International news round-up: August 20
Hawaii Opera rides high
USA/HONOLULU The Hawaii Opera Theatre is bucking the US’s national trend of declining opera sales as it reports its most recent season’s box office figures. Hitting $1 million (£650,000) for the first time since 2010, HOT saw tickets sales for the 2014/15 season rise by 7% – building on 2013/14’s increase of 31% – while community contributions grew by 17% to $1.2 million (£770,000). Additionally, subscription sales saw a rise for the first time since 2000, with more than 1,725 season tickets sold.
Opera comes to Isaac
NEW ZEALAND/CHRISTCHURCH At least one major opera per year until 2020 is planned for Christchurch’s newly restored Isaac Theatre Royal. Auckland-based NZ Opera has launched the cycle with its premiere of Madama Butterfly at the theatre, making it the first opera to be performed there since Southern Opera’s 2009 production of The Magic Flute. The Isaac was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake and NZ Opera productions in the city were subsequently performed at the Horncastle Arena stadium.
Cast a spell on Spain
SPAIN/TORREMOLINOS A British magician has opened a new theatre in the Costa del Sol resort of Torremolinos. Since its opening in March, Matt Wright’s Chamber of Secrets has come to be the top-ranked tourist attraction in the region of Andalucia. The 40-seater magic theatre offers a nightly programme of magic, comedy, singing, illusion, mind reading and puppetry.
New Black Sea festival
GEORGIA/BATUMI Batumi, the main resort on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, has launched a new free outdoor street theatre festival. Running from August 11-16, Street Theatre Days featured Georgian and international acts as part of the city’s two-month summer campaign Heat Batumi 2015. The festival opened with a show by British LED drummer group Spark!
AUSTRALIA/PERTH Perth Theatre Company has cancelled the main show of its 2015 season because of a lack of funding. The company planned to produce John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in December but failed to meet its corporate sponsorship target of $250,000 (£117,500). With 10% ticket presales, the company still needed a total of $500,000 (£235,000) to mount the play, which posed a strong risk to the theatre’s viability. Cancelling Of Mice and Men along with a smaller play called Yourseven has meant that the company will be able to break even this year.
Yiddish tribute in NY
USA/NEW YORK Cabaret and restaurant 54 Below has staged a tribute concert for the 100th anniversary of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. Another Hundred Years, celebrating the influence of Yiddish and Jewish culture on Broadway theatre, featured a Broadway cast performing a multimedia spectacle of tunes from operettas and musical theatre. The event was produced by KulturfestNYC with direction by Megan Minutillo and musical direction by Ben Krauss.
Forty not out
AUSTRALIA/SYDNEY Sydney Festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary year by opening to audiences outside its January festival dates. In October this year it will stage Desdemona, based on Shakespeare’s Othello, reimagined by Toni Morrison with songs by Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traore, and directed by Peter Sellars. The centrepiece play for the festival itself will mark Thalia Theater Hamburg’s Australian debut Woyzeck, a stage adaptation of Georg Buchner’s play by US musicians Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, directed by Robert Wilson. The Sydney Festival runs January 7-26, 2016.
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