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Stunning Setting for Twilight Opera in the Garden

The renowned Auckland Opera Studio will present a twilight concert in a superb Wakatipu garden setting this summer, under the umbrella of the Arrowtown Creative Arts Society, whose goal is to help advance arts and culture in the community.

The recently formed society staged the inaugural Arrowtown Spring Arts Festival in 2017 and committee member Margot Robinson says the opera, scheduled for February 17, will add another dimension to the local arts and culture scene.

“We feel that many Queenstown and Arrowtown residents, as well as people who live in the area on a seasonal basis, miss the cultural side of life. Locals often have house guests who are looking for entertainment during the summer as well and we consider the calibre of the Auckland Opera Studio’s performance will be a major attraction.”

Twilight Opera in the Garden, which will feature The Shades and guest artist Pascale Orchard, will be performed in Margot and Bruce Robinson’s garden in Dalefield’s Birchwood Road.

“The garden has been created by well-known Australian landscape designer Paul Bangay and with its rural setting and outlook to Coronet Peak is ideal for a performance of this nature,” says Margot. “The Auckland Opera Studio holds a similar concert at Omaha which has inspired the Wakatipu event and people will be invited to bring along their picnic and relax and enjoy a fabulous evening of highly professional entertainment.”

Auckland Opera Studio’s Stephen Fitzgerald says the charitable trust was created by musician and teacher, Frances Wilson, to help the development of young operatic singers with strong career potential.

The Shades are four young Pacific Island and Samoan men who have either been Young Artists for the New Zealand Opera Apprentice programme or have been sponsored by the Kiri Te Kanawa Trust to further develop their talents.

“Their programme for Twilight Opera in the Garden will be a well-balanced blend of solos and ensembles from operatic classics to iconic popular music and Pacifica. Their perfect mix of strong operatic voices and irresistible Pacific Island charm promises an evening of quirky and humorous entertainment with everything from Puccini to Presley, mostly in four-part harmony.”

Guest artist Pascale Orchard is a Wellington soprano who was one of the major prize winners at the prestigious 2018 IFAC Singing Competition in Australia.

“She has also recently won the Performing Arts Competition Association of NZ award, a New Zealand competition held annually for the collective Operatic Aria competition winners from throughout the country,” says Stephen. “This is a very big feather in the cap of one of New Zealand’s important, young emerging sopranos.”

Twilight Opera in the Garden is sponsored by David Reid Homes and director Abi Mackenzie, who has strong links with opera in her home town in the US, says the company wants to support the growth of the Queenstown and Arrowtown community in a positive way.

“Supporting the performing arts is part of that and the twilight opera is a great opportunity for us. We are very excited to be the major sponsor for the concert which is being held in such a beautiful environment.”