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2013 Opera Season heralds three main-stage operas in three cities


The NBR New Zealand Opera has announced its 2013 Season, heralding a significant new beginning for the company as three main-stage operas are presented, in Auckland, Wellington, and for the first time, Christchurch.

The NBR New Zealand Opera has announced its 2013 Season, heralding a significant new beginning for the company as three main-stage operas are presented, in Auckland, Wellington, and for the first time, Christchurch.

In 2013, three new productions of three great operas – Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman – will show off the art form at its very best.

(Auckland: 18 – 28 April; Wellington: 11 – 18 May)

“For me, Butterfly is the most demanding yet most beautiful soprano role ever created, marrying divine composition with heartbreaking drama.”
– Antoinette Halloran, Cio-Cio San (Butterfly)

The NBR New Zealand Opera opens its 2013 season with Madame Butterfly, one of the most popular of all operas. Featuring the famous “Humming Chorus” and “One Fine Day”, Puccini’s masterpiece is a tender love story of longing and betrayal that beautifully juxtaposes the youth and innocence of Cio-Cio San (Butterfly) with the callousness of Pinkerton, the American naval officer, to deliver a work of great emotional integrity.
Set in the Japanese city of Nagasaki around the turn of last century, this new production is created by Australia’s award-winning Kate Cherry. General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera, Aidan Lang, says that Kate’s productions are always striking, and this one will be no exception. “She and designer Christina Smith have created a stylish and exquisite set,” he says, “with a minimalist Japanese aesthetic and gorgeous, period costuming.”

“Cio-Cio San and Lieutenant Pinkerton are among the world’s most-loved operatic couples,” Lang adds, “and with the electrifying combination of Australian soprano Antoinette Halloran (who sang Mimi in La Bohème in 2008) and Italian tenor Piero Pretti in these roles, this beautiful, tragic love story will be taken to another level.”


(Christchurch: 21 – 24 August)

“As with all great pieces, the possibilities for Don Giovanni are endless, which is why it will continue to be performed forever. If Mozart is Shakespeare, then Don Giovanni is his Hamlet – an eternal work which continues to ask questions of performers and audiences.”
– Mark Stone, Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni, The NBR New Zealand Opera’s first main-stage production for Christchurch, is one of the greatest creations of all opera. With a hedonistic womaniser at its heart who will stop at nothing – even murder – in the pursuit of pleasure, Mozart’s serio-comic opera, has become one of the most popular in the repertoire, drawing rapturous audiences since its première in 1788.

Bringing this masterpiece to the stage is Christchurch-born director Sara Brodie. “Working with a grand, visually imposing set, Sara will take a fresh and incisive approach to this enigmatic work,” Aidan Lang says. “Sara also has a reputation for getting great theatrical results from her singers, so with a cast that features top New Zealand singing actors Jonathan Lemalu and Anna Leese, along with high-flying British baritone Mark Stone as Don Giovanni, what you see on stage will be thrilling.

“And our wonderful Director of Music, the effervescent Wyn Davies, under whose versatile baton this production sits, will ensure Mozart’s dramatic music sounds as sublime as ever.”

(Wellington: 14 – 21 September; Auckland: 5 – 12 October)

“As a passionate practitioner of theatre in music I think of the scene in which the ghostly crew of the Dutchman’s ghostly ship answers the call of the chorus on shore as one of the
most hair-raising in opera.” – Wyn Davies, Conductor

The NBR New Zealand Opera’s third production for 2013 celebrates the bi-centenary of the birth of Richard Wagner with his first great opera, The Flying Dutchman. Aidan Lang is excited to be presenting The Flying Dutchman. “This is a fantastic, big opera,” he says, “with an incredibly challenging score, strong and enigmatic characters, brooding tension and boundless emotion.

“To do the work justice,” he says, “it needs an outstanding director, and we have that in dynamic young Australian Matthew Lutton who is known for his intense theatricality.
“It also needs superb singers who are also compelling actors. And to that end, we have a line-up including electrifying Irish soprano Orla Boylan as Senta, top New Zealand bass Paul Whelan as Daland, British tenor Peter Auty as Erik (an impressive Turiddu in last year’s Cav & Pag), and returning after a star turn as Enrico in 2007’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Welsh baritone Jason Howard as The Dutchman.”

This new production of The Flying Dutchman signifies the first Wagner opera presented by The NBR New Zealand Opera, and the first step in an important new series of collaborations with Opera Queensland. The Wellington season also sees a departure from the norm, with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra accompanying.

NZ Opera Box Office: Tel 0800 NZOPERA (0800 696 737) or
Auckland: The Edge, Tel 0800 BUYTICKETS (0800 289 842) or
Wellington: Ticketek, Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or
Christchurch: Ticketek, Tel 0800 TICKETEK (0800 842 538) or

*Booking fees apply

(23 February – The Woolshed, Tipapa Estate, North Canterbury)

Enjoy a taste of Glyndebourne in New Zealand… The NBR New Zealand Opera presents a specially mounted new production of Handel’s Acis & Galatea in the stunning setting of Tipapa Estate in North Canterbury.

Nymphs, shepherds and a jealous giant make up the cast of this delightful pastoral opera – Handel’s first dramatic work written in English and his most popular by far. The production will uniquely reference the early settler history of Tipapa homestead and features some of New Zealand’s brightest rising opera stars.
Strictly limited tickets for this exclusive black tie event. Bookings 0800 NZOPERA.


Media enquiries: Caroline Nelson, ParadisePR Ltd, 021 244 1299