Circa One, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

06/07/2008 - 20/07/2008

Production Details

Helen Moulder stars in


Cynthia Fortitude for Prime Minister!

"The greatest living soprano of all time" – Mongolian Morning Tribune

If You Want a more Harmonious New Zealand for your Children!
If you Love the Arts
And don’t think the Economy Matters that Much!


The great travelling opera diva, Miss Cynthia Fortitude, has come back to New Zealand and after an illuminating experience on Paekakariki Beach, has decided to form a political party and stand for parliament.  Come and hear for yourself Cynthia’s Five Point Plan for the Glorious Transformation of New Zealand Culture and Society. With Operatic Highlights by Verdi, Handel, Purcell, Wagner, Haydn, Gay, Sullivan and Miss Fortitude herself.


Miss Cynthia Fortitude, peripatetic diva and composer, has requested that we inform you of her imminent return from the most recent of her many tours of Ethiopia and the Sahel.

Miss Fortitude has of course graced our auditoria many times before, in particular with The Legend Returns. A radio version of this show appears unaccountably often on National Radio, leading us to believe that Miss Fortitude has a certain fan base, either in the general populace or, more probably, in the echelons of the broadcasting bureaucracy.

In 2007 Miss Fortitude announced her retirement and attempted to give a concert at our illustrious neighbour Te Papa’s Soundings Theatre entitled Cynthia Fortitude’s Farewell – her first. Apparently the whole affair descended into chaos, with the conductor and entire orchestra walking out in disgust and Miss Fortitude was left to sing her next aria to the accompaniment of a ukulele. It says much for Miss Fortitude’s charisma (and/or liberality) that the evening was hailed by critics as a masterpiece.

Miss Fortitude now informs us that she has founded her own political party, will be standing for parliament at the forthcoming elections and intends to form a government shortly thereafter. Circa notes that that Miss Fortitude has spent most of her life travelling overseas, taking her concerts of serious music to third world countries. What can she possibly know, one might ask, of the everyday concerns of ordinary New Zealanders?

As usual we are expecting huge crowds, (The Legend Returns was sold out) and whilst wishing Miss Fortitude good fortune with her latest endeavour we feel compelled to warn the public that the Circa management in no way sanctions the antics of an opera singer who regularly confounds and confuses her audience and that we do not endorse Miss Fortitude’s candidacy or the policies of the Fortitude Party.

The Beleaguered Team at Circa.

Season: Sundays,  July 6, 13, 20:  7.30pm
Circa, 1 Taranaki Street, Wellington
Bookings Circa Theatre: (04) 801 7992 www.circa.co.nz
Adults $28 Concessions $22

with Miss Helen Moulder as Miss Cynthia Fortitude

Operator - Deb McGuire
Publicity - Colleen McColl
Photography and photoshopping - Jeannette MacEwan
Prop Construction - Julie Wilson
Backing Music - Tim Solly
Graphic Design - Greg Simpson (Toolbox)

A dotty comedy to clear the blues

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 12th Jul 2008

The bad news is that Cynthia Fortitude’s magnum opus is on hold. Balls!, the first rugby opera, is unlikely to see the light of day unless she wins the forthcoming general election and becomes P.M.

The very good news is that she’s back with a vengeance for the next two Sunday nights at Circa where she is setting up her political party and teaching the faithful how to sing her party song, cheer and applaud at the correct moments and ask the questions she has so thoughtfully prepared for this recording of her radio and TV speech (complete with visual aids) to the nation.

The party song (music by George Handel) has the following lines: For unto us a leader’s given / and the government shall be upon her shoulders / Cynthia! Fortitude! / Our nation’s heart! / Prime Minister and diva / the queen of song!

As you can see there is a musical bias in her policies which no doubt comes from some of her supporters such as The Association of Accredited Music Critics, The Post-Modern School of Music, and The Friends of the Hokitika Opera, while Dames Kiri and Malvina are on her party list along with Jonathan Lemalu, but not Haley Westenra.

