New Zealand’s brightest opera stars will celebrate their swansong performance on home soil in a fiery yet intimate production of one of the world’s best-known stories of thwarted love, Romeo and Juliet at the Mercury Theatre in Auckland.
Award-winning singers Madison Nonoa and Filipe Manu will play the leads in Auckland Opera Studio’s two 90-minute, two-act production of the great and angry Vincenzo Bellini opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
Following their performances in Romeo & Juliet, the pair will head back to London to complete their final year at the most prestigious opera training programme at the Guildhall of Music in London which they have were accepted into, without audition.
Nonoa and Manu have either won or placed in the top two or three of nearly every opera singing competition in New Zealand and Australia. Patron and studio director Frances Wilson-Fitzgerald says that it’s a rare opportunity for audiences to see two of New Zealand’s best-emerging talents in one of the great operas.
Ironically, the singers have often competed against each other, with Manu awarded the Dame Malvina Emerging Artists Internship by New Zealand Opera in 2015, and Nonoa in 2016.
Frances says, “We chose to stage I Capuleti e i Montecchi because not only is it a great, great opera that is rarely performed these days, but as the Italian interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, it was an ideal match for Madison and Filipe who are both physically gorgeous, gifted singers with majestic voices – I Capuleti e i Montecchi is a lyrical bel canto opera, which means ‘beautiful singing’, after all.
“Not that it’s a soppy love story. I Capuleti e i Montecchi is a great feast of an opera. It’s full of everything; it’s quite angry really, because it tells the story of two mafia families at the time and how enraged they were by this relationship.”
The audience can expect to experience the full, exquisite beauty of this period as well as great drama that has everything; anger, bravery, love and desperation as two opposing mafia families fight it out over the consequences of what they deem an undesirable, proposed union.