New Zealand Opera to Present ‘The Unruly Tourists’ at the 2023 Auckland Arts Festival

By Chris Ruel

New Zealand Opera will premiere its original comic opera, “The Unruly Tourists,” at the 2023 Auckland Arts Festival. Performances will run from March 22-26, 2022.

The opera revisits a 2019 incident involving tourists from the UK who misbehave, leaving garbage and ill will. The episode sparked outrage and a national obsession with the tourists, keeping them on the front page for weeks.

New Zealand Opera sees potential for “The Unruly Tourists” to appeal to a broad-ranging audience with a contemporary storyline and challenge operatic tradition. The production, a fictionalized retelling of events, is a comedy dealing with issues of identity, groupthink, and the media.

New Zealand Opera’s General Director Thomas de Mallet Burgess said in a press statement, “It is an exciting time in the world of opera to be able to present a modern opera comedy that is broadly appealing, entertaining, and thought-provoking. Challenging some of the conventions and boundaries of the form and inviting in new audiences who perhaps thought opera wasn’t for them is thrilling.”

“The Unruly Tourists” is a New Zealand Opera-commissioned work composed by Luke Di Somma to a libretto written by the comedy duo Livi Reihana and Amanda Kennedy of The Fan Brigade. New Zealand Opera’s General Director Thomas de Mallet Burgess directs the show.