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Homegrown Mom Review – This Mom’s off to give an honest review of Under 18’s

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homegrown mom reviewHomegrown Mom Review

This Mom’s off to Jim Beam Homegrown to give an honest review of what it’s like for our Teenagers in the Under 18’s crowd (15-18 years)!

48 Bands & Artists, 6 stages, spread across 1.2 kms of Wellington’s Waterfront this Saturday.  New Zealand’s hottest, and best kept secrets of the NZ homegrown music industry.

I’m going to be rocking it with 17,000 people…1700 Under 18’s and my 15-year-old will be for the first time somewhere amongst it all.

The Jim Beam Homegrown event has been circled wildly on my Teens Calendar forever and she tells me “it will be the absolute highlight of her year”. She has a list as long as her arm of artists that she is “so excited about that she can hardly breathe” (her words).

Are you going?
Do you have young Teens going to Homegrown?

From everything I had read on the Homegrown website, the team has built over the years a truly epic Music Festival unlike any other. The lineup of artists they host is mammoth, the way they reportedly run the event seems well-respected, and the buzz they create is tangibly in the air in the lead up.

My 15-year-old teen was eagerly ‘hoping’ to watch as many of the artists in your line up as possible this year, as she is finally old enough to attend as an ‘under 18’.

BUT…

homegrown mom review

As a Mom, before I can say yes (or no) to an event or something of this mammoth dimension I need to really understand it myself and thoroughly do my research. I try really hard to keep an open mind and a balanced view, but do a tonne of research, ask other parents, check out the credentials, look at last year’s photos and reviews of the events etc… to try and make a fair decision of if I think it’s suitable for her to go (or not).

But as a parent, what I really-really want and am looking for is to hear another Mom’s opinion of ‘what the event is really like’ from their own experience and how their teen really found it, to read a Homegrown Mom Review. On talking with other parents they are also all looking for that real validation of “yeah the organisers say all the right things, but what’s it really like in the mosh-pit, and do they really truly follow through on their drugs and alcohol policies?’’.

The only way I felt comfortable this year with Miss15 attending, is if I attended Homegrown at the same time this year to really check it out myself and be able to visually and verbally check in with her frequently throughout the event. Yeah, I know, I’m ‘that’ Mom.

So this year, I have partnered with Jim Beam Homegrown 2016 to be their Mom Blogger and provide a “Mom’s review of what Homegrown is really like for your under-age teen”.

Are you a Mom or Dad going along too?
Are you taking younger kids or Teens with you?

My review will be more of the angle of ‘What Homegrown was really like from a Mom’s perspective for your under-age teen’ (& hopefully just how fun it was!). Also getting Miss15’s perspective after the event as to how she found it, safety, tone, appropriateness, tips she would give for other under 18’s etc…or honest information to give their parents.

I’m not there to embarrass my Teen, I hope she has the most amazing long anticipated time and Dances and Sings her little heart out.  She will need to check in and respond whenever I call or ask her to meet.  But other than that I plan to keep a pretty low profile, thoroughly enjoy my day, check out as many bands as possible and Dance and Sing my own little heart out while scoping out what it’s really like from a “Mom” view.

My reviews are always completely honest, un-biased and as I see it and experience it. But I’m leading with high-hopes that Homegrown is a really well run, well-rehearsed event, whom have covered many eventualities and follow through and do what they have said they will :-) … but we will see.

Homegrown have done a great job so far in provided lots of starter info on their Homegrown Under 18’s info page on their website.

…”All people under 18 who buy a ticket to Homegrown will need to pre-register on a special ‘Under 18 database’. If you don’t register and we don’t have your details you won’t be allowed into the festival. Read more here about Homegrown for Under 18’s here.”…

As it’s an event that serves alcohol, everyone who enters the gates will be checked for ID and given a wrist band of Over 18 or Under 18.  As above all Under 18’s are also entered on a Database.

I’m hopeful everything goes well, but I am also realistic as to what lengths Teens will go to gain Alcohol, Pre-Load beforehand, get access to Drugs and Stimulants.  There is the own choices your Teen makes, as well as those friends around them and the ones of those they ‘run into’ or didn’t plan to meet.  I remember my own Teen years well!

So yeah, um…it you are going to Homegrown…let me know you are coming or that you are there.  Connect with me via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

#HomegrownMomReview #hg16

I also think I’m going play around a bit and have my first foray into the world of !!! Snapchat !!!

…I don’t know what I’m doing…but we will see if I can make it go.

Who should I follow?

