Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School to Present IL VIAGGIO A REIMS, 26-30 August

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Cape Town Opera's IL VIAGGIO A REIMS
Cape Town Opera's IL VIAGGIO A REIMS

Flirtation, obsession and panic makes waiting in transit not to be missed entertainment! Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School are proud to present the restaging of Rossini's critically acclaimed zany comic opera IL VIAGGIO A REIMS (The Journey to Reims) from 26 to 30 August for five performances only. This not-to-be-missed exuberant comedy with its glorious music returns to the Baxter Theatre where it played to full houses and received standing ovations in 2010.

Set in a chic airport hotel lobby, fourteen fashion-loving B-list celebrities each suffering from a different extreme obsession find themselves stranded en route to a coronation. While waiting in transit, this interesting motley of self-styled European celebrities including a fashion crazed Parisian, a German music lover, a Russian Count and a famous Italian singer turn boredom and frustration into a highly entertaining melee as their on-going obsessions and flirtations - some edged with a tipple of alcohol - unfolds into arguments and fights that lead to panic attacks and even the odd fainting spell! Never before has the boredom of waiting in transit been more nuanced and entertaining than in this not-to-be missed comic opera.

Members of the Cape Town Opera Studio and students from the UCT Opera School make an enthusiastic and multi-talented cast who are keenly working with the show's creative team, which is headed by by director, Matthew Wild (THE RAKE'S PROGRESS, TROUBLE IN TAHITI, THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW). Of his concept for this production, Wild says: "Every one of the characters suffers from an extreme obsession: Folleville is obsessed with fashion, Libenskof with Melibea, Profondo with antiquities (bizarre avant-garde art, in this production), Sidney with Corinna, and Belfiore with womanizing. They obsess, they flirt, they fight, they panic, they faint, they drink, they swap partners and they pose for the cameras. It's a small leap to connect Rossini's lovable but self-indulgent nobles with the film stars, hip hop artists, sports celebs, politicians and reality TV stars who fill the pages of Heat magazine with similar antics, and who may be glimpsed hovering around the press cameras of inaugurations, displaying political views as trendy as their Jimmy Choos."

Thw 2010 company of IL VIAGGIO A REIMS
The 2010 company of IL VIAGGIO A REIMS
Photo credit: Cape Town Opera

Award-winning choreographer, Sean Bovim (PORGY AND BESS, TANGO NIGHTS, QUEEN AT THE BALLET) has previously choreographed three productions for the UCT Opera School and he welcomes the opportunity to continue working with its students and Cape Town Opera in IL VIAGGIO A REIMS. Conductor, Kamal Khan; set and costume designer, Leopold Senekal; and lighting designer, Kobus Rossouw (MADAMA BUTTERFLY, LA TRAVIATA, DON GIOVANNI) round out the creative team. Wild is enthusiatic about collaborating with this dynamic team: "I am thrilled that Sean Bovim is doing the choreography - we both share a taste for things which are stylised into patterns. Our stage will an open, minimalist, all-purpose area in the airport in which we will be making a lot of use of signage rather than attempting to create a realistic airport."

For the past fifteen years, Cape Town Opera has and continues to play a major role in the upliftment, education, training and development of many young singers and students that has led to them performing on local and international stages. On many occasions, Cape Town Opera has collaborated with UCT Opera School in major productions such as IL VIAGGIO A REIMS to give students a platform to showcase and grow their talents. The company for this production will feature Raimondo Van Staaden as Antonio; Martin Mkhize as Prudenzio; Nomsa Mpofu and Noluvuyiso Mpofu as Cortese; Leah Gunter, Maudee Montierre and Lisa Thor as Folleville; Linda Nteleza and Janel Speelman as Corinna; Bongiwe Nakani and Lindsay Aldrich as Melibea; Vasti Knoesen and Abongile Fumba as Modestina; Amanda Meke and Zion Zuke as Delia; Levy Sekgapane and Esewu Silwane as Libenskof; Makudupanyane Senaoana and Khanyiso Gwenxane as Belfiore; Thobela Ntshanyana as Gelsomino and Zefirino; Bongani Kubheka and Johannes Slabbert as Sidney; Sandile Sikhosana as Alvaro; Siyabulela Ntlale as Trombonok; and Thato Machona as Profondo. A chorus of 28 singers will complement the featured roles. Wild says his approach to managing more than 40 people on stage will be "to keep it very stylised."

See IL VIAGGIO A REIMS on stage at the Baxter Theatre from Tuesday, 26 August to Friday, 29 August 2014 at 7:30 pm or at the final performance on Saturday, 30 August at 6pm. Tickets priced at R 140 and R190 are on sale at Computicket. For further information visit www.capetownopera.co.za.

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