APO plans Carmen musical

TREVOR RUPE: The performer was better known as the drag queen and activist Carmen.
TREVOR RUPE: The performer was better known as the drag queen and activist Carmen.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra has confirmed it will perform a gripping production of Carmen next year, but it's not the version you might think.

Songs and Dance of Desire will celebrate the life and times of one of New Zealand's greatest cultural icons, Trevor Rupe, better known as the flamboyant drag queen and activist Carmen, who died last year.

Described by composer Jack Body as "total entertainment", the work will feature a guitarist, dancers and three singers.

The show, which will debut at next year's Auckland Arts Festival, was unveiled last night as part of the APO's 2013 season launch.

A closing night performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, in the centenary year of the composer's birth, has also been confirmed for the festival.
"The Auckland Arts Festival is central to the city's cultural life," said APO chief executive Barbara Glaser.

"It's both a responsibility and a pleasure for the APO to play a key role in the festival, and by presenting one of the great 20th century choral works and a major new piece by our own Composer-in-Residence, we hope to honour that responsibility - and bring pleasure to audiences, too."

A host of internationally renowned names will also feature throughout the rest of the APO's 2013 season.
Major stars returning to Auckland next year include violinist James Ehnes, performing the Elgar concerto, and Nikolai Demidenko, who follows his sell-out 2011 concert of Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.3 with the same composer's second piano concerto.
"The fact that musicians of this calibre return time and time again underlines the reputation the APO has worked hard to develop," said Glaser.

"James Ehnes and Nikolai Demidenko play all over the world with the finest orchestras, and their eagerness to come back to Auckland affirms the direction the APO has taken in recent years under APO Music Director Eckehard Stier."
Other works being performed next year include Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, with New Zealander Paul Whelan taking the role of Nick Shadow. It will be first time the opera has been performed in this country since its 1969 Australasian premiere.
Works by Martinů, Dukas, Korngold and Hindemith's Cello Concerto will also have their New Zealand premieres. The 2013 season will come to a close with Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, conducted by Eckehard Stier.

Auckland Now