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Auckland Arts Festival 2016 Brings Opera Back to the Mercury

3 February 2016

Auckland Arts Festival 2016 Brings Opera Back to the Mercury

Following the closure of the Maidment Theatre, Auckland Arts Festival 2016 is pleased to announce the World Premiere Season of Brass Poppies will now take place at the glorious and much-loved Mercury Theatre.

Mercury Theatre has a long history of staging opera, from Don Giovanni to La Traviata, Turandot and Porgy and Bess. In 2014, William Dart praised the venue in his review of a performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, writing, ‘Mercury Theatre brought the atmosphere of a real night at the opera.’

Brass Poppies director Jonathan Alver agrees. “The Mercury holds a dear spot in the hearts of performers and audience alike; this was the home of Auckland theatre, and particularly opera, for many years. More than all of that, the shape of the theatre is also perfectly suited to singing,” he says.

There is also a nice resonance in that the opera will be performed in a venue that witnessed the First World War. Again, as Alver notes, “Brass Poppies is a World War One story, the characters onstage talk to the audience of their experiences of that time. The Mercury opened, (as The King's Theatre) in 1910, so the setting is completely real. Our performers will be standing on the footprints of actors of that exact period.”

The Maidment Theatre was closed with immediate effect in December, after the building was deemed an earthquake risk. Due to this venue change and the availability of Mercury Theatre, Auckland Arts Festival’s World Premiere Season of Brass Poppies will comprise of two performances, on Friday 11 March and Saturday 12 March.

Auckland Arts Festival 2016 will be contacting all affected ticket holders. If you have not been contacted or have any questions regarding these changes please contact Auckland Arts Festival on (09) 309 0101 or email

Brass Poppies is co-produced by Auckland Arts Festival, New Zealand Festival and New Zealand Opera with support from the Lottery Grants Board.


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