Sex conquest tale updated to be set in strobe-lit nightclub.
School pupils are being sold cheap tickets to an opera featuring pole-dancing, simulated murder, drug-taking and rape.
Hundreds of $10 tickets have been snapped up by school groups to see our national opera company perform one of Mozart's most famous works, Don Giovanni, in Auckland next week.
The centuries-old opera has been re-adapted by its New Zealand director Sara Brodie to take place in a strobe-lit nightclub, complete with gyrating pole-dancers and simulated drug-taking.
An invitation to schools from New Zealand Opera education officer Joanne Cole mentions the opera's mature themes and sexual content. And it suggests the opera is best suited to those aged 15 year or older.
The Herald on Sunday is aware of at least one Auckland intermediate teacher who was considering taking her young class of pupils aged 12 and 13 to the production at the Aotea Centre.
Opera New Zealand spokesman Michael Hooper said scores of schools throughout the North Island from as far afield as Taupo and Napier had bought seats.
"It's edgy, violent and there's sexual content but it's no more than anything you'd see at 9pm on television," Hooper said.
"However, we'd prefer no surprises. It's better that parents understand it's a story with adult themes."
He said the production had been described as "very K Rd" but tame compared with other productions, including a Swedish version that featured naked shower scenes.
Brodie added the sexual content was intrinsic to the story and she was advising friends with children the production was no more shocking than shows aired on television.
"There's nothing worse than what you would see on Shortland Street," said Brodie.
"There's a bit of drug-taking, the sex is implied and there's pole-dancing but there's no nudity and we don't have people having sex in the corner."
She said there were more explicit images available to young audiences in popular music such as Nicky Minaj's Anaconda, which she labelled crass and filled with gratuitous sexual imagery.
But Family First National director Bob McCoskrie was concerned the opera company was presenting an adult-themed work to an audience of children.
"How much in the know are the parents? That's what really concerns me," he said.
The opera is based on a womanising nightclub owner intent on sexual conquests and ends in a fiery retribution after he murders the father of one of his conquests.
New Zealand Opera is jointly funded through Creative New Zealand and Auckland Council.