The show must go on: New Zealand Opera is back

You can stop holding your breath, the opera is back! New Zealand is leading the way with the imminent return of live opera performances.

New Zealand Opera’s 2020 season will resume this October with five performances of a brand-new immersive production of Handel’s Semele at Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Following Semele, New Zealand Opera will stage The Human Voice in hotel rooms in Auckland, Taupo, Wellington and Christchurch in October and November. Rescheduled Christchurch dates for the critically acclaimed Eight Songs for a Mad King are due to be announced soon. The three-city tour of The Marriage of Figaro that was originally scheduled for June and July this year has been moved to mid-2021.

Semele general director Thomas de Mallet Burgess says the team worked on different scenarios through lockdown, and were “delighted” to confirm the rest of the season when New Zealand moved to Covid-19 Level 1.

“Opera in much of the world is at a terrifying standstill due to the Covid-19 crisis, and we’re thrilled that we’ll be able to bring this new site-specific and immersive production of Handel’s life-affirming Baroque masterpiece to New Zealand audiences in September. We are currently fundraising to film this production so that we can share our New Zealand talent with the rest of the world.”

Semele is a sensual story exploring a love triangle between Jupiter, King of the Gods (Sol3’ Mio’s Amitai Pati), his wife, the goddess Juno (Sarah Castle), and his lover, the mortal princess Semele (Celeste Lazarenko).

Audience members are invited to dress up as guests at the wedding of the year and be at the heart of the story of love, passion, revenge and quest for fame.

The company will open its doors for a special open day during Semele rehearsals on Saturday 22 August, allowing the public to see the behind the scenes preparations for the production, including costumes, wigs and make-up and the chance to watch part of a rehearsal.

Thursday 29 October – Friday 6 November
Holy Trinity Cathedral