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Rossini’s Le comte Ory

So the lads are out of town for a while, and they’ve left their ladies behind. Enter Count Ory: a schemer to be sure, but more than a little hapless. He’s dead set on making the most of the men’s absence – and he’s especially keen on winning the affections of Countess Adèle. Unfortunately for him, Adèle wasn’t born yesterday, so she’s not having a bar of his nonsense. And while he’s so fixated on his own schemes, Ory’s completely clueless about the fact that his supposedly trusty sidekick, Isolier, also has grand plans for the countess.

Intrigued? You will be. A whirlwind blend of silly and sublime, Le comte Ory’s music and script are bursting with Rossini’s trademark pizzazz, with a contemporary (and very Kiwi) staging by Simon Phillips and Tracy Grant Lord breathing new and vivid life into the work. And let’s not forget our pièce de résistance: an outrageous three-in-a-bed romp with over fourteen minutes of slow-burn musical sensuality.

There’s a lot we can’t give away just yet, but we’ll say this: prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of deception, intrigue, and a dash of playful flirtation, all wrapped up in some of the smoothest Rossini tunes you’ve ever heard.

Verdi’s Rigoletto

Against La Dolce Vita styling of 1950s Italy, court jester Rigoletto delights in making enemies of husbands and fathers while his boss, Duke of Mantua, is a callous playboy. (Yet somehow, it’s the duke who has the nerve to sing ‘La donna e mobile’ – women are fickle!)

Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, a smash hit since its debut, is brimming with crowd-pleasing melodies and lush orchestrations. ‘La donna e mobile’ is the hit but the composer preferred ‘Bella figlia dell’amore’, a sensuous depiction of the characters’ motives. “I never expect to do better,” Verdi said.

The jester finds it less funny when he’s cursed by a humiliated parent, and the duke meets Gilda, Rigoletto’s beautiful daughter.

Join NZ Opera, a star-studded cast and a Fiat Bambina as Verdi steps into uncharted artistic territory, balancing character, drama and music in a way that set new standards for Italian opera.