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Opera brings education benefits

Thu 21 August 2014


The involvement of young artists and students in and around the NZ Opera production of Don Giovanni has been delivering benefits in music, technology and drama education in Auckland this week, and will do so again through September. Some of the initiatives will be repeated in Wellington in advance of the opera’s season in the capital during October.

Students from Dilworth School, Glen Eden Intermediate, Tamaki College, and Manukau Institute of Technology are attending workshops this week involving set and costume design, directing, and stagecraft at the opera company’s creative hub, known as the Onehunga Technical Centre. Groups working with set and costume design will display their creations in the Aotea Centre during the season, and will enjoy a backstage tour and attendance at the Dress Rehearsal.

“The NZ Opera production of Don Giovanni, which opens at Auckland’s Aotea centre on 18 September, is the perfect vehicle to introduce people of all ages to the glory of opera,” says NZ Opera general director Stuart Maunder, who is among the tutors.

A highlight for workshop participants on Friday 22nd company’s recently announced Freemasons Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists, Filipe Manu.

With a Tongan family background, at 21 years of age Filipe is the youngest singer to be selected for this internship programme. As a former Dilworth student, Filipe will be hoping to inspire current students interested in classical singing, as did fellow Dilworth ‘Old Boy’ Cameron Barclay before him. Cameron, a NZ Opera 2010 Freemasons Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist, has since been touring internationally with ‘The Ten Tenors’.

With support from the ASB Community Trust, the company is offering guided tours and bespoke workshops to first-time opera goers and local community groups in Onehunga. Following on from this engagement, participants are invited to register for tickets to one of the performances. The enthusiastic response, generating repeat and new interest from several organisations, is testament to the value of this initiative.

“With our active educational outreach, the company is enjoying huge engagement with youth and communities,” says Stuart Maunder. “This energy is reflected in the extraordinary number of young

Kiwis currently training and performing in opera throughout the world. Many of them have been propelled and nurtured by New Zealand Opera in programmes such as those running with Don Giovanni.”

The company will announce its 2015 season shortly after the curtain falls on the Wellington season of Don Giovanni.


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