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Classic Opera On Now

A classic opera is brought back to life

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NBR NZ Opera La Boheme Tiffany Speight as Musetta and Marcin Bronikowski as Marcello


Puccini’s La Bohème, arguably the most popular of all operas, gets a face lift in 2008. The NBR New Zealand Opera’s new production sees a vibrant cast and creative team bring this timeless classic back to life in a fresh and stylish way.

Heading the creative team and approaching Puccini from a modern perspective are dynamic Australians Patrick Nolan (director) and Ralph Myers (set designer). “Our concept is driven by a desire to illuminate the story in a way which connects the past to who we are as a society and culture now,” says Nolan. “The time period has been moved from 1830 to 21st century Paris so our production presents a world that contemporary audiences will recognise and relate to.” In keeping with this modernisation, New Zealand’s esteemed costume designer Elizabeth Whiting has created a range of sharp and imaginative costumes that place the characters in the Paris of today.

To realise this innovative direction, an outstanding cast has been secured, led by Opera Australia’s sensational star Antoinette Halloran as Mimì. Fellow Australian, Tiffany Speight, returns to play Musetta after her acclaimed role of Pamina in 2006’s The Magic Flute. And the new glamour boy on the international opera circuit, tenor Jesus Garcia, who starred on Broadway in Baz Luhrmann’s La Bohème, plays Rodolfo.

General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang is thrilled with the cast and creative team the Company has lined up for this new production. “ La Bohème is an opera about young people,” he says, “so we wanted to secure an exciting, youthful cast and creative team who would, through an injection of freshness and energy and a contemporary perspective, create a memorable theatrical showpiece for audiences.”

La Bohème is 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. In Puccini’s tour de force, audiences get the whole package – the tortured relationships, the resonant characters made famous by the likes of Melba and Caruso, Gheorghiu and Pavarotti, and the magnificent arias. Whether you are a Puccini enthusiast, attending an opera for the first time, or just a sucker for love, the story of Mimì and Rodolfo will totally captivate you.

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.

The NBR New Zealand Opera Winter Season of La Bohème

Opera in Four Acts by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Giuseppe Giocosa and Luigi Illica

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

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 the Vector Wellington Orchestra (Wellington) and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (Auckland)

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.


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