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Opera takes to the road with Hansel and Gretel

Media Release
Issued by The NBR New Zealand Opera
23 June 2008

Opera takes to the road with a production for all ages



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NBR NZ Opera Hansel & Gretel Cast - photo Adrian Malloch

*****

From next week, theatres up and down the country will be home to a bewitching production as The NBR New Zealand Opera takes to the road with its National Tour of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.

Kicking off in Kerikeri on Sunday 29 June, the all New Zealand cast and crew will travel more than 3,800 kilometres over 50 days, visiting 15 cities throughout the country: Kerikeri, North Shore, Manukau, Wanganui, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch, Timaru, Invercargill, Wanaka, Greymouth, Hastings, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Tauranga.


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Hansel and Gretel on the road photo Adrian Malloch

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General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang, says that on the surface Hansel and Gretel is just a popular fairytale, but it’s an opera with real depth, working on different levels. “This is fairytale theatre,” he says, “but with a real kick to it. It’s enchanting, but it’s also thought-provoking. It’s an opera that draws the audience in. Theatrically, musically and visually, it’s rich and absorbing and will provide adults and children alike with a memorable experience.”

He adds that Hansel and Gretel is the perfect introductory opera for those who haven’t experienced the thrill of the artform before. “The opera is sung in English; it’s adapted from a story we all know; there are several well known songs and orchestral passages scattered throughout; the story line moves at a fast pace and it’s not a long opera, at 1 hour 45 minutes plus interval.”

Taking Hansel and Gretel north, south, east and west, is a professional ensemble of talented young faces alongside experienced, seasoned performers. Making his long-awaited opera directing debut is acclaimed theatre director and actor Michael Hurst. Joining him is John Verryt, renowned for his dynamic, stylish design. 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 abroad, performs the roles of the Witch and the Mother.

Graduate Emerging Artist James Harrison returns following an excellent portrayal of Valentin in 2006’s Faust to play the 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 the Sandman/the 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


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The Witch strikes terror into the children. Photo Adrian Malloch

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The National Tour of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

KERIKERI NORTH SHORE
The Centre at Kerikeri Bruce Mason Centre
Sunday 29 June, 6.00pm Thu 3 July, 7.30pm and Sat 5 July, 7.30pm
Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $48; children 12 and under: $25
Bookings: www.centakeri.com 0800 200 411 Bookings: www.ticketmaster.co.nz 0800 111 999

MANUKAU WANGANUI
TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre Royal Wanganui Opera House
Monday 7 July, 7.30pm Wednesday 9 July, 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.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

WELLINGTON BLENHEIM
The Opera House Marlborough Civic Theatre
Sat 12 July, 7.30pm and Mon 14 July, 6.00pm Thursday 17 July, 7.30pm
Tickets from $49.50; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $51; children 12 and under: $25
Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

CHRISTCHURCH TIMARU
Isaac Theatre Royal Theatre Royal
Sat 19 July, 7.30pm and Mon 21 July, 6.00pm Wednesday 23 July, 7.30pm
Tickets from $50; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25
Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 Bookings: Newmans Pianos, 03 688 5597

INVERCARGILL WANAKA
Civic Theatre Lake Wanaka Centre
Friday 25 July, 7.30pm Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 July, 7.30pm
Tickets from $41; 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

GREYMOUTH HASTINGS
Regent Theatre Hawke’s Bay Opera House
Friday 1 August, 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.regentgreymouth.co.nz Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253
03 768 0920

NEW PLYMOUTH ROTORUA
TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace Civic Theatre, Rotorua Convention Centre
Friday 8 August, 7.30pm Monday 11 August, 7.30pm
Tickets from $48; children 12 and under: $25 Tickets from $40; children 12 and under: $25
Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538 Bookings: www.ticketek.co.nz 0800 842 538

TAURANGA
Baycourt Theatre
Wednesday 13 August, 6.00pm
Tickets from $50; children 12 and under: $25
Bookings: www.ticketdirect.co.nz 0800 484 253

ENDS

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