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French diva heads stellar cast

13 August 2008

French diva heads stellar cast

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˙“That wonderful operatic actress Anne Sophie Duprels is utterly heartrending... and her singing was ravishingly musical.” (Rusalka‚ Grange Park Opera, 2008, Telegraph)

“[As Jen fa] Anne Sophie Duprels touches us with her pain, fragility and ardour. Tom Randle's Laca shines out. A spine-chilling evening.” (Jen fa, Opera Holland Park, 2007, Evening Standard)

French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels is young and beautiful; her vocal prowess is beyond reproach; and she is regularly lauded for being as fine an actor as she is a singer.

On Saturday 20 September Anne Sophie Duprels heads an esteemed cast to open The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Genesis Energy Spring Season of Jan ek’s Jen fa. This is the Southern Hemisphere premiere of the widely acclaimed Glyndebourne Festival production. Glyndebourne sets the benchmark to which opera companies around the world aspire and this is the first time such a production has been to New Zealand.

The title role of Jen fa is a big, challenging part, and Anne Sophie Duprels has recently shown that she is more than capable of doing it justice. Rave reviews followed her portrayal of Jen fa in the 2007 season at Opera Holland Park in London.

“Jen fa is a very real woman,” Ms Duprels says. “It’s one of the things I love about this opera – it’s about real people, about their traumas, the choices they make, the difficulties of love. It’s also about being able to forgive: to transform what could kill you into something else and to try to go on living. It would be easier for Jen fa to die after her child is killed, but she goes on, and that makes her an amazingly strong character. She’s a victim, but she’s also the one who forgives. It’s a very emotional role and, being a mother myself, it makes the journey even more emotional.

“Acting is as important to me as singing,” she adds, “and I feel at home with passion and drama. When you love acting, every challenge is a joy.”

In principal roles alongside Anne Sophie Duprels are American tenor Tom Randle as Laca and New Zealand soprano Margaret Medlyn as the Kostelni ka. Aidan Lang, General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, says these three singers make a formidable team. “Jen fa is a tightly written, very theatrical opera, whose success relies to a great extent on singers who not only can sing well, but also can act well. Anne Sophie and Tom recently performed these roles at Opera Holland Park and won universal acclaim for their portrayals. And New Zealand audiences are well aware of Margaret Medlyn’s singing and acting abilities. It’s almost as if the role of the Kostelni ka was written especially with Margaret in mind,” he says.

Composed in 1904 by Czech composer Leo Jan ek, Jen fa is a gripping tale, a powerful statement of loss and redemption; raw and harrowing, yet compassionate and uplifting. Packing a phenomenal emotional punch, Jen fa is an opera with great depth which will deliver an unforgettable theatrical and musical experience.

The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Genesis Energy Spring Season of Jen fa

Opera in Three Acts by Leo Jan ek; Libretto by the Composer from a story by Gabriella Preissov

Glyndebourne Festival production

Conductor˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Wyn Davies

Director ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Nikolaus Lehnhoff

Restage Director˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Ashley Dean

Designer˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Tobias Hoheisel

Lighting Designer˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Paul Hastie

Jen fa˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Anne Sophie Duprels

Kostelni ka˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Margaret Medlyn

Laca ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Tom Randle

teva ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Jamie Allen

Grandmother Buryjovk ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Helen Medlyn

Foreman˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ John Antoniou

Karolka ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Kate Lineham+

Mayor ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Richard Green

Mayor’s Wife ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Carmel Carroll

Barena˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Julia Booth*

Jano˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Emma Roxburgh+

Maid˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙ Susie Ewart+

With the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus

Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Vector Wellington Orchestra

*PWC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist; +The NBR New Zealand Opera Resident Artist

Sung in Czech with English surtitles, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s Genesis Energy Spring Season of Jen fa opens in Auckland on Saturday 20 September and in Wellington on Saturday 11 October.

The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Jen fa

AUCKLAND – Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®

Sat 20, Thu 25 and Sat 27 September (7:30pm), Tue 23 September (6:30pm)

WELLINGTON – St James Theatre

Sat 11, Thu 16 and Sat 18 October (7:30pm), Tue 14 October (6:00pm)

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

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

The NBR New Zealand Opera receives core funding from Creative New Zealand.

The Spring Season of Jen fa is sponsored by Genesis Energy.


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