Steeped in scandal and tragedy, the magic of Georges Bizet’s celebrated opera, Carmen, will be brought to life in Hawke’s Bay with a world-class cast including New Zealand’s own Sol3 Mio star Moses Mackay who will perform his first lead role in an opera. He plays Escamillo, the handsome bullfighter competing for Carmen’s affections.
Award-winning Australian mezzo Victoria Lambourn will play the fiery gypsy Carmen while Australian tenor Matthew Reardon matches her passion with a powerful interpretation of Don Jose, the naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of Carmen. Kiwi opera sensation soprano, Anna Leese, who has won numerous awards and performed in operas around the globe, will reprise the role of Micaëla, having first performed the part at the Royal Opera House in London.
Samoan bass-baritone, Joel Amosa, will perform the role of army lieutenant Zuniga while up-and-coming sopranos Pasquale Orchard and Carleen Ebbs will play Mercédès and Frasquita, respectively. Carmen is directed and conducted by the talented José Aparicio, who emigrated to New Zealand in 2009 after an illustrious musical career in Europe.
Students of Project Prima Volta (an offshoot of Festival Opera) will appear in the opera’s chorus. Formed by international opera singer Anna Pierard, Project Prima Volta was created as a mentoring programme for young people, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It’s based on an education programme El Sistema, which promotes social inclusion through music and was first initiated on a large scale in Venezuela.
Festival Opera’s Carmen coincides with Napier’s Tremains Art Deco Festival and has performances on February 14, 16 and 18 2017. Venue: Napier Municipal Theatre, Napier.