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New Zealand Opera 2015 Season


Seasons for the soul

Latin passions and sensory overload. From unbridled joy and silliness to deep loss and longing; from fairytale frivolity to characters sadistic and sexy, vengeful and visceral. It must be opera! This is the 2015 season of our national opera company. No emotion is left unturned in a tide of Puccini and Rossini that surges with some of opera’s most memorable musical masterpieces and extraordinary stories of self-sacrifice.

Can sisters be monsters? Is revenge more powerful than death? How can one of the most soul-wrenching songs have no words? Answers to these questions will unfold across three cities with opera that goes straight to the soul, says NZ Opera general director Stuart Maunder: “There’s hardly a second without musical seduction or a moment without magic, in the most moving art form I know. All this we offer in 2015.”

The uplifting songs and sublime stories begin in May with the Wellington opening of Rossini’s La cenerentola – an irresistibly playful, artful and often hilarious romp based on the Cinderella fairytale under the baton of NZO’s Director of Music, maestro Wyn Davies.

In July, Christchurch celebrates the rebirth of the beautiful Isaac Theatre Royal with Kate Cherry’s NZO production of Puccini’s heart-rending Madama Butterfly, hanging like a lantern somewhere between hope and heaven.

The NZO 2015 season culminates in September/October with Tosca - political, dark and sweeping. Puccini’s turbulent music will be performed by the Auckland Philharmonia orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington. As director Stuart Maunder says, “love, revenge and sacrifice – it has everything that makes life worthwhile”.

These seasons for the soul bring back to the New Zealand stage one of our most celebrated operatic sons, Simon O’Neill, in Tosca. “It is also wonderful that every one of our extraordinary female leads returns from a previous triumph with the company,” says Stuart Maunder. “We welcome back to our stages Orla Boylan, Anne-Sophie Duprels, and our own Sarah Castle, as they bring to life
three of opera's most engaging, enigmatic and complete characters.”

As always, each city makes every NZO production its own, with a full locally-based chorus and orchestra. “This is one of the unique strengths of our truly national opera company,” says Stuart Maunder. “No-one else in the world does this. We are proud to be working with four New Zealand orchestras in 2015, a feat few small countries could match. Each city can also celebrate its own inspiring NZ Opera chorus.”

New Zealand Opera has now cemented its reputation for consistent quality and imagination. Reviews for the 2014 productions of La traviata, La bohème and Don Giovanni were overwhelmingly positive, even superlative. “We all worked with Trojan effort to achieve the audience accolades of 2014,” says Stuart Maunder, “and we are passionately committed to delivering even more next year.

“A lot of people don’t realise that we present only four or five performances in each city’s season. We were sadly turning people away from their preferred seats as Don Giovanni made his final conquest in Wellington in October, so the message is, please, do book early. Come and experience the uplifting power of opera in our 2015 season.”


Rossini’s dazzling La cenerentola is a fairy-tale with a difference. In this Cinderella story, stepfathers
are tyrants, and beggar-philosophers replace fairy godmothers. Brilliantly quirky, Rossini’s magically mischievous music tells a very human story of kindness, forgiveness and generosity.

New Zealanders Sarah Castle, Amelia Berry and Rachelle Pike shine in this delicious tale. Adding an international flavour, John Tessier steals hearts as our dashing Prince with Marcin Bronikowski as
his reliable sidekick Dandini. Andrew Collis tries to spoil everyone’s plans as the evil stepfather, while the divine Ashraf Sewailam leads us towards our happy-ever-after. This beloved fairytale-opera comes to life in our most vivacious and effervescent show of the season. Brought together under the supreme direction of Lindy Hume and Wyn Davies, La cenerentola will be, quite simply, magic - playful and irresistible.

Angelina Sarah Castle
Don Ramiro John Tessier
Dandini Marcin Bronikowski
Alidoro Ashraf Sewailam
Don Magnifico Andrew Collis
Clorinda Amelia Berry
Tisbe Rachelle Pike

Accompanied by Orchestra Wellington and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
Featuring the Freemasons Chorus. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
A New Zealand Opera co-production with Opera Queensland.

Conductor Wyn Davies
Director Lindy Hume
Production Designer Dan Potra
Lighting Designer Matthew Marshall

9, 14, 16 May at 7.30pm
12 May at 6pm
St James Theatre

30 May, 3, 5 June at 7.30pm
7 June at 2.30pm
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre


Madama Butterfly is a timeless story of hope, honour, fidelity and love, woven together with such exquisite devotion that it now stands as one of the most meaningful and moving experiences one can have in the theatre. Puccini’s luminescent ‘Humming Chorus’ holds all the promise of a summer’s night, all the perfume of cherry blossoms — and all the anguish of a young girl desperately in love. This is the power of Puccini and we are thrilled to bring our 2013 production of this exquisite opera to Christchurch, marking the stunning refurbishment of the Isaac Theatre Royal. With a sublime cast, sumptuously detailed costumes and scenery, and dreamy washes of colour, this production is an experience that will be cherished long after the curtain has fallen.

Cio-Cio-San [Butterfly] Anne-Sophie Duprels
Pinkerton Angus Wood
Suzuki Kristin Darragh
Sharpless Jared Holt
Goro James Rodgers
Prince Yamadori Robert Tucker
The Bonze Martin Snell

Accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
Featuring the Freemasons Chorus. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
A New Zealand Opera production.

Conductor Francesco Pasqualetti
Director Kate Cherry
Restage Director Jacqueline Coats
Set & Costume Designer Christina Smith
Lighting Designer Matt Scott

23, 25, 30 July, 1 August at 7.30pm
28 July at 6.30pm
Isaac Theatre Royal


This passionate story of lust, revenge and sacrifice is one of the most successful and
beloved operas of all time. Jealous and fiercely loyal, Tosca‘s turbulent contradictions compel us. She loves passionately yet holds firm to her faith; she’s overwhelmingly generous while
also ruthlessly violent. Tosca is the fire that burns throughout this monumental drama. She is the
ultimate Diva.

We are thrilled that Orla Boylan, who stunned audiences in our 2013 The Flying Dutchman, will sing the captivating title role. In this production she is met by men worth fighting for — or against. As Cavaradossi, the brilliant Simon O’Neill unleashes his soaring voice in one of the best tenor roles ever composed. He meets his match in fellow New Zealander Phillip Rhodes’ fanatically evil Scarpia. With Puccini’s powerful and visceral music illuminating the beauty and the ancient faith of the Eternal City, we defy you not to lose your heart to Tosca — and your soul to this extraordinary story.

Floria Tosca Orla Boylan
Mario Cavaradossi Simon O’Neill
Baron Scarpia Phillip Rhodes
Cesare Angelotti James Clayton
Sacristan Barry Mora
Spoletta James Rodgers

Accompanied by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony
Orchestra in Wellington.
Featuring the Freemasons Chorus. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
A New Zealand Opera production.

Conductor Tobias Ringborg
Director Stuart Maunder
Set adaptation Jan Ubels
Costume Designer Elizabeth Whiting
Lighting Designer Jason Morphett

17, 19, 23, 25 September at 7.30pm
27 September at 2.30pm
ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre

10, 15, 17 October at 7.30pm
13 October at 6pm
St James Theatre

NZO Box Office: phone 0800 NZOPERA (696 737). Online:

Single shows *
(Tickets on sale from 9 February 2015)
Auckland seasons: phone 09 970 9700 or 0800 TICKETMASTER (111 999)
Wellington seasons: phone 04 384 3840 or 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

Christchurch season: phone 03 377 8899 or 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)

*Please note, booking fees apply.

© Scoop Media

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  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland