickets from $49.50; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $48; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538

BLENHEIM ROTORUA

Marlborough Civic Theatre Civic Theatre, Rotorua Convention Centre

Thursday 17 July, 7.30pm Monday 11 August, 7.30pm

Tickets from $51; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253 Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538

CHRISTCHURCH TAURANGA

Isaac Theatre Royal Baycourt Theatre

Sat 19 July, 7.30pm and Mon 21 July, 6.00pm Wednesday 13 August, 6.00pm

Tickets from $50; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $50; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

TIMARU

Theatre Royal

Wednesday 23 July, 7.30pm

Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25

Bookings: Newmans Pianos, 03 688 5597

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

Kid Lit: Lost Mansfield Story Discovered At Wellington Library

Previously undiscovered letters and a story written by a young Katherine Mansfield were recently unearthed in Wellington City Library’s archives by a local author researching a book about the famous writer. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland