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Il trovatore: The international faces of opera

The international faces of opera

August, 2008
Media Release

The international faces of opera

Il trovatore is well known as the opera which requires the four best singers in the world in its principal roles. With artists from America, Russia, New Zealand and Korea (and an Australian conductor for good measure), Southern Opera has engaged four such artists from around the world to ensure audiences will be able to enjoy the full majesty of Verdi’s magnificent score.

Opera is universally considered the most extravagant art form to produce and can put huge demands on the human voice. Wherever possible, this Christchurch Company tries to engage New Zealanders for their productions but when the best New Zealanders are unavailable, importing top internationals is their only alternative. The principal artists featuring in Il trovatore come from diverse backgrounds and a variety of countries – an illustration of the truly global world of opera.

In the role of the vengeful gypsy ‘Azucena’ is Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Bocharova. With reports of her exceptional reviews travelling throughout America and Europe, it did not take long for Southern Opera’s Executive Chair, Christopher Doig to learn of her accomplishments. “Elena has performed the roles of Carmen, Dalila, Dido and Amneris for companies including Dayton Opera, Opera de Paris, New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera. She is widely praised for her vocal assurance and beauty of tone and we are very fortunate to have engaged her.”

Similarly, American tenor Carlo Scibelli is well known on the international circuit and has even featured in the Barbara Streisand movie “The mirror has two faces” as ‘the opera singer’. He has worked in many of the world’s great opera houses in productions including Madama Butterfly, Eugine Onegin, Carmen, Tosca, La traviata, La bohème, Otello and Lucia di Lammermoor. “The role of ‘Manrico’ requires a tenor of considerable substance and with Carlo on board, audiences are in for a real treat” said Mr Doig. Carlo Scibelli was recommended by Neil Rosenstein, the international tenor, who is a colleague of Chris Doig’s and the teacher of outstanding young New Zealand tenor James Rodgers who will sing ‘Tamino’ next year in a new production of Die Zauberflöte. “This is typically how singers are found, international contacts, international agencies, the beauty of ‘You Tube’ and emailed music enabling a very quick response which can be vital in the competitive market of international opera” says Doig.

One of New Zealand’s leading sopranos, Patricia Wright, will feature as Leonora. Her roles have included Madama Butterfly, Countess Nedda, Alice Ford and Liù and her performances in the Messiah, the Verdi Requiem, The Four Last Songs and a variety of cantatas, have met with widespread acclaim. This will be a role debut for one of our busiest and most respected singers.

Korean Seung-Wook Seong will portray the fourth principal character, ‘Il Conte di Luna’. Mr Doig was first alerted to the baritone’s considerable talent by famous Welsh tenor, Dennis O’Neill. Further enquiries led to a vehement recommendation by New Zealand’s own international diva Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. With his pedigree recommended by the very best, no time was lost in securing the rising star for this Christchurch production. “Seung-Wook is one of the world’s best young singers destined for international stardom,” said Mr Doig. “Kiri was
most enthusiastic about his abilities and we are thrilled to be able to feature him in this production”.

Il trovatore is a dark tale of love, vengeance and death with one of the most soaring and haunting musical scores in the repertoire, and with singers from around the globe, audiences are promised a truly international operatic experience.

Il trovatore will be conducted by Tom Woods and performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Tickets are available from Ticketek.
Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch, September 30, October 2, 4, 7, 9
Regent Theatre, Dunedin, Otago Festival of the Arts October 11


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