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350 performers cover the country

350 performers cover the country

Theatres in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland are ringing to some of the world’s most famous music in the next week, as our national opera company works on performances simultaneously in all three centres. It is New Zealand’s busiest week of opera ever, says Steve Crowcroft, technical manager of NZ Opera, involving some 350 singers, musicians and support staff nationwide.

The most performed opera in the world, La traviata, fills the stage at Auckland’s Aotea Centre on Saturday (21st), then again next Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with grand opera - an impressive and glittering set, colourful costumes, an international and local cast, and the orchestral forces of the Auckland Philharmonia.

Meantime, perhaps the most loved and heart-rending of Puccini’s operas, La bohème, is being rehearsed while its towering scenery is transported from Auckland to Christchurch for a season which opens on 15th July, accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. The Christchurch Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, and our children’s chorus, continues their rehearsals which began as far back as April.

Orchestra Wellington continues its build-up to the opening night of La traviata in the Capital on 11 July, as design and vocal workshops take place. All the while, artistic and staging staff criss-cross the country, along with conductors, directors, designers and divas.

By the time the curtain comes down on La bohème in Christchurch (18 July) and La traviata in Wellington (19 July) over 20,000 people would have enjoyed these fresh and vibrant productions of famous operas during an unprecedented month of music.

Still to come later this year is the company’s latest, modern incarnation of Don Giovanni with its vibrant setting of contemporary Spanish street-life, in all its colour and character.

“The art form and the company are in vigorous, creative good health,” says NZ Opera general director Stuart Maunder, who has plans to bring opera to many other parts of the country. “When we returned fully staged opera to Christchurch last year, the company was widely praised for its initiative and determination. The concentrated effort being made again this year to deliver top class, accessible opera across the country brings a taste of the artistic entertainment we want to offer even more widely in the years to come”.

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