In her Five Point Plan (we only heard four because she keeps interrupting herself) places as far afield as Kaitaia, Invercargill and the Chathams will all be given opera houses. In fairness, I should point out that she will make rugby compulsory for all boys under 15 so we can win the World Cup in 2011 and she will remove the tax on chain saws.

If you have the recession blues or the winter blues or are just feeling fed up with life in general then Helen Moulder’s blissfully dotty comedy should provide more than welcome relief.


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Facing the future with Fortitude

Review by John Smythe 07th Jul 2008

If you dream of a land where opera houses flourish in hitherto depressed communities from Cape Reinga to Bluff, then look no further than Cynthia Fortitude for Prime Minister. An enthralled audience last night witnessed the launch of The Fortitude Party- to be repeated on the next two Sundays at Circa Theatre – and left convinced their election dilemmas had been resolved.

The Hon Helen Clark may very well love opera, but Miss Fortitude (dammit she should be Dame Cynthia) makes them. Not content to simply anticipate the laurels to come with her NBR NZ Opera-commissioned 2011 World Cup opera Balls, (the work-still-in-progress she previewed last September at Cynthia Fortitude’s Farewell – her first), she is now developing a grand opera about her imminent meteoric rise to power. Entitled The Force of Destiny, it is not to be confused with Guiseppe Verdi’s four-act dabble for Tsar Alexander II, La forza del destino, nor with Bishop Brian’s church of black shirts.

Cynthia does reveal her more humble intention was to profile Sir Ed Hilary or Ettie Rout, but all that remains is a scrap that glorifies the virtues of potassium permanganate (quite rightly, too). Now we are treated to – indeed we become the chorus for – such gems as, ‘Unto us a Leader’s given / Unto us a Star is born / Prime Minister as Diva / The Queen of song …

It has to be said that the details of how exactly the leader of a minor party could become Prime Minister have yet to be worked out but given the balance of power in a coalition government, who know what may be negotiated.

Meanwhile Miss Fortitude does have a Five Point Plan for the Glorious Transformation of New Zealand Culture and Society. Beyond the aforementioned opera housing of New Zealand, these include ingenious strategies for moderating All Black behaviour on tour, diverting potentially delinquent boys into more constructive activity (cue ‘Onward Lads of Fortitude’), facing a Tuhoe uprising to assert their sovereignty, eliminating pollution of the waterways from farm runoff while ensuring we still have food … Indeed she has a master – or mistress – plan to solve most global issues in one fell swoop, which I won’t reveal here.

Cynthia Fortitude may come over as dotty and disorganised but do not be deceived. Her ability to manage the country is exemplified in her deft handling, over 80 minutes, of a CD remote (for musical accompaniment), a laptop with PowerPoint presentation, and the cell phone through which she maintains communications with her campaign manager Sir Jarvis Browne, who is out finding funding, and loyal assistant Gertrude Rallentando, who is conducting a Preferred Prime Minister opinion poll.

These last two elements have dramatic impacts on the immediate proceedings, bringing Miss F to the brink of mortal despair. But – on opening night, anyway – the ‘day’ was saved in the proverbial nick by … Again I should not reveal the details here. Suffice to say the internet is a boon to instant solutions.

So if you are an undecided voter, or even if you think you’re fully committed and want to test your loyalties against this insidiously formidable campaigner, get yourself to the next rally to determine whether you too want to ‘Face the Future with Fortitude’.

PS:  The ineffable talents of Helen Moulder as writer, actress, ukulele-player and coloratura extraordinaire (of snippets from Verdi, Handel, Purcell, Wagner, Haydn, Gay, Sullivan and Fortitude) must be acknowledged here. Due credit, also, to her co-writer Alison Holcroft, director and dramaturg Jeff Kingsford-Brown, (recorded) backing musician Tim Solly and operator Deb McGuire.


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