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Cityscape caught up with Kiwi opera legend Teddy Tahu Rhodes ahead of his picking up the straight razor as the Demon Barber in New Zealand Opera’s Sweeney Todd. Images: Jeff Busby. Tell us about the relationship between Sweeney and Mrs Lovett. It’s kind of a relationship where they need each other really. I think they are two people in this world that have different needs and they just cross each other’s paths; I think in time they get to become very fond of each other. I think throughout there is a genuine affection between to the two of them. What have you learnt about your character that you didn’t know before taking on the role? When you think of Sweeney you think of the Demon Barber, but he’s actually quite a tragic and sad man. He’s had a tragic life, so the story of his murderous side is just an...
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It's that time of year where local film buffs will clearing the decks, dipping into their savings and setting up out-of-office email replies; the New Zealand International Film Festival returns to the city for another year from 28 July for two and a bit weeks of cinematic celebration at the Isaac Theatre Royal and Hoyts Northlands.This year's line-up for Christchurch includes over 100 features and documentaries from New Zealand and around the world, with the Festival including a number of premieres, including a world premiere for Christchurch in the form of Le Ride, a new documentary from The Amazing Race host and go-getter (and Christchurch boy made good) Phil Keoghan that retraces the 1928 Tour de France route. The opening film of the festival in Christchurch is also a doozy: Poi E: The Story of Our Song tells the story of the Patea Maori Club's 1984 hit and has been described as...
Cityscape News & Reviews
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The New Zealand Opera returns to the Theatre Royal with another extremely impressive production in Verdi’s La traviata. Sheer audiovisual spectacle from the opening moments to the tragic finale, it’s a glittering night out in the suitably majestic surroundings of the Isaac Theatre Royal. The company continues to operate with what are probably the highest stage production values in the country. Opening in courtesan Violetta’s residence in Paris, the stage is essentially spare but festooned with a dazzling array of chandeliers and drapery and houses an enormous glass box that at turns becomes reflective or transparent through clever use of lighting, and impresses with its sheer towering size alone. Despite such a magnificent edifice and surroundings though, what dominates the stage is Madeline Pierard’s Violetta, dazzling in a red dress and very much the life of the party. Living a life of enjoyable if shallow glamour as a kept woman for...
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With NZ Opera already in town and rehearsing for the August 14th opening performance of La traviata at the Isaac Theatre Royal, Cityscape caught up with rising Kiwi opera star Andrew Glover – who's playing the role of Gastone in the production – ahead of what's sure to be a stellar season.   A look at your opera CV reveals you’ve played a wide number of roles already in your career. Do you have some personal favourites? I always feel that my favourite role is the one I am playing right now. That being said I enjoy the liberty you can take in a comic role, I love to dance if possible as I studied dance in my youth, and playing evil characters is wonderfully cathartic. I'm not sure that answers your question, though. Haha! You made your debut at London’s Royal Opera House earlier this year, called in as an emergency...
Cityscape News & Reviews
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The Blue Man Group finally arrives in Christchurch as a fully-fledged international entertainment phenomenon; with permanent shows running in several cities and multiple touring groups on the go most of the time, there’s blue men all over the place. With three of the curious, almost alien-like bald blue fellows currently holed up in the Theatre Royal until the 3rd of July, the city now has the chance to see the rather indescribable show that has wowed crowds all over the world. The Blue Man Group experience is a mixture of energetic percussion on unusual instruments, technical wizardry, audience participation, silent comedy and circus-like tricks. At the heart of it all are the multi-talented performers that are the blue men themselves, mute but wonderfully expressive, and each able to get a reaction out of a packed Theatre Royal with a turn of the head or a raised eyebrow. Their skill set...
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A very special evening with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa this March offers the opportunity to see one of the world’s greatest opera singers live in concert. Dame Kiri opens a six-venue tour of the country with a gala event on her 72nd birthday, March 7, at the historic Isaac Theatre Royal, before carrying on to Invercargill, Wellington, Gisborne, Tauranga, and Blenheim. Dame Kiri last performed on the ITR stage just ten days before the 22nd February 2011 earthquake – the last 100% full house performance at the theatre before quake damage and the restoration process closed it for 4 years. The Christchurch evening will be a ‘gala black tie and red carpet’ fundraising event to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the 2011 disaster, and to celebrate the first fully operational year of a fabulous restored theatre in the heart of the city. Dame Kiri will be accompanied by one of...
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Fly My Pretties are back to rock one of their favourite venues, the Isaac Theatre Royal on an exclusive two-show national tour. The Royal Takeover sees a return of FMP faves Ria Hall, Anna Coddington, Laughton Kora, Kara Gordon, Ryan Prebble, Mel Parsons, Bailey Wiley, and Mara TK (to name a few) alongside newbie Holly Arrowsmith and support by Tiki Taane – and a not-to-be missed after party upstairs in the theatre! Fly My Pretties 13 February www.isaactheatreroyal.co.nz...
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Fashion For a Cure is returning to Christchurch on September 22. Taking place for the first time this year in the glam surroundings of the Isaac Theatre Royal, MC Carly Binding will host an exclusive night of fashion with Breast Cancer Cure (BCC) to help them towards to their goal of finding a cure. BCC's Phillipa Green describes Fashion For a Cure as "...an opportunity to enjoy a fun night out with friends or host a client function, while knowing you are playing a part in creating a future that is free from the fear of the disease that effects so many brilliant Kiwi women.” Supported by ASB and Fuji Xerox, Fashion For A Cure showcases some of New Zealand’s top designers, including Trelise Cooper, Coop, Storm, Liam, Moochi, Andrea Moore and Working Style. Attendees also get the chance to bid on a variety of auction items including, some sweet...
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The gilded interior of the restored Isaac Theatre Royal is an appropriate setting for the New Zealand Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly, Puccini’s sorrowful tale of a devoted Japanese woman, Butterfly, who chooses entirely the wrong man to fall in love with – caddish US naval officer Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton. This tragic affair of the heart unfolds on a visually simple but truly striking set of Japanese screen doors that seamlessly slide, fly and adjust to form a puzzle-box like series of dazzling interiors and partitions. It’s magnificently lit throughout, and behind it all a layered backdrop of cherry trees is artistically vibrant enough that you’re in danger of having it distract you away from the actual show. Not for long though, because the lavishly-costumed international and national cast brings its A-game to the performance, led by Anne Sophie Duprels as Butterfly. The French star has played the role all...
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The Royal New Zealand Ballet goes tilting at windmills in March with the world’s favourite shaggy dog story, Don Quixote. Opening their 2015 season ‘somewhere in La Mancha’, the RNZB will perform the timeless (1605!) tale of adventure, chivalry, love and rambling that has inspired one of the greatest works in classical ballet. The RNZB’s  own production of the work is described as a fiery, flirtatious delight that combines virtuoso choreography with comic flair that is sure to appeal to all ages. The story moves along at a rapid clip as it follows dreamer Don Quixote, together with his long-suffering nephew Sancho Panza, as they nobly aid and abet lovers Kitri and Basilio in their struggles with the devious Gamache and his cohort of street dancers, Kitri’s pretentious father, and (of course) an actual shaggy dog. The spectacular dancing (choreography by Kiwi Adrian Burnett) is complemented by vivid storybook style...