Press Release – NZSM
The opera composer better known as Giuseppe Verdi was born in 1813 and Te Koki New Zealand School of Music is making ‘big’ plans to celebrate this ‘big’ year.
“We will be presenting a full-scale, four-performance season of a Verdi opera in late July in the Wellington Opera House,” confirms Stephen Gibbs, Events Coordinator at NZSM. “It is an ambitious project. Opera is notoriously expensive to produce, and NZSM has scheduled a fundraising dinner for Saturday 9 March with all proceeds going towards the July production.
“Our special guest for the evening will be tenor Simon O’Neill, principal artist with the Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and an alumnus of the School.”
The dinner will be held in Icon Restaurant at Te Papa on the Wellington waterfront. Patrons and honoured guests will gather from 6:15 pm for pre-dinner drinks before taking their places at round tables of 10 where they will enjoy a delectable three course meal with superb accompanying wines served by Te Papa’s exclusive caterers. The evening will be sprinkled with operatic treats – featuring not only Simon O’Neill, but also NZSM’s illustrious teaching staff: Margaret Medlyn, Richard Greager, Jenny Wollerman and Lisa Harper-Brown as well as some graduate students.
“Simon is an alumnus of the School, and we, and our vocal students, are thoroughly enjoying having him working as a Teaching Fellow at NZSM,” Stephen says. “Of course his career is going from strength to strength and I know that many of the dinner patrons will really enjoy meeting and hearing him on this occasion. The dinner will also feature a number of the senior students who will be taking on major roles in July and Mark Dorrell, well known in Wellington musical circles, will be the accompanist.”
While the fundraising aspect of the dinner is important to help ensure the later success of NZSM’s Verdi season, gathering a supportive community is also one of their aims. They are aware that NZSM supporters will come from a range of backgrounds and consequently they are offering a two-part dinner ‘ticket’: $100 for the dinner plus a donation per ticket of $100, $150, $200 … or whatever the patron feels inspired to give. NZSM hopes that the amount of the donation will simply reflect the supporter’s enthusiasm and means. NZSM will provide two receipts so that patrons claim the full 33% tax credit on the donation part of their ‘ticket’.
“It promises to be a wonderful evening of good food, good wine, convivial company and great music. Anyone interested should contact us at NZSM soon, as table space is limited by the venue. And, by the way, in case you are wondering just which Verdi opera we are presenting in July – we will officially announce that at the dinner!”