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King Arthur – a Lively Measure

Monday 29th January 2007


King Arthur – a Lively Measure

Boutique Opera presents Henry Purcell’s King Arthur – an eccentric and unashamedly patriotic semi-opera full of rousing choruses, soulful arias and beautiful harmonies. Three shows only in Wellington.

Michael Vinten conducts the King Arthur Ensemble, formed especially for this production. Lesley Graham coaches the singers, who include eight members of the Chapman Trip New Zealand Opera Chorus, and Wellington baritone Derek Miller as the Frozen Genius. Miller was last seen in command performance as Koko in The Mikado for the Wellington Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

Created to celebrate the silver jubilee of Charles II in 1691, King Arthur—sub-titled The British Worthy—is a series of masques punctuating a verse play by John Dryden. In line with other recent productions, this King Arthur will be presented without the play—this is so that the audience can focus on some of the finest baroque music written, without the distraction of Dryden’s 17th century political comment.

In producing the work over 300 years later, Boutique Opera aims to create a relevant and vibrant version that celebrates the spirit with which it was written. To reveal the patriotic and steadfast British character that is at the heart of the original, this production is set in the fictitious Britannia Croquet Club.

“The game of croquet seems at first glance to be a sedate and formal, typically English game” says director Alison Hodge, “But it is not just the preserve of the eccentric and the elderly. To be a successful player you need tenacity and self possession, not to mention tactical skill. The game of croquet stands in for the medieval battleground, and The British Worthy is exemplified by the colourful collection of players.”

Previous productions by Boutique Opera include Comus by Thomas Arne (2003) and Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell (2005 Fringe Festival).

Boutique Opera presents
Purcell’s King Arthur
2 & 3 March at 8 pm and 4 March at 3 pm at St Andrew’s on The Terrace
Tickets: adult $25 / concession $20 / fringe addict $18 / student or child $12


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