When W.S.Gilbert's ornamental Japanese sword fell off the wall of his study while he was turning over in his mind ideas for his latest operatic collaboration with Sir Arthur Sullivan, The Mikado was born - or so all the G&S history books tell us. In fact, there happened to be a vogue for japonaiserie in England at the time Mikado first hit the stage, instigated some years before by...
, on a fine but somewhat cool evening.
What may well have been a worry was a summer that is hardly worthy of the name, and further performances of both pieces on the following days may not have... read more
Days Bay Opera continues its eclectic repertory policies, that have ranged from the mid 16th century to the 20th. For this, it was back to the garden, after the indoors performance of
I went to the third run of the Ring in Melbourne, in December. At its first incarnation in 2013, I had rather set it aside, partly because the ticket prices were pretty steep – well over $1000 for the four – and something in me said that, as I have seen the entire cycle five times over the years, in various places including Bayreuth, I doubted whether Opera Australia... read more
Stuart Maunder, New Zealand Opera's chief, and the director of the company's current production of Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd", showing at Wellington's St.James Theatre, called the show in a welcome message written in the programme "a meaty night out at the opera". I admit I took fright for an instant, irrespective of my largely carnivorous food preferences history. It was just that I didn't really fancy watching a series...
The school of music’s once annual opera productions have in recent years fallen back to biennial events. In the between years, students create a series of scenes from opera, against a background of elementary sets and a few props that can, with a bit of imagination, be used in various settings.
This production employed around sixteen singers, though the photo gallery in the printed programme contained 23 faces which included...
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
This production of Bellini’s
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.
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
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
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
This production that has engaged a number of young and highly promising New Zealand singers (only three from overseas), was probably among the most spectacular (and expensive I imagine) ever seen in New Zealand. Happily, it also succeeded in capturing the essential qualities of this hybrid work. It combines singspiel, comic opera, mime, vaudeville, employing a text that mixes Masonic ritual and ancient Egyptian religion, a touch of Christianity...