What shouldn’t I post?  I’ll avoid snapping my #MomShoes to help my feet last the day.

There is loads of great info by the minute info on their Homegrown Official Facebook page also that you can keep up to date with there.

Tickets are $119 (+$5.99 booking fee) through here at Homegrown Dash Tickets or through the link on their website Homegrown Tickets.

Here’s the lineup:

Who do you want to see?

DUB & ROOTS STAGE
* Shapeshifter  * Kora  * David Dallas  * The Black Seeds  * Katchafire  * Sons of Zion  * AHoriBuzz  * Sunshine Soundsystem  * DJ Sir-Vere

ROCK STAGE
* Devilskin  * Blacklistt  * I Am Giant  * Villainy  * The Feelers  * The Datsuns
* Beastwars  * City of Souls

URBAN STAGE
* Stan Walker  * Savage  * Avalanche City  * Ladi6  * Homebrew
* P Money  * Jamie McDell  * Maala  * Emergency DJ Clint  * Marek

THE LAB STAGE
* Jason Kerrison  * Anika Moa ft. Tiki  * Sola Rosa Sound System  * Beau Monga  * Team Dynamite  * Donell Lewis ft. Wrd Up  * Average Rap Band

ELECTRONIC STAGE
* State of Mind  * Trei ft. Tali, Tiki & Thomas Oliver  * The Peacekeepers vs K+Lab  * The Beat Mafia  * Dick Johnson  * Dan Aux  * Cymbol 303 & This Pale Fire

LOCALLY SOURCED STAGE
* BT & The Vibes  * Troy Kingi  * Lord Echo  * The Toblerone Sessions  * Dug Trio  * Tyson Smith  * Lady Fruit

 

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REVIEW: Big Boys Toys Central Districts

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1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Time MachineMost people have ‘heard’ of the Big Boys Toys show…but many don’t really know ‘what’ exactly it is.

This years event was perfect timed to take a mini-mid-exam-break-Roadtrip with my Teen up to Big Boys Toys Central Districts (Palmerston North) and check it out.

and to answer the questionIs Big Boys Toys just a hive of testosterone and full of 80 billionty Men?

I didn’t 100% know what to expect, except from what I had seen on the Big Boys Toys website and Facebook and clips of the larger Auckland show.

All I knew was I LOVE this sort of stuff, so I was in like Flynn.

It might surprise you that I, Wellington Chic, am a tom-boy from way back when.  Growing up with 3 older brothers and a Dad that could fix and build just about anything set me up as a chic who was into practical stuff.

It also means I appreciate loud noisy cars, flash slick expensive cars, Motorbikes that flip, Power Tools that whip things into shape, clever inventions, clever technology and the smell of old leaded Petrol and workshop grease…you know what I mean…the smell of a workshop…?  No?  Ok, maybe it’s just me, but hey it smells good!

What I was MOST looking forward to at BBT were these 3 things:

• The matt black Lamborghini Aventador
The FMX Extreme Sport show featuring Levi Sherwood
• An exact replica of the DeLorean from Back to the Future!

Yup, I’m also a bit of a geek like that and had a high School crush on Marty McFly.

Big Boys Toys Central Districts

So what did we find at Big Boys Toys?

Walking in it was teeming with people…

ahem…I mean teaming with MALES…

80 Billionty Males to be exact…ok, maybe not, but alot of males all in one place!

Yes!  It was of course to be expected, as the show is a Men’s Lifestyle show…aimed at Males.

But it really was raining Men, in a huge variety of ages from the young to the old.  I spotted a few women as we made our way around and they were just as excited about what they were seeing as I was.

Was it all just Bogans and Petol-heads?

No, quite the opposite.

Sure there were some Bogan’s and some Petrol-heads and even a few bikers…but it was mostly very average-joe-kiwi-blokes enjoying a fun day out with their mates or with their kids.

What was the highlight of the show?

For me, it was hands down getting to sit in a 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine.

An exact replica of the DeLorean from Back to the Future that Mat from Hero Car Hire has painstakingly built up over the years to the amazing movie replica it is now.

Mat was also the best host, he was talkative, put up with my obvious fan-girling and took me through the cars paces with all it’s lights and sounds.  He took me back-in-time to the date of my birth and being able to see the car speed up, the Flux Capacitor kick in and then see the Plutonium flash as being depleted was seriously-seriously cool.

Thanks Mat for being so passionate about what you have built and talking yet another enthusiastic fan through your car as if it was your first.  You can find out more about the DeLorean on their website and it is also available as a Hero Experience.

