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Carmen to be honoured in composer's opus

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 16th November 2012

The late Carmen Rupe
Auckland’s Town Hall is to be transformed into a “dahling tea room” for the world premiere of a work in memory of Carmen Rupe.

Songs and Dances of Desire: In Memoriam Carmen Rupe will be unleashed on 8 March, as part of Auckland Arts Festival 2013.

It’s the work of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) Composer-in-Residence Jack Body.

He says it’s not a story, but more a psychological exploration of gender identity and of the human capacity to transform one’s self.

“Two female singers, one Māori and one Spanish, sing powerful texts by women poets, while a countertenor sings four ‘recontextualised’ arias from Bizet’s Carmen,” he explains.

“The Māori transvestite dancer performs five character dances that Carmen Rupe danced (or wished she had danced!) during her days as a cabaret artist: Carmen, African Snake Dance, Salome, Hawaiian Hula and Mata Hari.

“Thus, the work alternates between the lightness of high camp and a darkness that expresses female desire and anguish.”

Part concert and part performance, and will brought to life musically by the APO; Guitarist Norio Sato; soloists Xiao Ma and Anna Pierard; and conducted by Ken Young.

An excerpt of the work, Carmen Dances, was performed in 2002.

“I am thrilled that the complete work, with singers, will at last be heard and seen as part of the 2013 Auckland Arts Festival,” Body says.

“With Carmen’s death in December 2011, the performance will have added poignancy.”

Auckland Arts Festival 2013 Artistic Director Carla van Zon says the team couldn’t be happier that at long last Body’s Carmen opus will be coming to life.

“The combination of the bold APO, with diverse and edgy performers in the glorious Town Hall, I’m sure would make Carmen proud.”

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