The Factory Theatre, 7 Eden Street, Newmarket, Auckland

18/12/2013 - 20/12/2013

Production Details


Enjoy the real Magic of Christmas with Opera Factory’s Family Gala 18, 19 &20 December 

Opera Factory’s annual Christmas Gala will be a cracker of an evening bubbling with favourite scenes from popular opera and operetta including excerpts from Carmen, La Traviata, Hansel & Gretel, The Magic Flute, Floradora, Marriage of Figaro, Barber of Seville, La Bohème and many more. 

Directed by the well known Carmel Carroll and with Maestra Rosie Barnes as music director, the  large cast of talented young singers and Guest Artists including Mr Max Cryer who will present the three evening performances on 18th, 19th and 20th December at 7.30pm on stage at the Factory Theatre, 7 Eden Street, Newmarket. 

This fundraising Gala will support the activities of the Opera Factory Trust and its mission to provide performance, opportunity, education and training to young people of all ages and to encourage the future audiences and exponents of opera.  

A Christmas Cracker is suitable for all ages and offers an ideal occasion for corporate or club gatherings with group discounts available.  Complimentary Christmas cake and strawberries are served and the programme concludes with sing-a-long of favourite Christmas carols.  

The fringe style Factory Theatre is in the heart of Newmarket at 7 Eden Street, round the corner from Broadway and Two Double Seven shopping centre and two minutes from public car parks, link bus and rail services. For information phone 09 921 7801 or email admin@operafactory.com or checkout our website www.operafactory.com 

A Christmas Cracker  
The Opera Factory Trust 
18th, 19th, 20th December at 7.30pm  
Factory Theatre 7 Eden Street, Newmarket, Auckland 
iTICKET online www.iticket.co.nz  
or Phone 09 361 1000 
Tickets are $45/$42 and students/children are $15

Opera ,

A wonderful showcase of emerging young talent

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 19th Dec 2013

The Opera Factory Trust have produced a fine fund raiser to close their 2013 season, performing to a full, appreciative and supportive opening night audience.

A cost-effective cheerful set of glad-wrap and Christmas decorations makes a busy, festive setting (stage design John Eaglen, as well as construction and creation, with help from Carole Fuhrmann). Carole has also done well with costuming and wardrobe, kitting out the full company in black dresses, gowns and suits, with fitting accessories and embellishments added here and there throughout the night. 

The cast is enthusiastic and well rehearsed, under the watchful and detailed eye of director Carmel Carroll, who keeps the pace and transitions upbeat and smooth. Carmel’s sensible spacing and intelligent blocking ensures singers and lyrics can be heard at all times. Her inclusive approach to casting and staging ensures everyone in the company has their moment.

The company have benefitted from the coaching of Helen Medlyn, Reg Towers, David Kelly, Elizabeth Lau, Eddie Giffney, Gemma Lee and John Eaglen. The senior company exhibit excellent vocal work, with good diction, technical support and placement evident in equal measure. The junior company are not far behind in all aspects, though they struggle with the complicated movement in the opening number, becoming short of breath, thus losing their vocal energy and diction by the end of a few phrases. No matter: they look a treat and strength of numbers ensures they get through.

Top honours to Rosemary Barnes who gallops across the ivories from start to finish: a titan effort by anyone’s standards and one that is acknowledged with loud and sustained applause as the unstoppable Rosie takes her place at the piano at the top of the second half.

Catherine Reaburn shows vocal promise during the opening excerpts from Carmen by Bizet (sung in English) while Bernice Austin exhibits a natural stage presence and grasp of Italian during her ‘Doretta’s Dream’ from La Rondine by Puccini.

A special guest appearance by tenor Derek Hill is a welcome delight, as he fills the room with a warm and wonderful ‘You Are My Heart’s Delight’ (‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’) by Lehar.

Leila Alexander is infinitely watchable as she confidently sings Musetta’s waltz song from La Boheme by Puccini. She is in full command of her charm and stagecraft.

Several times during the night, the company sings wonderfully in unison. ‘The Street Where You Live’ from My Fair Lady by Loewe is a fine example, while ‘Tell My Pretty Lady’ is full of perfectly pitched mannered flirtations.

The sextet from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart is tuneful and bright, with all vocalists – especially the women, Emily Scott and Charlotte Rodham – performing with assurance and skill.

‘The Bridal Chorus’ from Lohengrin by Wagner delivers a wall of rich harmony from the senior company, before the ‘Brindisi’ from La Traviata by Verdi, with able Aidan Gill and Leila Alexander at the helm, brings the first half to an uplifting close.

The junior company opens the second half with charming voice, with excerpts from Hansel & Gretel, including a lovely version of ‘The Evening Prayer’ by Clare Hood and Emma Fusel. Later in the half, fellow junior company members Morgan Carroll and Alysia Han provide another delightful duet as they perform a tuneful and clear ‘Mary’s Song’ from The Secret Garden.

Emily Scott shows she is one to watch as she and Andrea Benoit capture the phrasing and shape of the ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakme by Delibes, as one.

Clare Hood tells her story brilliantly in ‘Non so piu’ from The Marriage Of Figaro. Not only does she have a fine command of the language, she sings with wicked enthusiasm and sass.

Max Cryer’s guest appearance, reading A Kiwi Christmas Story, is a cherished moment for this audience.

Callum Blackmore’s lively and suitably animated rendition of Papageno’s aria from The Magic Flute by Mozart, has him bouncing round the stage with effortless ease. His enthusiastic command of the German language and overall energy, are most enjoyable.

Andrea Benoit joins him for an unexpected staging of ‘The Bird Duet’, which they pull off well, with Andrea easily matching Callum’s vocal perk and energy.

Aside from a miss-directed version of ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story by Bernstein, which lacks emotionally fuelled intensity or urgency; and an oddly staged ‘nessun dorma’, during which poor Derek Hill has to pick his way through a floor full of sleeping bodies as the lighting cues fail to keep up with him; plus the strangely placed ‘Brotherhood of Man’ from A Christmas Carol by Norman which did not work programmed straight after the swell of Turandot, this evening is a wonderful showcase of emerging young talent.

Top marks to The Opera Factory’s dedicated and hard working team, for producing a heart-felt festive occasion. A night for all involved to be proud of.


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