Benjamin Henson : : In Conversation

Benjamin Henson is not your average opera director. The charming Brit is tackling opera for the first time in the form of Handel’s Oreste, opening this weekend at Auckland’s Mercury Theatre.


Presented by Auckland Opera Studio and NZ Barok Orchestra, Oreste is a fiery tale of sacrifice, danger and triumph. An Ancient Greek extravaganza, Saturday’s opening marks the product of a series of challenges for the director.


“I’ve had to find my own way through of how you direct an opera. It’s pretty crazy,” says Henson.


“I couldn’t read music until I started this project... [it’s] been quite a learning process.”


Director of Fractious Tash, Henson has driven multiple applauded plays, such as Q Theatre’s Earnest and Not Psycho, as well as The Pop-up Globe’s Titus. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Henson made his way to New Zealand six years ago with multiple years of youth theatre work and direction under his unconventional belt. For the last six months he has been involved in an internship called The Engine Room, involving Auckland Theatre Company, Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre and New Zealand Opera.


Oreste is a production that has led on this project, and is his first real “taste of opera”.


The show is a semi-stage, meaning it will feature a limited number of props and costumes for the cast of six combined fresh-faced and veteran lead singers.


“I’m really glad it’s semi-stage for my first one so I can cut my teeth on it. I think out of limitations comes exciting choices.”


Some of these choices include a cardboard set, as well as a split catwalk stage and mirroring screens. These aesthetic elements are Henson’s impact on Oreste – selections that will ideally leave an impression without “meddling with the music”.


“All the choices that we’ve made still honour that beautiful music and those singers.”





While no one can deny the beauty and tradition of opera, the director recognises it’s not the most accessible form of theatre. In fact, before this project, Henson says he thought of opera as almost “utterly inaccessible”.


Consequently, his bold leap into opera is what will hopefully make Oreste such an exciting show.


“I think [it’s going to be a success] because I’m going to make a show I want to see.”


Oreste plans to offer all the “value for money” of a traditional opera – live music and a grand story – alongside unique staging decisions and fresh approaches.


Oreste shows this weekend only and with tickets starting from $20 for students, is a perfect opportunity for a fancy night out for long-term opera goers and newbies alike.


More details are available here.


  1. gamefly free trial 4 May, 2019 at 22:24 Reply

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog
    and was wondering what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a
    pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% sure.
    Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers

  2. gamefly 6 May, 2019 at 14:26 Reply

    Magnificent site. A lot of helpful info here. I’m sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thanks in your effort!

  3. g 12 May, 2019 at 19:11 Reply

    Hi there, I check your new stuff like every week. Your writing
    style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

  4. minecraft download free pc 13 May, 2019 at 15:38 Reply

    An intriguing discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you need to write more about
    this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not discuss such
    issues. To the next! Many thanks!!

  5. g 14 May, 2019 at 09:58 Reply

    First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a
    quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and
    clear your thoughts before writing. I have had trouble clearing
    my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing but
    it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally
    lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?


  6. minecraft download free pc 16 May, 2019 at 04:38 Reply

    Hello There. I discovered your weblog the use of msn. That
    is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark
    it and return to read extra of your useful information. Thanks
    for the post. I will definitely return.

Leave a reply