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Was the FMX & BMX as cool as it sounds?

Absolutely!  The main feature act of the BBT show was most definitely the FMX & BMX Extreme Sport Show!
With the insanely talented Levi Sherwood FMX freestyle rider along with fellow FMX riders Nick Franklin & Mitch Mchardy.

Levi is a local boy from Sanson, just outside of Palmerston North and is carving it up on the world Red Bull X-Fighters stage and winning title after title.  Just check out his video from his course he has made at his home.

What you guys pulled out of your trick bag was heart stoppingly awesome and you have fantastic talent.  Being able to judge your stunts so perfectly with the pitch of the Arena Manawatu roof and land them so smoothly just show’s how world-class you all are.

You had us all gasping and enthralled with the jumps you all pulled off and the shapes your bodies contorted into in mid-air!

Paul Langlands BMX Dirt Rider and his BMX freestyle friends were a great accompaniment to the FMX with their flips and tricks showing such skill and experience.  I know it’s probably not a word you want me to describe it as, but you make it all look so ‘graceful’ as you are leaping into the air.  The model car racers showing us their tricks before the show started were also a surprising highlight for us all, man those little things can get some air!

The show was epic, I just wish NZ crowds would whoop, clap and cheer louder!  I was clapping my little heart out while trying to capture the action on my iphone as they were all amazing.  Cheer louder NZ!

Levi Sherwood - bike in background

Did you find your High School Car Crush?

I sure did!

2014 Lamborghini Aventador, be still my beating heart.

This car is damn sexy and I could just picture myself taking this on the School run of a morning.

Granted, I wouldn’t be able to fit in any of the Teens friends on pick up…oh well, back to Public Transport for them all.  In matt black it just upped its cool factor 10 fold.

The Lamborghini was my High School Car Crush from the 90’s and still is today.

I have only ever seen one other in the flesh, back when I was 17, a bright yellow one was parked outside the Monte Carlo Casino where I was visiting with my parents, they indulged me with a pic!
Yup, my parents flouted Monaco’s age law and took me in for a glimpse of this crazy casino lifestyle!

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What about the Bond car?

The Bond edition Aston Martin DB9 GT was unveiled at BBT from the new Bond Movie Spectre.

Yes, it is flash and all and looks super nice…but if I’m honest a bit ‘meh’…

Now in saying that, I would have happily taken it for a spin and I know it would have been awesome…but I’m just not awed by Aston Martins like I am other cars.

Whereas the new 2015 458 Ferrari GT Speciali, the new Ford Mustang, The new Ranger NIGHTHAWK in matt black, the Polaris Slingshot SL LE they are all right up my alley :-)

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What else can I see at BBT?

So so much!  Classic Cars, souped up boy racer Cars, Muscle Cars, electronic bikes, Harley Davidson’s, Super bikes, off roaders…quite literally a vehicle to suit everyone’s fantasies.

Thanks James from Harvey Norman for humoring us and very patiently showed us how the Glideboard worked, I was kinda stoked to learn you could clock up 20km on it in one go!
Would be a super fun thing to Ride to School?  Honestly would have loved to have a blat on one of these myself…but maybe another day.

The Hyper Stimulator’s where you can simulate you are driving a v8 super car around Bathhurst or other famous tracks around the world. They had queues a line a mile long to have a turn, OK, not a mile, but long.

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Was there some exciting new technology?

We were given a glimpse into the newest prototype of the Hendo Hoverboard the Hendo 2.0 (Beta 4 Engine Prototype).

An exciting development and I look forward to seeing where this is in a year or two’s time.  We got to see it hover back in forth between the two hosts as they tossed it around the platform.

Very cool to think that this technology is not that far from being accessible.  You can check out Tony Hawk riding a couple of Hendo Hoverboard’s here.

Hendo Hoverboard

Did they have other things there apart from Cars?

I’m also a sucker for cool things, techie things and things that would make my life easier, quicker..

So I spend ages at the Breo All Back and Breo iFoot Foot Massager stand getting to try out their super unique Foot Massager.
Oh my gosh, it was amazing, it actually did feel like someone was massaging my feet with hands…so a little bit creepy…but worth the creep, because it was awesome.  A hefty price tag, but worth it if you have spare dollars to spend.

Glam Screens Selfie Ring & Phone Stand impressed me with their super simple invention that was actually really-really clever.  I’m not a selfie taker (unless goofing with my friends or teen), but I see benefits of this little device that attaches to the back of your phone…even if just for not having this happen when you are reading stuff upside down!

