For Faust we have so far:
Faust - Jaewoo Kim
Marguerite - Anne Sophie Duprels
Siébel - Kristen Darragh
Valentin - James Harrison
Wagner - Malcome Ede
For Don Pasquale:
Don Pasquale - Conal Coad
Norina - Lorina Gore
Ernesto - Ashley Catling
For Die Zauberflöte (though it's The Magic Flute on the website so I'm worried it might be in English):
Sarastro - Graeme Broadbent
Queen of the Night - Ana Camelia Stefanescu
Papageno - Richard Burkhard
Papagena - Carla Parry
Monostatos - Phillip Rhodes
Well. For a start, I think Jaewoo Kim for Faust ought to prove a fabulous piece of casting. This man, after all, had girls swooning as Don Ottavio this year. Don Ottavio. It's an utterly gorgeous voice and one which I think will be wonderfully suited to Gounod. This will be his début in the role. About his Marguerite, Anne Sophie Duprels, I know absolutely nothing - except that she's French, which is in itself a very good thing. (For singing French opera I mean. But generally speaking as well.) Siébel, Valentin and Wagner are all being sung by former NZ Opera Emerging Artists - isn't that nice.
Lorina Gore is a UK-based Australian soprano who can be read about here; Ashley Catling is an English tenor. But Conal Coad as Don Pasquale might just steal the show from both of them because he's wonderful.
Ana Camelia Stefanescu's bio makes me think she'll be a pretty fabulous Queen of the Night. This girl sang Zerbinetta for the Romanian National Opera at nineteen. I for one am impressed. And personally, if I could choose any dark-haired Romanian soprano to sing here, I'd still be more interested in this one, because I'm afraid I still don't get Angela. Graeme Broadbent and Richard Burkhard are both English; the latter has an offical website - with audio, though I haven't listened yet. Carla Parry and Phillip Rhodes are two more former Emerging Artists.
There are gaps then: Méphistophélès and Marthe, and about half the cast of Zauberflöte, including Tamino and Pamina. However are also a few singers mentioned as appearing, with no roles specified: Rodney Macann, Helen Medlyn, Jared Holt and Kate Spence. Jared Holt, according to his page at IMGArtists, is singing Valentin - James Harrison is only doing the Auckland run. Rodney Macann's bio at NZ Opera lists The Speaker in his repertoire. Helen Medlyn's rather extensive biography at her own website lists both the Third Lady and Marthe among her roles; as for the lovely Kate, well, I just don't know. Presumably which of those two roles Helen isn't doing.
There's something else, too: in addition to the three staged operas, there's also to be a concert performance of Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle with the Auckland Philharmonia. What a strange country this is. Almost no Handel anywhere for years - but this will be the second Bluebeard's Castle in as many years: Jamie Frater and Ellen Watts sang it at Massey University in July. It might be interesting to hear; but perhaps not possible - you see, I went to the Philharmonia's website to see if there were any details there. There weren't. But I did discover something else that they're doing in May:
Thu 11 May 2006 8:00pm - Town Hall, AucklandPatricia Wright SopranoKate Spence Mezzo-sopranoPaul McMahon TenorStephen Bennett BassChapman Tripp Opera ChorusAlexander Liebreich ConductorMozart Symphony No.35, HaffnerMaurerische TrauermusikDie Maurerfreude CantataAve Verum CorpusRequiem
More Mozart : excellent. Kate Spence: wunderschön. And Patricia Wright? I think I've made my feelings pretty clear on that subject. Give me Patricia Wright in the Mozart Requiem, then, and let's just say I'm a very happy devotee indeed. Bartok's all very well, but I'm not going to Auckland twice in one month, and there's just no way in the world I'd miss this. 202 days and counting.