Benjamin Henson has brought together an impressive group of NZ’s freshest young opera talent alongside stage veterans to bring Handel’s rarely performed baroque Oreste opera to the stage, presenting a fiery tale of sacrifice, danger, and triumph. A semi-staged production, Oreste will combine the forces of Auckland Opera Studio and NZ Barok Orchestra at the historic Mercury Theatre just off K Rd, Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st August.

First performed in 1734 at the Covent Garden Theatre, Handel’s Oreste is a tightly woven exploration of love and lust; a desperate search for sanity in a world built on fear, and a bitter struggle between destiny and desire.

A combination of youth and experience make up the vocal cast who will perform recitatives in English and arias in Italian, starring Stephen Diaz (Oreste), Rebecca Ryan (Hermione), Madison Nonoa (Ifigenia), Filipe Manu (Pilade), James Ioelu (King Toante) and Kalauni Pouvalu (Filotete).

This group of singers will be directed with the distinctive eye of Benjamin Henson, one of two national candidates for the Engine Room initiative. Under the initiative, Henson has spent six months working with Auckland Theatre Company, Fortune Theatre Dunedin, and the New Zealand Opera. This will be his very first foray into opera as the Director.

Providing the musical score are the instrumentalists of NZ Barok Orchestra. They are the only group performing baroque music on historic instruments in New Zealand, providing audiences with the opportunity to experience sounds and songs as they were intended to be heard by the original composers. They take to the stage alongside the vocal soloists to bring Handel’s score to life.

This is a unique opportunity to see some of NZ’s best opera performers in a stunning venue – keep an eye out for our review next month.



What: Handel’s Oreste

When: Saturday 20 August 7:30pm & Sunday 21 August 5:30pm

Where: Mercury Theatre, 9 Mercury Lane, Auckland

Tickets: Adult $60, Student $20, Child $10 (service fees may apply)

Bookings: iticket, 0508 iTICKET (484-253) or

About The Author

Shawn Moodie
Managing Director & Entertainment Editor

Shawn has pretty diverse interests and enjoys writing on about whatever happens to take his fancy at the time. A seasoned entertainment reviewer and interviewer, Shawn has also seen every band on his 'Musicians to see before I die' list.

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