There were many other stalls dotted around the show featuring everything from golfcart Segways, Power Fits, X Hoses, Model Cars, an open stage to let your inner Drummer have a blat on the drum kit, even electronic Hookah!

The Beef Jerky stand was amazing and I meant to go back and buy some, but my Teen distracted me on my way out.  Going to hunt you out in my supermarket!

Milwaukee Power Tools…oh my gosh, I could have spent hours in their stand just playing with all of the power tools, as that was exactly how this stand was set up.

All of their power tools were laid out with walls prepared ready for you to hammer, screw, cut, sand, blast, destroy and just simply ‘play’.  I tried this one M12 Cordless Multi-Tool.

Did BTT’s meet my expectations?

It totally exceeded my expectations.

I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.  Now I want to also see the Auckland show next year.

Was it value for money/entertainment?

Absolutely, with tickets priced at under $30 and good discounts for early birds, it was excellent value for money and you could make a whole day of it.
Note:  I was hosted by Blomfield PR.

1982 DeLorean DMC-12 Time Machine

Is it too showy, snoby or seems like everyone is up themselves?

kinda is, but kinda not…if that makes sense.

It’s very laid back, but professional.  You could come to this show from any income level of society and still just enjoy seeing the toys and the show.

All of the stand hosts talk with you freely and everyone is encouraged to try things out.

Is there food?

Yes, most important question when heading out on an adventure!

If I’m not into Cars and this sort of stuff, will I enjoy it?

In all honestly, you probably won’t.

What was the atmosphere like?

The atmosphere was chilled and relaxed, but positive as everyone was buzzing with what they saw.

I wondered before I arrived if you would be able to literally smell the testosterone in the air, but no, you saw alot of fan-boying, but not too much grunting.

Is it suitable for all ages?

Kind of…if there is an interest, take them no matter what age they are.  But probably best suited from 7 years old to Teenagers to Adults to Grand Parents.

So overall was it lame or cool (as my teen questioned before going along)?

Seriously cool, it had a chance of being lame…but it soooo wasn’t.

My Teen also gave it a big tick of approval and she added that that wasn’t just because it was teaming with teenage boys!

What surprised me the most?

To find a 1962 MK1 Hamilton Jet 30 Boat that had been rebuild and relaunched in 2012 with a MK2 Zephyr 6 Motor.  Only 174 of them were ever built!  Way cool.

1962 MK1 Hamilton Jet 30 Boat

 


I want to thank Paul & Robecca from Blomfield PR for hosting me at the Big Boys Toys event and for the ticket Giveaway for my readers.

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Tip’s for your first Opera (from a ‘non-opera go-er’)

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Wellington Chic’s – Tip’s for your first Opera (from a ‘non-opera go-er’)

You may have read yesterdays blog review about the ‘out of the ordinary’ event I went to on Saturday that was the NZ Opera’s La cenerentola (Cinderella).

 

NZ Opera La cenerentola Cinderella Amelia Berry Rachelle Pike Sarah Castle image credit Neil Mackenzieimage supplied – credit Neil Mackenzie

You can read all about my interesting experience here, but I wanted to also share my Top Tips for heading to your first Opera when it’s not normally ‘your thing’

 

•  Pick an Opera you actually like the sound of…read up the storyline and see if it sounds interesting to you.  If the write up doesn’t capture you, it might not be ‘the one’.

•  Don’t be worried if your budget wont stretch to the expensive  seats.
Take what you can get if it means you can get there…
Yes splash out if you can, but in the likes of the St James Theatre, there are almost ‘NO bad seats’ you get an amazing and different view from each and every seat I have ever sat in there.

•  Check out if it’s likely going to be all out Tux’s and Evening gowns or if it’s just ‘going out wear’…
If it’s formal wear, go for it, it’s fun to dress up.
If your unsure you could call the Box Office at the Theatre to enquire what is the usual standard of dress for the night you are attending.

•  St James Theatre, I love you and love going there, but goodness me I freeze my ass off every time I do.
I have learnt now to plan my outfit around the temperature.
I never check my coat and take it into the Theatre with me.  Last time I took a Pashmina with me too so I could layer up.

•  Does the Opera have a web presence?
Check to see if there are You Tube video’s, check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and see if there is a #hashtag in advance of going.
Here you can see read up about the opera and often their Facebook pages have lots of interesting notes, interviews and tidbits to check out beforehand (and some great photo’s after).

