Newspaper Article 1993 – Carmen in the blood as well as the voice

Carmen in the blood as well as the voice


NAPIER singer Phillipa Reade has the right sort of background for a role in the passionate opera Carmen, in which she plays the leading role in performances in Hastings.

Reade said her family had Spanish blood but she did not think that played an important part in Sunday’s opening night.

It’s a big part for anyone. Carmen is a big part,” she said.

I’m on the stage most of the time and I must be able to sing and dance . . . and be Spanish.”

The opera opened to a full house on Sunday and the final three performances were fully booked, she said. “It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s great, I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Carmen was described by director Richard Campion as “the people’s opera”. The characters in the opera are accompanied by a 37-strong orchestra led by Helen Tippler and Conductor Alan Foster, who is a violinist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

The performances at the revamped Hastings Municipal Theatre were the original versions complied by the composer, Georges [George] Bizet, Mr Campion said.

Reade was the best prepared and most “suited to the role mezzo-soprano” he could find.

And she “was right here in the Bay,” he said.

“Like Dame Malvina and Kiri before her, she was the latest star of that producer and protector of dine voices – Dame Sister Mary Leo.”

He was high praise for all those involved in the production including what he terms “the powerhouse of Carmen”, the chorus of 34 singers from the towns, farms and hills of Hawke’s Bay.

Australian Howard Spicer takes the role Carmen’s lover, Don Jose.

It is the fourth opera put on by the Hawke’s Bay Opera Trust and will be performed at the Municipal Theatre tonight, Thursday and Saturday.

Photo caption – Some of the cast of Carmen – Jillian Anderton (Frasquita), left, Phillipa Reade (Carmen), Tracey Mellelieu (Mercedes), David Skinner (Danairo) and Hamish Morrison (Remendado) rear

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Hawke's Bay Opera Trust

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Newspaper article

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April 1993

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Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Jillian Anderton
  • Richard Campion
  • Alan Foster
  • Dame Sister Mary Leo
  • Dame Malvina Major
  • Tracey Mellelieu
  • Hamish Morrison
  • Phillipa Reade
  • David Skinner
  • Howard Spicer
  • Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Helen Tippler

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