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Showbiz Christchurch

Back to back Broadway hits: you’ll get a kick out of Showbiz Christchurch’s mid-winter concert Broadway Hitmen

Back to back hits from two of the biggest names on Broadway, Cole Porter and Andrew Lloyd Webber, will be performed at the Isaac Theatre Royal, with four performances from 13-15 July.

Showbiz Christchurch
Charlotte Taylor will feature as a soloist in Broadway Hitmen. Photo Wendy Riley

American born Porter wrote more than 800 songs across a five-decade career, conquering both Broadway and Hollywood. His soaring melodies, offset with urbane and witty lyrics, gave rise to his signature musical genre known as ‘the Cole Porter song’. Iconic musicals like Anything Goes, Can Can and Kiss Me Kate remain stage and screen classics, finding new audiences with every decade; his greatest songs covered by modern stars from Michael Bublé to Lady Gaga.
British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is arguably the best-known name in modern musical theatre. The first composer to have four musicals playing simultaneously on Broadway since 1953, he has written some of the world’s most loved and successful musicals including Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and CATS.
Broadway Hitmen features favourites from these two musical theatre hit makers performed by an onstage orchestra under the baton of Ravil Atlas, along with soloists and a large chorus.
Amongst the soloists will be West End singer/actor Nic Kyle, who toured with Elaine Page in 2012; soprano Charlotte Taylor who has performed with NZOpera and Showbiz; jazz and blues artist Kate Taylor of the All Girl Big Band; and Kira Josephson who recently played Nessarose in the Showbiz production of Wicked.
Bookings through Ticketek, 0800 842 538, www.ticketek.co.nz/showbiz or www.showbiz.org.nz/broadway-hitmen.

Lansdown House

Music at Lansdown

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.

Lansdown House
Lansdown House, the venue for Lansdown Summer

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.

Singing in Italian

Cantare in Italiano: learning to sing in Italian

If you’ve long dreamed of singing Italian and sounding Italian, then Claudia Lues can help you realise your dream.

Singing in Italian

“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
admin@cwea.org.nz.