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Wednesday, 24 April 2019 05:59 pm

Street opera captivates CubaDupa crowd with feathers fly

A typically quiet alley transformed was into a bustling theatre as Cuba Dupa’s street opera Renard the Fox captivated audiences throughout the weekend.

The collaboration of professional opera singers, orchestra and circus acrobats came together to tell the old folk story.

Director Jacqui Coats was excited to see the whole thing come together.

“I think it went really well. The performance was fantastic and really positive for people that haven’t seen a street opera before,” she said.

“There was a real mix of an audience, and as Cuba Dupa is a family event we had an audience you wouldn’t normally get. They really enjoyed it.”

Coats has directed her own shows and been an assistant director for several New Zealand Opera productions for more than a decade, including New Zealand Opera’s La Traviata.

Orchestra Wellington came up with idea of performing Renard the Fox because they didn’t think it had been done in New Zealand before.

The old folk story written by Russian composer Igor Stravisnky in 1916 tells the tale of a deceptive fox (Renard) who tries to trick the Cock into coming down off his perch so he can eat him.

The Cock is captured by the Fox, but his friends the Cat and the Ram come to rescue him.

He is then lured for a second time from his perch, and the Cat and the Ram kill the Fox and the trio sing and dance.

Circus performers from the Te Auaha New Zealand Institute of Applied Creativity dressed in Edwardian masquerade were perched up high on surrounding windowsills of the courtyard.

The sleeping Cock (Pascal Ackerman) was high up on his roost while Renard the Fox (Tanya Drewer) was carried in on his throne by his foxy minions.

Orchestra Wellington and four professional opera singers including James Clayton and Richard Greage brought the act to life in a vibrant musical narrative.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever worked with circus performers and although I have done outdoor shows before, I haven’t directed a street performance,” Coats said.

The act was performed three times in Hannah’s Courtyard on Eva and Leeds Street on Saturday and was performed as the opening parade and then twice on the Sunday.






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