Auckland Art Festival: Reviews of New Zealand music productions
7 Mar 2011
In its fusion of great literature and outstanding musical talent, Ihimaera is a phenomenal feat of artistry. Narrated by star of Outrageous Fortune, Kirk Torrance, and produced by Charlotte Yates, the creator of Baxter (2000) and Tuwhare (2006), Ihimaera gives the author's words an exciting new wardrobe of sound.
A special Auckland Arts Festival commission, Ihimaera receives its world-premiere in 2011. A CD of songs from the show is set to be released by Universal Music NZ in February 2011.
Artists featured include Lupin (Victoria Girling-Butcher), LA Mitchell, Unitone Hi Fi, Ruia Aperahama, Horomona Horo, King Kapisi, Warren Maxwell, Ariana Tikao, The Twinks (Milan Borich and Tim Arnold ex-PLUTO), SJD, Teremoana Rapley and Charlotte Yates.
Presented by The NBR New Zealand Opera in association with Auckland Arts Festival. A Co-production with Victorian Opera
Handel's most popular opera, Xerxes is praised for its beautiful melodies and admired for its innovative blend of comedy and tragedy. Including one of opera's most beautiful and recognisable arias, the famous Largo, Xerxes demonstrates why Handel is considered one of the truly great opera composers of all time. Xerxes will be the first professional, fully-staged Handel opera to be presented to New Zealand audiences. Funny, poignant and fast moving, with timeless themes of love, rivalry and vice being overcome by courage and loyalty, Xerxes resonates with contemporary audiences around the world.
Led by Germany's Wolfgang Katschner, the exquisite period ensemble Lautten Compagney bring an assured authenticity to Handel's early music sound. Performing with this award winning orchestra is a stellar cast including Tobias Cole (counter tenor) singing the part of Xerxes and Tiffany Speight (soprano) in the role of Romilda. Roger Hodgman is directing, with John Verryt behind the set design. Glamour and opulence are prerequisites to capturing the true essence of a Handel opera and the cast will be stepping out in fabulous costumes designed by fashion icon Trelise Cooper.