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New Cast And Creative Team Members For 2004 Opera

Jointly released by The NBR New Zealand Opera and the New Zealand International Arts Festival


18 December 2003


The NBR New Zealand Opera and the New Zealand International Arts Festival announced today two amendments to cast and creative team members previously announced, for next year's Telecom Opera The Elixir of Love:

* Italian tenor, Riccardo Botta, will now perform the role of Nemorino replacing American Richard Troxell. Mr Troxell has recently withdrawn from the role for personal reasons.

* British lighting designer Jenny Kagan joins the creative team of distinguished conductor, Graeme Jenkins, British director Daniel Slater and set and costume designer, Laura Hopkins. Ms Kagan replaces Rory Dempster.

Botta has performed Nemorino on a number of occasions with European opera companies including Netherlands Opera, Zurich Opera and Teatro alla Scala. In this new New Zealand production he will perform the role alongside Canadian soprano, Rebecca Caine (Adina), and fellow Italian, Riccardo Novaro (Belcore). New Zealanders, Paul Whelan and Katherine Wiles currently based in the UK, return home to perform as Doctor Dulcamara and Giannetta, respectively.

Botta started his career at a young age, with a repertoire ranging from Mozart's Don Giovanni to Rimsky Korsakov's Sadko to Verdi's Falstaff. In recent seasons Botta has made debuts in a wide range of roles including Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Adolar in Euryanthe, the Italian tenor in Capriccio, Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Tamino on The Magic Flute, with conductors such as Gerard Korsten, Daniel Oren and Rafael Frubeck de Burgos. He has worked widely in the opera houses of Italy, but has also appeared at the Semperoper Dresden, Staatsheater Stuttgart and Opera Monte Carlo. Future engagements include Falstaff at Canadian Opera Company, Don Pasquale in Madrid, Les Troyens in Leipzig, Gianni Schicchi and II Signor Bruschino at Lausanne, II viaggio a Reims at the Opera Narotdova of Warsaw.

Kagan brings a wealth of technical and design experience to the production. Recent designs have included lighting for Oklahoma, Oliver and Les Miserable in the West End, and Pan, the lavish production immortalizing the antics of Peter Pan, at Sydney's Capitol Theatre.

The Telecom Opera The Elixir of Love opens at the Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington on March 6 2004 through to March 14, and then at Auckland's Aotea Centre, The Edge from March 25-31.


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