New Zealand Opera will bring a new production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in June and July as part of its 2020 programme. Director Lindy Hume and her creative team will explore the potent class and gender politics of this landmark opera and what it means in a modern context.
You won’t need to wait that long though for your fix, opera lovers – in January and February the company will perform open-air concerts of much-loved operatic hits in Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton.
Then in March, the first of three site-specific works in the programme is a three-centre tour of Eight Songs for a Mad King, by Peter Maxwell Davies. The production is presented with the support of New Zealand Festival of the Arts and Auckland Arts Festival and in partnership with ground-breaking musical ensemble Stroma.
In September, Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral will play host to Handel’s opera/oratorio hybrid Semele. An orchestra formed especially for the production will feature period-instrument players conducted by Peter Walls, a globally acknowledged expert in the performance of Baroque music. The Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus will perform alongside the Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir.
The final production for 2020 (also site-specific) is in October and November, with Poulenc and Cocteau’s opera The Human Voice being performed in hotel rooms around the country, bringing the audience within inches of the story as it unfolds.
The 2020 season is the first programmed by General Director Thomas de Mallet Burgess, who joined the company in mid-2018 and recently made his directorial debut in New Zealand with a sellout and critically acclaimed production of The Turn of the Screw.
The new year brings a new focus for New Zealand Opera – connecting with New Zealand people and stories, and introducing the artform to new audiences. Its ambition is to reimagine opera, embrace the cultural and social identities of our diverse communities, and ensure a vibrant and sustainable presence for opera in New Zealand.
The new decade also marks the 20th year of New Zealand Opera as a company, formed when the National Opera of Wellington and Opera New Zealand merged in 2000. It also marks 20 years of a partnership with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, and in 2020 a new programme will be launched, replacing the Emerging Artist programme. The three singers selected for the first year of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Studio Artist Programme are Anna Simmons, Harry Grigg and Felicity Tomkins.