The Magnificent Seven
In the female mafia that is opera singers, acclaimed soprano Tarita Botsman is the boss. Founder and creative director of the 7 Sopranos, after making her operatic debut at 22, Tarita spent her 20s and 30s as a jobbing singer, so she knows just how tough the profession can be. “It’s very very hard,” she says on the phone from the Gold Coast, getting ready to pack her bags for sunny Dunedin. Often asked to act as an agent, happy to be a mentor, would she put her daughter on the stage? “I have two sons, actually, but I was thinking of that just the other day when one of them asked if he could have singing lessons and I discovered he had 3 octaves. I said, ‘only if you’re a tenor!’”
It takes 15 years to train an opera singer. “You have to sacrifice a lot, sign your life away to being on the road” the reason why it has always been a single woman’s domain. The gender pay gap is terrible, there being so many more women than men, however (upside time), like fine wines, the female voice gets better with age, an opera singer at her peak in her 40s. I hadn’t realised they don’t use microphones. “If you can sing over a 100-piece orchestra, you can certainly fill the Regent Theatre.” Opera as an art form has been reliant on acoustics and architecture since the 17th and 18th century; it’s all down to vocal projection and being in complete control all the time.
Dunedin audiences can expect quite the line-up: seven powerhouse voices, three sopranos (one of whom is very high) and 4 mezzo sopranos – together capable of everything from soft sounds to plastering the audience to their seats. And just like wine, combining sparkling champagne with cabinet sauvignons, the warm rich blend of beautiful voices will leave you tiddly; the second half of the show features musical theatre hits, so there’s something for everyone. “We want you to go away thinking, “OMG those tenors are soooo overrated” jokes Tarita.
Just like the samurai of the same number but with less bloodshed and more bling, the 7 Sopranos are assembling from all over: UK, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to perform what critics have called a ‘ridiculous’ and ‘astonishing’ show on the 22nd of September, tipped to be a sensory experience and a fabulous introduction to opera for newbies. First time in the South Island for some, “They are so excited. ‘it’s like being in a movie,’ said one, ‘you go around a corner and see something else beautiful.’” Divas just want to have fun – and visit Cadbury World.
The pin-up models of opera, the 7 Sopranos have it all: looks, glamour, and plenty of stalkers, having to rebuff marriage proposals in Dubai, (for the whole seven as a job lot) and daily stagedoor offers: “1 million for the blonde.” You’ll be pleased to hear it won’t cost you anywhere near as much for a ticket.
The 7 Sopranos – Brava Tour
Fri, 22 Sep 2017 , 7.30pm The Regent Theatre Dunedin
More info and tickets sales: http://dunedinnz.com/events/the-7-sopranos-the-brava-tour
Insiders post by Lisa Scott