•  Get the Opera program when you arrive.
Read the Directors notes in the program and everything else in it especially relating to the show…and it’s fun to check out the cast, out of costume 😉

NZ Opera La cenerentola

•  Don’t be afraid to go by yourself.
Pump up the music beforehand while you’re getting ready, boost your confidence and rock it out.
Don’t miss out on the experience, just because you’re on your own.

•  Make a night of it (I didn’t as I had a house full of Teenager’s before and after)…but next time it would be an early Dinner somewhere fab beforehand close by and Cocktails afterwards.

•  If you don’t go out for dinner before hand, have dinner before you leave home.
The Opera is usually quite long and it kinda sucks to be completely fa-moused half way through the performance that will also see you scoffing large quantities of potato chips at Intermission ‘cough-cough looking at myself’.

•  The St James has a no glass policy in the Theatre, so you may think you need to drink up before heading in…instead you can get your drink in a plastic glass to take in with you.  So it may well be the same at many Theatre’s around New Zealand.

•  Soak it up, indulge in it, step into the life of the characters on stage and you will enjoy it even more.

•  GO – It’s a great experience and we have some huge NZ Opera talent here in New Zealand to hear and often have visiting star’s from other countries performing also.

Have you been to the Opera / Want to go?

What did you think?

What surprised you the most about it?

NZ Opera La cenerentola Cinderella St James Theatre Wellington

 

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REVIEW: NZ Opera La cenerentola (Cinderella) – by a ‘non-opera go-er’!

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REVIEW: NZ Opera La cenerentola (Cinderella) – by a ‘non-opera go-er’!

On Saturday afternoon you would have found this ‘Mom’ out in the sticks wrangling a gaggle of teenagers at their outdoor Paintball extravaganza!

Saturday night you would have then found this same ‘Mom’ making a quick transformation, glam-ming herself up and heading out to the NZ Opera La cenerentola.

NZ Opera La cenerentola

Glam-med up yes!

But honestly…I left the house in bare feet carrying my heels… 😉

Why?  Because I had 9 teenagers in tow, to deposit at dinner and Reading Cinema first, before I even got to the St James Theatre.  So we had a short trek first to get down to Courtney Place.  Loosing my perfect hot roller-ed curls to the Wellington wind on our way.

I didn’t know anyone else going to the Opera and as a Single Parent I was flying solo and totally attempting to rock it by myself (yes girls you can totally do this in Wellington).

The St James Theatre was packed and brimming with excitement for the opening night of Rossini’s vivacious La cenerentola (Cinderella).

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Marcin Bronikowski Amelia Berry Rachelle Pike image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

I was warmly welcomed at the top of the stairs and treated to drinks and nibbles as I was being *hosted at the Opera by Spotlight Creative Media. I ended up chatting with the host and some fab ladies from The Wellingtonista before heading in at the sound of the bell.

As the lights lowered for the opening scene of La cenerentola…I chuckled to myself, as to where life takes me sometimes and the extremes of it.

This time last week (7.30pm) we were sitting on the try line at Westpac Stadium Mexican waving and cheering our lungs out watching the Hurricane’s battle it out with the Crusader’s (Wellington Chic – yes I am, but I am still a Crusader’s fan!).

Last week I was wrapped up in my winter woollies, rocking a beanie and eating Hot Chips out of a punnet where the tomato sauce gets on your fingers!

Tonight I was surrounded by Glitz, Glamour, Tuxedo’s, sparkly Evening Dresses, Champagne, Top shelf liquor and OPERA!

I worked out it had been 14 years and then 19 years since I had last been to the Opera

A friend and I had gone to the Opera in Auckland 14 years ago (which I ‘cough-cough’ can’t now remember the name of it) and my parent’s took my to my 1st Opera back in the 90’s to Phantom.

So I’m a total newbie, a novice, I don’t know ‘anything’…all I know is what I like and what I appreciate.

I’m not a traditional Opera reviewer…as you can see.

There are many fabulous reviewers out there and many technical and in-depth reviews listed on NZ Opera’s Facebook page…

So this blog review is just me sharing my experience of going to the opera as a normal ‘non Opera go-er’.

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Rachelle Pike Sarah Castle Amelia Berry image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

La cenerentola is sung in Italian, it follows along the story of Cinderella (kind-of), but with some unique twists along the way…

We see a glimpse of the life of Cinderella/Angelina, her two naughty Step Sisters Tisbe and Clorinda, and her nasty Stepfather the Baron Don Magnifico as their lives intertwine with the Prince Don, his sidekick Dandini and Angelina’s ticket out of the life she leads Alidoro.

I much appreciated that it was a story that I was familiar with (albeit different) as I had some anticipation of what was going on or maybe coming up, even if I wasn’t reading the Sub titles.

