Hawke’s Bay Arts: A Magical Opera House Will Cheer You Up


Sarah Warmsley and Anna Pierard are the hardworking and talented duo behind the Festival Opera’s flagship performance in 2022, The Magic Flute. Photo / Warren Buckland

Prepare to be in awe, prepare for the unexpected, and prepare for a magical evening of opera entertainment.

Anna Pierard and Sarah Warmsley are the hardworking and talented duo behind the Festival Opera‘s flagship performance in 2022, The Magic Flute.

Once again, they have hired world-class opera artists to perform in Mozart’s latest opera.

“It’s time to get out of the house and get away from the hour-long updates and enjoy the magic,” Anna said.

“The Magic Flute is simply delicious and uplifting. Its playfulness and drama is incredible. It is so important for our community to come together and enjoy this performance. I think even the toughest person will be affected by the beauty of music and bare voice – no microphones here. “

Sarah says that in these times when access to the world is closed and we don’t have much to celebrate, the opportunity to see a show of this caliber is not to be missed.

“Don’t feel like you have to be prepared. It’s like opening a book and starting on the first page. Opera isn’t nerdy, there’s something for everyone,” Sarah said.

“We’re excited to bring this opera to the community – we know the audience will love it.”

Anna said: “There is so much talent right under our noses.

“This campaign is a great example. We have award winning photographer Richard Wood on board using his innovative technology and Erin Lally is our amazing costume designer.”

Then of course there are all the amazing people on and off the stage.

A total of 12 young artists participate in the Magic Flute.

“More than we’ve ever had before,” “said Anna.” Nine of them are Project Prima Volta [PPV] graduates who pursue a career in opera.

“They take minor roles and cover the lead roles, so a great chance to perform in a fully staged opera – there aren’t a lot of opportunities these days because of Covid but it’s a silver lining for the development of young opera singers. “

Festival Opera is partnering with NZ Opera to support their Young Artist initiative – called the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Studio Artist program – and two of the three young artists are PPV graduates, Katherine Winitana and Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono.

“The three of us will be welcoming the three of us to participate and gain valuable ‘on the job’ experience during a fully staged production – the other young artist is Hannah Ashford-Beck.”

A total of 85 people on and off stage are involved in the production, including the artists, the creative team, the production team and the Festival Opera management, plus a full orchestra during performances and around 10 volunteers. who help with the costumes, hair and makeup.

Sarah said Tamino (the Prince-like character) is Oliver Sewell, who trained in New York and worked with PPV graduates to help them understand and learn from his journey to developing his voice, which is magnificent and powerful.

“He stressed the importance of connecting with the emotional voice and allowing that to color the sound and connect with the audience.

“Opera is more than singing. You need a solid vocal technique that takes a lot of practice. You have to work a lot. It’s a bit like high performance sport,” said Sarah.

They say the Opera Festival is a great opportunity for the community to see the talent come out of PPV.

“It shows the real power of the arts to create resilient and talented people. Young people need something amazing to participate and our supporters can see the development of these unpretentious young people. It is a powerful tool for our community. “

Stars include Emma Pearson, singing Pamina (the princess-like character). The Australian soprano recently sang with NZ Opera in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Handel’s Semele.

“She has a beautiful and exciting voice that the Hawke’s Bay audience will love.”

Polly Ott is residing in Germany and will be in New Zealand performing the famous role of the Queen of the Night, which has an iconic and very dramatic piece that many people will recognize.

Another exceptionally talented Kiwi singer is James Ioelu.

The adult choir is made up of community singers and students from the PPV program, and the children’s choir from the Project Prima Volta Junior program – they will play the gnomes!


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