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Opera Royalty Meets Majestic Orchestra In Apo Concert

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in association with NZ Opera presents The Trusts Community Foundation Opera in Concert, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut

Opera superstars Serena Farnocchia, Massimo Giordano and Dalibor Jenis are on their way to New Zealand to take up the lead roles in The Trusts Community Foundation Opera in Concert, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut – the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s (APO) highly anticipated annual opera work.

Manon Lescaut is the story of a beautiful young woman, played by Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia, who is torn between a life of material luxury or settling for true love.

Young student Des Grieux, to be performed by acclaimed Italian tenor Massimo Giordano, is overtaken by love the moment he sees her. She, in return, falls for him. But Manon loves other things too – attention, revelry, wealth. Her wilful ambition wants the best of both worlds, which ultimately leads to dire consequences.

One of the original anti-heroines, Manon remains as mesmerising to the audience as she does to her haplessly devoted lover.

Puccini’s third opera was a smash hit from its February 1893 premiere - it received more than 30 curtain calls - and has remained so ever since.

The work is a favourite of APO Music Director Giordano Bellincampi, who will conduct the concert in July.

“Puccini was intrigued by Abbe Provost’s 1731 novel, on which the opera is based. Manon Lescaut also gave him the chance to write something very musically modern, for the time.” says Bellincampi.

“This is a truly, original, personal Puccini work. The first act is one of the most sensual in all music history,” he says. 

Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia studied with Gianpiero Mastromei. In 1995, she was one of the youngest winners of the Luciano Pavarotti Competition in Philadelphia. In 1998, she attended the Accademia of Teatro alla Scala, and soon after she made her house debut in Don Giovanni (Donna Anna), under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Since then, she has established a remarkable international career performing regularly in many prestigious opera houses and festivals. 

Pompeii-born Massimo Giordano is one of the world’s foremost tenors. He has performed some of opera’s most pivotal roles at concert halls all over the world. Giordano himself calls La Scala (Milan), The Metropolitan Opera (New York), Vienna State Opera, The Royal Opera House (London), and the Paris Opera some of his “musical homes.”

Acclaimed for his “deep and rich voice” (Los Angeles Times), Slovak baritone Dalibor Jenis has sung leading roles in operas by Bellini, Rossini, Mozart and Verdi in many of the world’s major theatres and has received many awards.

The guest artists will be joined by a stellar cast of international and New Zealand performers, including Australian baritone Pelham Andrews and Italian tenor Matteo Falcier. London-based New Zealand singers James Ioelu and Bianca Andrew also feature.  

With the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus and the full Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra luxuriating in Puccini’s sumptuous music, Manon Lescaut will be a remarkable night at the Auckland Town Hall.

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