The Press [Christchurch, NZ]
By Christopher Moore

Death, seduction, romance, love and minimalism are on the programme for the NBR New Zealand Opera's 2005 season.
The company's year begins at the 2005 Auckland Festival with a concert performance of John Adams's 1991 opera The Death of Klinghoffer (February 25, Auckland Town Hall). The cast includes Jared Holt as the captain, David Griffiths as Leon Klinghoffer and Jason Barry-Smith as Mamoud.
Adams's opera focuses on the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro, in 1985, and the killing of a crippled American hostage. Lyrical, richly textured and mesmerising, this is a work which has emerged as one of the most important 20th-century operas.
In June and July, the company will present a winter season of Mozart's Don Giovanni in Auckland and Wellington. New Zealand bass Paul Whelan will sing the title role with Patricia Wright as Donna Anna and Conal Coad as Leporello.
In a September/October season, Russian soprano Elvira Fatykhova makes her New Zealand debut in Verdi's La traviata, singing opposite Rodney Macann as Giorgio Germont.
In a move apparently designed to improve the finances of the opera company, board chairman David Gascoigne announced the establishment of a New Zealand Opera Foundation to help secure its long-term future.
The foundation will support the development of professional opera in New Zealand and secure "a solid base" for opera production. It will introduce bequest funding, supervising a managed fund to support NBR New Zealand Opera activities "on an independent basis".
"It will help shelter the company from shifts in the economy as well as in sponsorship and the box office. The intention is for the foundation's foundation to widen and vary what is performed, creating the opportunity for the NBR New Zealand Opera to present seldom-performed or more ambitious works."

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