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Fine New Zealand Opera Singers Feature In 2007


Wednesday 25 October 2006

Fine New Zealand Opera Singers Feature In 2007

The NBR New Zealand Opera announced its 2007 season programme today signalling its continued commitment towards nurturing the talent and creating opportunities for our own young and established opera performers to be heard on the opera stage and concert platform here in New Zealand.

Alongside the company’s two opera seasons – The NZI Winter Season of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and the Genesis Energy Spring Season of Puccini’s Turandot – the company will be closely associated with four significant concert performances featuring international New Zealand singers and the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus.

“These concert collaborations and associations allow us to concentrate on Kiwi artists, and give New Zealand audiences the opportunity to hear some of our established and burgeoning opera talent performing on the concert platform,” says Aidan Lang, General Director, The NBR New Zealand Opera.

A highlight of 2007 will undoubtedly be a five-centre recital tour during May by young New Zealand bass-baritone, Jonathan Lemalu with Malcolm Martineau. Presented by Chamber Music New Zealand in association with The NBR New Zealand Opera, the tour will open in Christchurch, before heading to Dunedin, Wellington, Hastings and Auckland.

Lemalu will be accompanied by one of the world’s leading accompanists, Malcolm Martineau, whose many musical collaborators have included Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Felicity Lott and Bryn Terfel. The programme will shows off Lemalu’s magnificent range: art song, settings of Shakespeare, and bass arias from the world of opera, as well as a rare opportunity to hear settings from the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, written especially for Lemalu by Richard Rodney Bennett.

“Singers such as Jonathan Lemalu are heavily in demand overseas and their busy international schedules mean they cannot necessarily commit to an entire opera season with us, so special concert events are a terrific way to entice them back to New Zealand even for a short time, so their talents can be enjoyed on home soil,” says Mr Lang. “Together with other arts organisations our hope is that this is the beginning of a series in which we can showcase the best New Zealand singers in significant repertoire – whether they be based here or overseas.”

In 2007 the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus has been invited to participate in several concert performances and involving well-known New Zealand opera singers. The first in March is Mahler’s Symphony No.2 – The Resurrection, opening the Auckland Festival AK07, performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Judd, and with New Zealand opera soloists Patricia Wright and Helen Medlyn. Later in the year the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra will present two concerts; Opera in Concert - Fidelio features Metropolitan Opera star Erika SunnegÃ¥rdh and New Zealanders, tenor Simon O’Neill, Lexus Song Quest winner Madeleine Pierard and esteemed Auckland bass, David Griffiths. In September Mendelsohn’s Elijah will star New Zealand baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Elijah.

“The more chances our Chorus get to perform together, the better,” says Mr Lang. “They gain hugely from the experience, and the long-term potential benefit is that this opens up further opportunities for future collaborations as well as giving audiences the chance to hear some great operatic and choral masterpieces.”


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