A time to reflect
Egyptian opera singer and former Arabic Mickey
Ashraf Sewailam to perform free recital in Christchurch
Monday 24 June, 2019 – Egyptian Bass-Baritone Ashraf Sewailam will perform a recital at the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch on Sunday 4 August. The programme will also feature acclaimed local soprano Amanda Atlas, with both singers accompanied by New Zealand Opera’s Director of Music Wyn Davies.
Sewailam, who is currently in New Zealand performing in New Zealand Opera’s The Barber of Seville, will step out of his comic role of Don Basilio for an afternoon designed to inspire reflection and hope.
“Like many others all around the world I was deeply affected by the events in Christchurch on 15 March and wanted to show my support for the Muslim community,” Sewailam said.
“As an artist, the best thing I have to offer is my voice, and I’m so glad to be able to perform this concert while I’m in Christchurch for The Barber of Seville.
“I was deeply touched by the response of both people and government to the tragedy. What resonated with me the most was that such response made apparent how this beautiful country embraces pluralism and inclusion of all its residents and citizens regardless of colour or creed. It’s what made me feel the need to contribute by singing.”
“I will sing Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge or Four Serious Songs, and also several traditional songs from my homeland Egypt, that I hope will provide a fitting tribute to those who were lost, and comfort to the audience.”
While admission to the concert is free, audience members will be invited to make a donation to the Our People, Our City fund administered by Victim Support.
A time to reflect
Ashraf Sewailam in concert
with Amanda Atlas (soprano) and Wyn Davies (Piano)
Sunday 4 August, 2pm
Christchurch Transitional Cathedral
Entry by koha
With thanks to Christchurch Transitional Cathedral for providing the venue.
The New York Times hailed Ashraf Sewailam’s début at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall as a “stand out performance” and Opera News described his voice as “purring and velvety with an easily produced Ramfis-like top range with a majestic tone,” and his stage presence as “strong, mysterious and with mesmerizing intensity.” This season, Mr. Sewailam performed the role of Osmin in Abduction from the Seraglio and Queequeg in Moby Dick with Opera San Jose, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with San Diego Opera, Colline in La Boheme with Austin Opera, and sings Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with New Zealand Opera.
Last season, Mr. Sewailam performed the role of Capitán in Florencia en el Amazonas with Madison Opera, performed Monterone in Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera, and Opera Carolina, where he also performed Lignieres in Cyrano, and sang a concert entitled Eternal Spirit with Boulder Bach Festival. Additionally, he performed a recital with pianist Kenneth Osowski at York College and sang on a recording of The 13th Child, a new opera by Danish composer Poul Ruders.
Mr. Sewailam was one of Disney's Arabic voice actors, performing roles including Mickey Mouse and Ursula the Sea Witch.
New Zealand dramatic soprano Amanda embarked on her international career in 1999, spending ten years singing leading roles for various opera companies and orchestras in the US and Europe. She is now based in New Zealand and Australia.
engagements include Magda Sorel in The Consul (New York);
leading roles with the NZSO and New Zealand Opera; Leonora
in Il trovatore(Melbourne’s CitiOpera); Witch/Mother in
Hansel and Gretel; and in concert - soprano soloist in
Verdi’s Requiem, Bruckner’s F Minor Mass, Strauss’
Four Last Songs; and Mahler’s Second Symphony and
Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the CSO.
2016 saw Amanda make her Opera Australia debut singing Siegrune in their internationally acclaimed Ring Cycle. She is in frequent demand as a soloist with touring entity Operatunity, and is engaged to sing concerts in India in 2019 with the Mumbai Symphony Orchestra and Simon O’Neill.
Wyn Davies works extensively as a conductor and teacher. He has been Director of Music of New Zealand Opera since 2005 and was formerly Director of Music for Carl Rosa Opera. In 2018 he conducted Candide and The Elixir of Love for NZO. His opera repertoire includes La traviata, La cenerentola, The Italian Girl in Algiers (also Scottish Opera), Jenůfa, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Don Pasquale (also Tokyo), Kátya Kabanová, with NZO; La bohème, The Spanish Hour, Gianni Schicchi, Janáček Cycles (also Scottish Opera), L’incoronazione di Poppea, Eugene Onegin (Welsh National Opera); The Magic Flute, The Barber of Seville, The Mikado with English National Opera; The Cunning Little Vixen, Love Life, Of Thee I Sing, Show Boat (UK tour) with Royal Shakespeare Company; The Secret Marriage, The Barber of Seville, Madama Butterfly, La voix humaine, Dido & Aeneas with Opera North; Die Fledermaus, Blue Beard, Il turco in Italia, The Beggar’s Opera (also Lyric Belfast), Veronique with Buxton Festival. Orchestral engagements include Halle Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, A Child of our Time with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra and National Youth Choir.