Is that what you call those things…sub titles…?

They very ‘helpfully’ have a long screen right up the top above the stage and one, off to the left and one, off to right that when read, give you roughly what they are singing about. .

What was amazing was you often didn’t need to read the subtitles.

The emotion, expressions, body language, themes, tone, set and how the scene played out visually almost told the story completely on it’s own.

But they were so helpful to have there when I had no idea what was happening and for picking up the funny lines and quirks.

What captured me instantly was the colours and the luxurious quality of the costumes, set and whole visual affair playing out in front of me.

Now I don’t mean luxurious in terms of expensive, I means in terms of ‘a luxurious lush depth‘ even when the fabric’s were ratty and old (Angelina) they still had a luxurious lush depth and texture to them.

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Sarah Castle John Tessier image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

The set’s that came out were truly amazing, Don Manifico’s shop where the Step Sisters and Angelina worked was epic!

It set such the tone for the scenes and there was so much going on in there, but I never felt it extracted from the actual Opera.

I love that they used the height of the stage for the set.  Above the shop was the families house with stairs running up the back and many scenes were directed from the large open house windows, which was just overall visually stunning and just looked seriously cool.

 

So…the Opera singing…was it good…did it give me goose-bumps:?

I know it’s what the cast train for years and years of their lives to do…and NZ Opera’s are regarded as a world-class productions…so I shouldn’t be too surprised…

But I was blown away by nearly each and every one of the cast individually.

I was already in awe of the voices, the notes, the clarity and the power behind the voices…annnnnnnd that it’s ALL sung in Italian!  Just imagine how hard that is to learn!

But then…goodness gracious me what a talent it is when there are 4 or 6 cast on stage singing their own huge song (fast and in Italian) on their own, not getting distracted from the others, but singing it perfectly in sync – but not in sync because their songs are different – if that makes sense.  And pulling it off perfectly.

That was my favourite part and total goose-bump coverage!

So, did I like it?

As I don’t know what is good Opera and what isn’t good Opera, all I can go on is how it makes me feel.

So, do I like it?

Oh my golly-gosh YES!

I didn’t realise that I had been missing out on this for the last 14 years.

The voices that made the hairs on my arms raise and catch my breath!

The notes that made me sit forward in my seat.

I was ENTHRALLED and absolutely captured by the characters and the story line.


What surprised me the most?

I had said to my daughter before I went, that I just hope ‘I don’t get bored’

There was NO trouble with that as I was sucked in hook line and sinker to the story.

Also pleasantly surprised by just how much of it was funny and how they slotted the humour in at intervals perfectly.

There was a well placed very clever line referencing ‘Cloudy Bay’ (wine)…that was by far a huge ‘lol’ moment for the audience!  😉

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Andrew Collis image credit Stephanie Do Rozarioimages provided – credit Stephanie Do Rozario


Who were my favourite Characters?

I didn’t quite realise it was possible to like ALL of the characters on stage.

I even really-really liked the Baron Don Manifico…yes he was a drunk, yes he treated Angelina appallingly…but he was still incredibly likable and a little mischievous.

I liked his bobbly, wobbly nature, his stick on comb-over that was hardly ever combed over and the fact he never had his pants done up!

The Step Sisters Tisbe and Clorinda were A-MAZING and pulled off their Characters to perfection.  Visually their Styling was equally perfection.

 

What caught me off guard?

The tension was building as we are leading to a peak scene before intermission.

Tears sprung from my eyes and rolled down my face.

I am trying to control what my body is doing and stifle the noise only letting it out when I can disguise it between the loud high notes

Trying hard to mask it ever so subtlety so those around me don’t hear.

The crowd erupts into applause and I let it out as much as I can.

As we walked out at intermission I was wiping tears from my eyes I was having trouble capturing a full breath at every intake…I’m sure everyone thought I was very-very moved by the performance

I would have been, as until that point as I was totally loving it…

BUT instead I was suffering the wrath of a poorly crunched Eclipse mint I had popped in 5 mins before, where a shard had caught in the very back of my throat causing me all this anguish!!!!

I had been stifling coughs and gags and was trying to choke away quietly and not disturb those around me!

I was then the one chic at the bar at intermission stuffing my face with potato chips and sculling my L&P trying to dislodge my mint shard.

Oh dear – classy aye!

At least my breath was minty 😉

 

What stood out in La cenerentola than the previous Opera’s I had been to?

