I’m off to the opera! I haven’t been to a live opera for a long time so it will be a special occasion. The bonus is that it is my favourite opera Don Giovanni.
Rather to my surprise my daughter expressed an interest in going. Somehow these days I think of opera as a grey hairs preserve. It is often expensive to go to and doesn’t get much exposure to younger people. This is a shame as the music is beautiful and the stagings are often spectacular. Also the days of “messy sopranos” of large size are well gone. Opera stars are pretty glamorous – think Teddy Tahu Rhodes (sigh). Kiri Te Kanawa was stunning in the Joseph Losey movie of Don Giovanni and continued to fly the flag for glamorous divas. Who can forget that outfit at the royal wedding as she warbled Let the bright seraphim. Now she is about to star as Dame Nellie Melba in Downton Abbey.
Kiwis have made a strong contribution to international opera over the years – we have many recordings. Here are just a few:
Don Giovanni is a fabulous opera. I was seduced by Joseph Losey’s film version. I’d recommend watching that if you can get it. Since then I have listened to the music many times and watched the film over as well. That is one of the joys of opera – there are many DVDs of different stage performances and we have a large selection at our libraries.
The venue this time is the CBS Canterbury Arena, not the most sympathetic perhaps but the time is not that far away when the Theatre Royal will again be available for performances.
Of all the beautiful operatic arias do you have a favourite? Is there one opera which stands out for you?
Listen to the Don, at home with Naxos Music Library.
Ernest Mark Sandstein:
This business was established in 1899, in well appointed apartments above the premises of the well-known jewellery business of the late Mr. M. Sandstein … Mr. Ernest Mark Sandstein, the founder and present proprietor of the business, is an optician and refractionist of the most modern experience, having just recently returned from England, where he spent six years in studying the most advanced and effective methods of remedying defective vision. He is a son of the late Mr. M. Sandstein, who established the jewellery business—now carried on by his son in Cashel Street—in 1862, and a brother of Dr. Alfred Charles Sandstein, M.D., of Edinburgh, who, as a medical student, has one of the most brilliant careers on record. Mr. E. M. Sandstein was born in Christchurch, in 1871, and educated at the Boys’ High School. At the age of twenty he proceeded to London, where he studied under some of the most brilliant opticians of England, and in 1897 gained his diploma as a D.B.O.A. In the following year he became a Fellow of the Spectacle Makers’ Company, and in 1899 returned to Christchurch, where he established his present business. In this enterprise he has met with considerable success, and has been patronised by some of the best known people of the colony. As a violinist Mr. Sandstein has taken a prominent part in public performances in Christchurch, and, when in London, he became a member of one of the principal orchestral societies—the Strolling Players’ Amateur Orchestral Society.
Ernest Mark Sandstein: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District] , 1903 (NZETC)
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We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury