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Circus spices up the opera

Tuesday 18 Sep 2012 11:54 p.m.

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By Ali Ikram

All high art and high notes, New Zealand Opera's production of Smetana's "The Bartered Bride" gets going on Saturday night in Auckland.

But the company will be going to new heights in different ways.

Geoff Gilson is Auckland's all round man of the arts.

So far he has smeared paint all over a scantily clad woman, writhed on a bed with a scantily clad woman and pretended to be a pole dancing squid.

“I didn't pretend that was real,” Gilson says.

Now no less than the New Zealand Opera has called on the services of Gilson and his circus friends to spice up its latest offering "The Bartered Bride".

It's not just the opera trying something new. Aerialist Eve Gordon had to learn a dangerous stunt called chair staking for the occasion.

She hopes the stunt doesn’t go wrong.

“You don't want to know, no one wants to know what it looks like when it goes wrong.”

After running off to join the opera, the circus folk are winning fans amongst their new high brow colleagues including New Zealand Opera’s Aidan Lang.

“They're amazing people, they work non-stop. They're an object lesson for singers during rehearsal. They're quite extra ordinary people.”

But you get the feeling this is all a walk in the park for the likes of Skye Broberg who holds five world records in contortionism.

Broberg can go through a tennis racket three times in 10.8 seconds.

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