What I don’t remember from past Opera’s was just how much is going on, on stage-at once.  That the whole entire scene is fabricated / styled / tweaked to perfection.

That the singing is oh so very important…but so is the costumes…the sets…the lighting and the tone…

In La cenerentola it was an entire package.

I loved the shop set, but the set in the Palace Gardens was my favourite overall, it was incredibly simple but was visually stunning.  It offset the costumes so beautifully.

The acting and expression of the cast are so very important and this portrays more than I ever realised.

The cast did an amazing job with this from the over the top accentuated expressions of the Step Sisters that were close on perfection to the subtle underlying expressions of the Chamber maids (gosh you were so funny ‘curly dark haired maid/dude’!).

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Sarah Castle image credit Neil Mackenzieimages provided – credit Neil Mackenzie

 

Did I cry?

Yup…and not just during the Eclipse Mint incident above.

When the singing was so perfectly synced/but not synced, (that I talked about further above) when there are 4 or 6 cast on stage singing their own song, but with others, but different.  Just stunning!

And a few other times.

 

Did I feel out of place?

I rocked up with faux confidence…and flying solo…and it was quite possibly my age group was in a minority than many other Opera go-er’s.

So it ‘would’ have been very easy to feel ‘out of place’.

Tux’s and evening gowns and very elegantly dressed peeps are the norm (is that just an opening night thing…or every night?).

But it also didn’t seem to matter if you weren’t in formal attire as there were still plenty of people in ‘going out’ clothes and also people of all ages.  Both ends of the scale and everything in between.  Octogenarians and also quite a few Kids :-)

It did encourage me thought to go all out next time and glam it up even more.

As the Opera is maybe not my normal thing…I only slightly felt out of place, but less than I actually thought I would.

I did get some looks up and down (you know the ones), but they kinda didn’t bother me, figured they were either:

  • …looking at me as I was a ‘newbie’ and they hadn’t seen me there before…
    or
  • …the were looking at my totally rocking outfit that I felt amazing in…
    or
  • …maybe I had toilet paper hanging out the back of my skirt, who knows 😉

 

What blew me away?

What was most-most surprising, was just how well received it was.

Yes, I LOVED it, but the appreciation and applause the show and cast received from the audience at the end was truly-truly amazing.

I have been to some great shows in my life, with massive crowds and standing ovations…but this topped all of them.

People were literally on the edge of their seats almost ready to burst with how delighted they were and they were all around me and across the entire crowd.

The very-very well deserved clapping was intense when the cast’s were taking their bow’s and accepting the applause.

I was teared up already through performance, but cried the most actually at this point.

I was awe at the delighted crowd, how appreciative they were for the cast and what they had just seen, it totally got me.

Yup, I’m a weirdo – who cries from seeing people ‘clap’ – yeah that would be me.

NZ Opera's La cenerentola Cinderella

 

Following my glamorous night at the opera, did I head off to an equally glamorous after party or cocktails with the cast…?

I walked out onto Courtenay place amongst excited chatter from those around me and rave reviews of how awesome La cenerentola was.

Then I head straight across the road to Starbucks to a tall Chai Latte and to await the arrival of my 9 energetic Teenagers from their movie (Pitch Perfect 2) to then get them all back to our place.

The week before, I was initially a little disappointed not to be heading to Pitch Perfect 2 with the girls, but La cenerentola was so-so-so much better…and I can movie any old day.

I’m writing this now to the sound of giggling, dancing, Hip Hop and Pop songs floating up the stairs of our Apartment and set myself in for a fun night of hosting this great bunch of girls.

I was an Opera go-er earlier that night…but after all of that when the glam goes back in the wardrobe, you wipe your makeup off and tie your hair up in a ponytail…I will always be a Mom

Digging snack food our of the cupboard for them, laughing at their funny stories and gathering up enough blankets to turn our house into a giant sleepover for the night.

 

Check back tomorrow where I will post my “Top Tips for heading to the Opera as a non-Opera go-er”!

 

The NZ Opera have a stunning 2015 season on, starting with La cenerentola and followed with Madama Butterfly and then Tosca.

La cenerentola is directed by Lindy Hume and was co-produced with Opera Queensland and features Opera stars from New Zealand, Australia and around the world.

Check out their website nzopera.com even if it’s just for the amazing graphics alone that have been created for each opera, the images are stunning!

The NZ Opera also has a great active Facebook page with lots of behind the scenes info and fab interviews and video’s, which is well worth a look to find out stuff you wouldn’t have otherwise known.

You can still catch La cenerentola in Wellington until the final night Saturday 16th May.

