REVIEW: Bluebeard’s Castle (NZ Opera)

August 11, 2023

New Zealand Opera and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra’s production Bluebeard’s Castle reimagines Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s first and only opera of the same name in English and in a modern, suburban setting. Appearing in Aotearoa for a short season of just two precious performances, this courageous contemporary opera superbly manages juxtapositions of dramatic conventions old and new, in a production […]

SCENE BY JAMES: Yellowface and The Mikado: Time for NZ Opera to Woke Up

February 10, 2017

[Let the Production Fit the Time] The clichéd criticism of Opera is that it is a form stuck in the past. I believe that in one major and urgent respect, Opera does indeed need to be dragged into the 21st Century. It is becoming increasingly clear that our own NZ Opera has a race problem. In their 2016 Auckland Arts Festival […]

REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (NZ Opera)

September 18, 2016

[Fleet Street Clean Sweep] While he has never stayed in one place for all that long, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, first seen in 1979, has continued to set up his establishment in production after production world-wide. Written by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, it has attracted headliners like Angela Lansbury, Kelsey […]

REVIEW: The Magic Flute (NZ Opera)

June 18, 2016

[Has the Flute lost its Magic?] Having sat through almost three hours of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, including a 20-minute interval (which is pretty normal for an evening at the opera), I couldn’t help wondering why I felt so utterly and truly disappointed as we filed out of the theatre. With a title like The Magic Flute which undoubtedly conjures fantasy and […]

REVIEW: Brass Poppies (Auckland Arts Festival)

March 12, 2016

[Chunuk Stripped Bair] What a pleasure to be back at the Mercury Theatre tonight as a fitting period venue for Auckland Arts Festival’s and NZ Opera’s Brass Poppies.  Clearly an important milestone in New Zealand’s development as a nation, and as a catalyst for breaking away from the “motherland” – this piece is brave, important and essential. In true Kiwi […]

REVIEW: Tosca (NZ Opera)

September 20, 2015

Tosca truly thrills [by Sharu Delilkan] Tosca‘s opening night, like it’s inaugural one in 1900, was nothing short of a triumph. Everything from the set to the amazing vocals kept us thoroughly entertained with the NZ Opera‘s two hour long performance. Orla Boylan as the beguiling Floria Tosca was mesmerising, to say the least. Her theatrical performance on stage was […]

REVIEW: Don Giovanni (NZ Opera)

September 23, 2014

Striking set sizzles [by Sharu Delilkan] When I heard that the NZ Opera was finally staging Don Giovanni, after it had been performed at the Christchurch Arts Festival last year, I was adamant not to miss this larger than life production. And unlike some productions that promise a lot and deliver very little, this NZ Opera production not only met […]

REVIEW: Madame Butterfly (NZ Opera)

April 19, 2013

Colourful Culture Clash [by Sharu Delilkan] We were welcomed to the opening night of Madame Butterfly by The Edge’s Director Robbie Macrae, billed as the grand opening of the newly refurbished ASB Theatre with improved decor and acoustics. Having seen Madame Butterfly more than a decade before in Hong Kong we were intrigued to see how an American-Asian love story […]