After Mozart’s Don Giovanni on St Patrick’s Day, ‘Lansdown Summer’ concludes its 5th festival at the beautiful heritage property at 132 Old Tai Tapu Road, with its second ‘narropera’ – a narrated format of opera. Weber’s ‘Der Freischütz’, The Devil’s Marksman will be held on 25 and 31 March.
Narropera reduces an opera to its musical and storyline essentials. Performances last 85 minutes and are without interval, as mesmerising as a ‘Who dunnit’.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Wellington’s Evening Post wrote, “The great event of the operatic season, Der Freischütz, took place last night. The applause was immense… such cheers hardly ever have been heard before in this theatre.”
Fifty years later, the same newspaper wrote of another performance, “Lovers of operatic music will welcome the performance of Weber’s Der Freischütz, next Saturday. The best cast of soloists to be obtained in the Dominion has been engaged”.
The NZ Herald described a third performance of Der Freischütz as “one of the most beautiful compositions in the repertoire of operatic music, too well known to require any detailed statement of the plot”.
It is hard to believe that a work that was so loved and admired in early New Zealand is now unknown. So, head to Lansdown and discover the exquisite music and wonderful story of Der Freischütz, for yourself.
When and where: Giovanni 17 March; Freischütz 25 March and 31 March, The Golden Room, Lansdown House, 132 Old Tai Tapu Road at 8PM, parking in grounds.
Bookings, location map and more are available from www.lansdownsummer.com or c/o Box Office, Court Theatre 03-963 0870. Take a picnic, gates open at 6.30pm.
If you’ve long dreamed of singing Italian and sounding Italian, then Claudia Lues can help you realise your dream.
“I think my love of music began in the crib,” says South African born Claudia. “My parents are Italian; my mother sang all the popular Italian songs, including opera and my maternal grandfather was a conductor, so music surrounded my entire life.”
In response to the earthquakes, Claudia pitched the idea of Italian singing classes to the Canterbury Workers’ Educational Association (CWEA). “I felt the need to do my bit – to help traumatised people.”
The CWEA gave her a ‘test run’ to ascertain interest. “That was in 2014. I began with six students then it kept growing. Now I have 15…and I would love more!”
Claudia says there’s no need to feel apprehensive about singing in a foreign language. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Italian; the joy is in singing the words – that’s how you learn the language.”
The song repertoire ranges from classics to modern – “From Puccini to Bocelli, we do it all,” Claudia says. “My students say the class is the highlight of their week; they’ve grown to love the language so much, they’ve taken trips to Italy!”
Claudia feels very fortunate to be doing what she loves most. “It’s who I am – a musical Italian. To share my passion and make people smile, that’s my goal. For me, it’s pure pleasure.”
For more information visit email@example.com.
March is a musical month at Lansdown, with its festival tradition of presenting opera as entertainment and enjoyment. Short-winded and mesmerising, this is ‘narropera’ – narrated opera presented in word and song for 85 minutes.
Enjoy Mozart’s magical Don Giovanni, on 11 and 17 March; revel in Weber’s wonderful romantic opera Der Freischütz (The Devil’s Marksman), on 25 and 31 March.
Narropera’s success lies in beauty and brevity, clarity and passion. Its surroundings are altogether impressive: ‘Lansdown’ is one of the oldest and most cherished properties in Canterbury, situated between Halswell and Tai Tapu, just 11 kilometres from Cathedral Square.
A fairytale atmosphere of exotic Victorian trees, majestic architecture and a performing room of great elegance and size awaits the visitor. Enter another world and enjoy listening to the beautiful German soprano voice of Dorothee Jansen, to the fine musicianship of the Narropera Trio and to the dramatic narratives of Haydn Rawstron.
Leave Lansdown with a much deeper knowledge of these two operatic masterpieces. And, as a curtain-raiser to the narropera season of performances, the fifth Lansdown Summer festival presents a glorious evening of Schubert songs – The Fashion Journal Songs – also with narratives, this Saturday evening, 3 March. All performances are from 8pm to 9.30pm. Tickets from $42.
You’ll find the venue at The Golden Room, Lansdown House, 132 Old Tai Tapu Road, parking in substantial grounds. Details (bookings, artists’ biographies, location map) at www.lansdownsummer.com or c/o The Box Office, Court Theatre 03-963 0870. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the performance, gates open at 6.30pm.