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Iconic Operas Reach For The Heart


Wednesday 25 October 2006

Iconic Operas Reach For The Heart

From the wild landscapes of Scotland to the ruthless tyranny of Imperial China, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s 2007 opera season offers two operas of grandeur that capture powerful human stories of love and sacrifice told through sumptuous and much-loved music.

The NZI Winter Season of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and the Genesis Energy Spring Season of Puccini’s Turandot promises audiences emotionally-charged journeys in two magnificent productions presented by a top line-up of New Zealand and international creative teams and opera casts.

“At the core of these operas are talented creative teams including two of the most individual directors working internationally in opera at the moment,” says Aidan Lang, General Director, The NBR New Zealand Opera. “They create operas that are theatrical and stimulating, both emotionally and intellectually, bringing an intelligent, musical, but also individual understanding, of each work to audiences.”

“We are also delighted to have secured two esteemed sopranos in the signature title roles. Both have already made their mark on New Zealand audiences and critics, and I know will offer that all-important wow-factor that their respective role demands.”

The NZI Winter Season of Lucia di Lammermoor

Based on Sir Walter Scott’s original novel, “The Bride of Lammermuir”, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the most exhilarating Italian operas of the 19th century. Set in the wild landscape of a Scotland split by blood-feuds, Lucia is a passionate story of star-crossed lovers - a tale of love and betrayal, desire and deception, blending the passion and intrigue of great drama with music of intensity and elegance.

This new production will be directed by award-winning Australian director, Lindy Hume, and designed by New Zealander Kate Hawley, who has recently returned from overseas having built a successful international career spanning opera, theatre, film and television.

Leading the cast is Elvira Fatykhova as Lucia, performing one of the greatest and most musically brilliant prima donna roles in the world of opera with its famous “mad scene” and offering a thrilling showcase for colourtura display. Lucia has been a signature role for many famous sopranos who have made it their own, including Dame Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas. Joining Miss Fatykhova will be Bulgarian tenor Yvan Momirov (Edgardo) and Welsh baritone Jason Howard (Enrico), along with New Zealand singers Jud Arthur, Carmel Carroll, Benjamin Fifita Makisi and Derek Hill.

Lucia di Lammermoor is opera in all its full-blooded glory, offering audiences more than a highland fling!

The NZI Winter Season of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor is at the Westpac St James Theatre, Wellington from Saturday 23 June-Saturday 30 June 2007; and at the Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®, Auckland from Thursday 12 July-Saturday 21 July 2007.

The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Puccini’s Turandot

Turandot, Puccini’s final work of genius, has some of the world’s best-known music and delivers pure operatic spectacle! Against vivid and evocative music, tyranny and cruelty in imperial China do battle with self-sacrifice and loyalty when three riddles hold the key to love – or death.

This bold and intensely theatrical production is presented in association with Welsh National Opera. It was conceived for that company by one of America’s foremost stage directors, Christopher Alden, and designed by Paul Steinberg – both renowned for their innovative and thought-provoking interpretations.

Acclaimed conductor Nicholas Braithwaite makes a welcome return to lead a fine New Zealand and international cast, including an extended Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus.

One of New Zealand’s finest international sopranos, Margaret Medlyn, makes her role debut as the regal and pitiless Princess Turandot – famed as a pinnacle role for its challenges both dramatically and vocally.

As Turandot’s would-be suitor, Calaf, young Korean-born tenor Dongwon Shin makes his New Zealand debut; and Italian soprano Maria Costanza Nocentini – a star of 2004’s Rigoletto – returns to New Zealand to perform as Liù. Notable New Zealand singers include Grant Dickson as Timur; and Kiwis Phillip Rhodes and Benjamin Fifita Makisi join Australian tenor, Adrian McEniery as the comic bureaucrats Ping, Pang and Pong.

Featuring the famous Nessun Dorma - the aria that launched a thousand football games as the anthem of the 1990 World Cup – Turandot is the quintessential opera experience in 2007.

The Genesis Energy Spring Season of Puccini’s Turandot is at the Aotea Centre, THE EDGE®, Auckland from Thursday 20 September-Saturday 29 September 2007; and then at the Westpac St James Theatre, Wellington from Saturday 13 October-Saturday 20 October 2007.


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