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Category: Reviews – opera and ballet

Enthralling and disturbing – NZ Opera’s take on Britten’s “The Turn of the Screw”

By , 03/10/2019
  It’s difficult to think of another opera whose overall theme, story-line and characterisations are more interlaced by ambiguities as Britten’s The Turn of the Screw –  the story on which the opera is based, Henry James’ novella of the same name, carries its own versions of much the same kinds of imponderables, though the opera seems, if anything, to further complicate and intensify the issues. The story tells of... read more

Intense, heartfelt and involving – Verdi’s Rigoletto from Eternity Opera at the Hannah Playhouse

By , 23/08/2019
I can’t think of a better instance of a small opera company bringing forth by dint of its own efforts a production with the commitment and calibre of Eternity Opera’s production of “Rigoletto”, which we saw at Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse on Friday evening. I won’t go as far as proclaiming this “the best so far” of the company’s productions in this venue, as comparisons of that sort are odious... read more

Two out of three from Puccini’s Il Trittico boldly and confidently presented by the NZSM

By , 19/07/2019
When Giacomo Puccini first penned his Il Trittico (Triptych), consisting of three short operas designed to fill a single evening (premiered as such in New York in December 1918), various considerations combined to elevate the third of these works, the rollickingly comic Gianni Schicchi, to pride of place in the public’s affections, leaving the other two, the violent, bloody Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and the somewhat sanctimonious Suor Angelica... read more

A joyful, exhilarating Barber of Seville, New Zealand Opera’s first offering of the year

By , 29/06/2019
Colourful, joyful, exhilarating are the words to describe this production of the Barber of Seville. From the very beginning of the Overture, taken at a moderate steady tempo that let every phrase be clearly articulated, we know that we are in for a treat. When the action starts with the chorus, the serenaders, horsing around it is clear that this will be an entertaining show. Almaviva, John Tessier enters... read more

A triumphant culmination of Pinchgut Opera’s work in Sydney: Hasse’s Artaserse

By , 05/12/2018
Though exposure to pre-Mozart opera, even of Gluck, has been infrequent in New Zealand, a great deal of 17th and 18th century opera has become main-stream in the Northern Hemisphere. There is hardly a composer of that period, acclaimed in his (or her) lifetime and then forgotten for 200 years, whose music has not been brushed off in recent years and played in a way that echoes the way... read more

Eternity Opera sings triumphantly once again at Wellington’s Hannah Playhouse – Puccini’s Madam Butterfly

By , 16/11/2018
Eternity Opera’s presentation at Wellington‘s Hannah Playhouse of one of the most famous of all grand operas, Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, used a reduced orchestral accompaniment, a “rhyming” English translation of the Italian, and cut one of the more colourful episodes in the work’s Second Act, albeit involving the brief appearance of a “lesser”character. And yet, despite these diminutions of the original, the piece worked its usual theatrical and... read more

Puccini’s La Boheme in Wellington – ineffably human and heartfelt

By , 04/10/2018
It may seem a strange entry point for a review’s beginning - but at the opening night of New Zealand Opera’s 2018 season of “La Boheme” in the Wellington Opera House on Thursday last, there was for me, near the Second Act’s conclusion, a “great moment”, whose incredible lyrical surge and explosion of sheer theatrical energy seemed at once to overshadow and enhance the significance of everything that had... read more

NZ Opera’s trans-Tasman “The Elixir of Love ” a corker!

By , 23/06/2018
Y’ know wot I reckon, mate? I reckon yer need ter get yerself inter town bloody pronto, if yer ain’t a city slicker (I know a few o’ those geezers as well and they’re not bad blokes, considering…..) and grab a cuppla seats for yusself an’ yer missus or yer sheila or whomever, so youse won’t miss out on the show at the Opera House (she’s actually a cracker... read more

NZ Opera’s Kátya Kabanová packs a punch at the St.James in Wellington

By , 07/10/2017
Janáček wrote to his long-time, would-be amour Kamila Stösslova about his leading character in the new opera he was planning, in 1920 - "The main character there is a woman, so gentle by nature.....a breeze would carry her away, let alone the storm that breaks over her...." This was Kátya Kabanová, or Káťa Kabanová as the Czech spelling has it, the first of three operas whereby the composer sublimated... read more

Compressed, alternative version of Mozart’s Figaro treated with wit and flair

Although only a few weeks ago Eternity Opera put on Mozart’s famous opera at the Hannah Playhouse, this was something very different.  Georgia Jamieson Emms’s group are to perform a fully-staged production of their show on 20 and 22 October at St. Matthew’s Collegiate, Masterton, then next summer take it on tour.  A good-sized audience was present for the concert, despite Houstoun and Hristova performing Beethoven at the other... read more

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