Twins and 'singing policeman' join for operatic treat

BY AL WILLLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2009

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Culture vultures will get the opportunity to sample a slice of opera this weekend and it's a family affair.

American tenor Daniel Rodriguez, aka, 'The Singing Policeman', will be joined by Dunedin-born wife Marla, her identical twin sister, Marissa Dikkenberg, and their mother, Kathi Craig for a performance at the Theatre Royal on Saturday night.

The twins' stepfather, Malcolm Hopwood, was instrumental in bringing the family together for a performance in Timaru.

It's his hometown and he said he can't wait to see the family perform on the stage where his father directed music.

The family involvement doesn't stop there, as US-based Mr and Mrs Rodriguez have chosen to have their first child, nine-week-old Alexandra, in New Zealand, which allows them to carry out a four venue tour here.

Mr Rodriguez got his nickname due to his role as one of the New York City Police Department's designated national anthem singers. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, he received widespread acclaim for his performances at memorial events and on television. It led to an offer of formal training from Placido Domingo, and he has since recorded several albums and gives numerous live performances.

Mrs Rodriguez and Mrs Dikkenberg have backgrounds in song and performance.

They are in the process of recording their first album together in Los Angeles and return shortly to complete recording.

Mrs Craig will be sharing vocal duties with the twins on the album.

She has sung lead and support roles for several New Zealand opera companies and performed with her daughters around New Zealand.

The musical family entourage are relaxed about touring and enjoy the lighter moments of working in the entertainment industry.

They admitted to warming their vocal chords in the shower.

"I often practice with a hair brush," Mrs Dikkenberg said.

Now Australia-based, she said it was a special time for the family to be back home.

"As a South Islander, when you live overseas, it's a special thing to return to perform where you grow up."

Mr Rodriguez will perform the bulk of the programme on Saturday night, with a tribute to legendary tenor, Mario Lanza.

Mrs Rodriguez and Mrs Dikkenberg will perform songs from their forth-coming album before Mrs Craig takes the stage to perform with Mr Rodriguez and finally the whole family.

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- The Timaru Herald

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