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Category: Reviews – opera and ballet

Magical I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini) the tenth production by Rhona Fraser’s Opera in Days Bay

By , 27/08/2016
This production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, like the productions of several of the operas done by Rhona Fraser’s Days Bay company, was probably the New Zealand premiere. Though there may have been performances by minor opera groups over recent years, I’m sure no recent professional production would have escaped me. (but see more in the Appendix below) One of the problems with this assumed Shakespeare-modelled piece has been... read more

Don Giovanni scores impressively in performance by Eternity Opera’s second cast

By , 24/08/2016
When I arrived at the theatre at 7pm, I was surprised (and delighted) to find a box office queue out to the street. Though it proved to be largely because there was only one person handling both sales and the collection of already purchased tickets, it did show that the production had attracted high interest, and indeed by 7.30, there was scarcely an empty seat in the house. This was... read more

The Don rides out again – Eternity Opera’s “other” Don Giovanni

By , 20/08/2016
What a delight to be able to enjoy, within the space of a few days, a second, almost entirely different cast performing the same operatic production! Eternity Opera's Don Giovanni had opened on the previous Saturday (reviewed by Middle C, below) and this was the single chance for the "understudy cast" members to demonstrate what they could do in public - with the exception of the Zerlina, Emily Mwila... read more

Opera with energy and excitement – Eternity Opera Company’s Don Giovanni at the Hannah Playhouse

By , 20/08/2016

The name “Eternity Opera” is itself a splendid gauntlet-brandishing gesture, an assertive declaration of overall purpose and intent, reinforced by a note in the programme for Saturday night’s opening of the new company’s season of “Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”–  firstly, “to stage productions that are exciting and accessible to anyone” and, just as importantly, “to support the many talented singers and musicians in the Wellington region”. Judging by what... read more

Brass Poppies – ordinary people at war

By , 03/03/2016

Poet Vincent O'Sullivan and composer Ross Harris have collaborated on no less than eleven words-and-music works since 2002, the most recent being the chamber opera "Brass Poppies". The work received its premiere at Shed 6 in Wellington last week, and after finishing a four-night season has gone on to Auckland's Mercury Theatre where it will play for two more nights later this week.

Though the opera was actually... read more

Handel’s early Agrippina in brilliant Days Bay production

By , 14/02/2016
Wellington’s boutique opera company that presents most of its productions in the beech forest-surrounded garden of the company’s producer, Rhona Fraser, staged its ninth opera at the height of an unusually warm summer. We regretted not making time before the performance to join the thousands on the beach, for a swim, with the temperature hovering around 27 degrees. This was the company’s second Handel opera, after Alcina in 2012. Other... read more

New Zealand Opera’s Tosca a triumph at all levels

By , 10/10/2015
The Wellington run of Tosca no doubt benefitted after uniformly positive reviews and word-of-mouth reports from Auckland. The reports from Auckland were not mistaken; here was one of the most impressive and successful productions from this company yet. In Wellington, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was in the pit, and it was, of course, a superb collaboration that obliged the audience to notice Puccini’s masterly dramatic orchestration and the ways in... read more

Delightful, witty Così fan tutte from Wanderlust Opera

By , 15/08/2015
It’s best to start with comment about the somewhat unfortunate timing of this wonderful enterprise. A clash with the university school of music’s double bill, running four performances from Thursday to Sunday. On top of that, many vocal enthusiasts would also have been torn by having to choose between the last day of the Big Sing, the choral competition/jamboree/gala of secondary school choirs, held this year in Wellington. Because of... read more

NZSM Students’ operatic double bill moves and delights

By , 13/08/2015
One has come to expect a high standard of performance, interpretation and artistic creativity from students at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, based on the success of some of their recent activities. This latest production was, in effect, "double the pleasure", as it  brought to the stage two works so utterly different as to turn our sensibilities on their heads, yet capture our sympathies as strongly in... read more

Marvellous Wagnerian farewell (Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) for conductor Inkinen and his Symphony Orchestra

By , 12/06/2015
I hadn’t heard Eva Radich’s interview with soprano Christine Goerke on Upbeat before the concert (and that has a bit to do with the unfortunate shift of the programme’s time from midday to 2pm). But I heard it on Saturday morning. It was one of those wonderful, animated, intelligent, thoroughly prepared interviews that Eva invariably achieves with articulate and gifted people that reveals many of the physical and psychological... read more

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