It then heads up to Auckland (the same day that Prince Harry leaves New Zealand…Prince Don heads to Auckland and Prince Harry heads home) and runs 30 May til 7 June, Tickets are available through the NZ Opera website.

 

* I was very-very kindly hosted by Spotlight Creative Media to the NZ Opera without obligation…but man…my experience going to La cenerentola was so awesome I just HAD to talk about it and share it with you on my blog.
What I wrote is just what I think!
Thanks for reading :-)

 

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REVIEW: Singin in the Rain

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If I’m honest I didn’t quite know what to expect with the ‘Singin in the Rain’ stage show.

…yeah…yeah…yeah I know…

There would probably be singing…in the rain… and stuff, but what else?

Miss 14 & I, love us a great stage show, so I was super excited when I was gifted* tickets the opening night of ‘Singin in the Rain’ in Wellington last Friday night.

singin in the rain wellington

Heading to the St James Theatre you always know you are going to be in for a great night!  Such a beautiful old restored theatre, such an air of excitement of what’s to come, such great shows that have been before you.

I had Miss 14 with me who loves watching Dance shows on stage, but we were contending with her just getting back from being away for 17 days on an action packed adventure with very little sleep, so I honestly hoped she wouldn’t fall asleep in the middle of it!  But she was adamant that she wanted to go and not miss out.

We head straight into the theatre once the doors opened as we love being in early while everyone else arrives.

THEN, honestly we played the fun game of “Spot the Tweeter” seeing who else was tweeting and facebooking about also being at #SinginNZ!

Then we would look at their profile pic and try and spot them in the crowd…naughty I know (and ever so slightly stalker-ish), but kinda fun when you did spot them in the crowd.

We found a few cast and crew tweeting, but we assumed they were behind the scenes and couldn’t yet pick them out.

We then spotted the lovely Sarah from @BritMumInNZ (Hi Sarah I was still to shy to come and say Hi).

Also Heather from @foodiegemsofwel tweeted and we spotted her too based on the angle of her pic 😉

I know you were there somewhere @BelindaNash as we saw many of your tweets, but could not pick you anywhere!

Anyway after we quietly giggled away about our “Spot the tweeter” game (yep shows how mature we are), we then ohhhhh and arrhed over the Theatre, the set and the anticipation of what was to come and chatting to a lovely couple beside us.

The set looked A-Mazing before anything had even started.

As someone who is used to seeing primary school and high school dance shows with paper mache sets and old supermarket boxs painted together this set looked amazing under just the main theater lights with nothing even happening yet.

Spotting the front couple of rows below us putting on their plastic ponchos as they were in the splash zone looked like a fun place to be if you were feeling a little hot :-).

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Then the show started….oh my gosh Lunchbox Theatrical Productions…my expectations were exceeded within the first 5 mins – Thank you!

I was totally transported and in love with everything I saw come across the stage. The singing was stunning…

The 1920’s costumes were absolutely stunning and got better and better throughout…

The stage settings were ever changing and stunningly constructed to transform into any setting to suit the part of the show…

The characters were really likeable and you jumped straight into them, even the grating Lina with ‘that voice’ I ended up having a soft spot for…

I wanted to own just about every dress that came out on that stage and twirl around in each of them and wear every version of those skillfully constructed hairstyle on their heads…

The dancing, theatrics, jumping, leaping and timing the tipping and flipping perfectly…

Gosh I’m a sucker for that kinda stuff.

I was already super impressed by the show, but then it was topped by them all being doused in 12000 litres of Rain pouring down from the night sky. Kickin and tapping the rain off the stage to the shreeking crowd in the first few rows.  The rest of us were loving it watching this, so I’m sure they were loving being IN it. The show continued to be awesome and finished on a huge high.   It kept this 30 something Mamma highly entertained throughout as well as a 14 year old, which isn’t always an easy feet (especially after 17 days of adventure and barely no sleep). Honestly, I thought it would be a ‘nice’ show and all, but I didn’t expect it to be as awesome as it was.   We had a fabulous night out with Singin in the Rain and if you are looking for a fun entertaining night out, you can still get Tickets here.

NB: Intermission: Miss 14 and I are big believers that Intermissions should be part of EVERY great night out!
Who doesn’t need a short break for wee’s and Icecreams!  😉

* Disclosure: I was gifted tickets in exchange for conversing about the show in which ever way I pleased over social media etc… it was easy, as I loved it so even though they were gifted, this show rocked!  #OfficialBlogger #SinginNZ
Lunchbox Theatrical Productions & ACMN

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