Trading Name: Wellington G&S Light Opera (WGSLO)
Legal Name: The Wellington Gilbert and Sullivan Society Incorporated
Legal Entity Incorporated Society
Postal Address: PO Box 3638, Wellington
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: (04) 970 9271
GST registration: 10-668-743
Tax Status Registered Charitable Organisation CC38117, IRD Donee status
Financial year: January to December
Membership categories: Ordinary, and Life.
AGM held: March, in Wellington
Management: Elected executive.
Patron: the Right Honourable Hon. Sir Anand Satyanand,
GNZM, QSO, Former Governor-General of New Zealand
President Chris Whelan tel (04)479 3137
Vice-President: Stuart Gordon tel (04)389 9271, 021 636 926
Secretary: Ellen Spear tel (04)479 1685, 027 515 5716
Treasurer: David Skinner tel (04)569 5434
Executive Committee: Gillian Gordon, Donna Philpott QSM, David Owen, Fiona Thomson
Anne Keen, Al Gustafson, Ian Graham, Alastair Gilchrist
WGSLO, founded in 1957, is committed to the promotion of light opera including the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, through regular productions and recitals/concerts of a high standard. The productions are to involve a range of performers from amateur to professional, providing a training ground for advancing talent, and to be attractive to a wide audience.
WGSLO aims to uphold certain key values:
- Faithful interpretation of the work - so that the composer, not the producer, is chiefly on show.
- Fully staged productions with settings and wardrobe selected for an authentic visual spectacle.
- Full orchestral accompaniment to the composer's intentions including a proper string section.
- To provide a positive rehearsal environment and performance platform for developing singers.
- To provide opportunities for learning in stagecraft, vocal technique, set, wardrobe and technical.
As part of its mission for traditional operatic production WGSLO does not use personal microphones for cast and does not replace string players with ersatz keyboard string sounds.
This emphasis on musical quality has over the years assisted several Mobil/Lexus Song Quest finalists, winners and other performers in their development, some advancing to a professional career in opera.
In 2007, the 50th anniversary of its founding, WGSLO celebrated with a production of Offenbach's only Grand Opera. The Tales of Hoffmann, marking a transition from essentially G&S repertoire to include other works of high musical value and appeal outside the G&S canon every third year, continuing this with production of Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus in 2010, Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron) in 2013 and Franz Lehár's The Merry Widow in 2016.
WGSLO holds initial auditions in November or February and rehearsals commence the following year in the second quarter, with performance in the third quarter. Enquires are welcomed and should be directed to the Secretary or other officebearer noted above. Auditions and rehearsals are held at Te Whaea (the National School of Dance and Drama) in Newtown. The main annual production is taken on tour with weekend performances in the lower North Island, including Wellington Opera House, Southward Theatre Kapiti, Regent on Broadway Palmerston North, Royal Wanganui Opera House, and Napier Municipal Theatre.
As a non-profit society of cultural interest, WGSLO's articles of incorporation forbid distribution to members of any profit. Grants from cultural organisations and trusts and donations by individuals form a significant proportion of the funding necessary to mount productions at the desired level. As a Charitable organisation with Donee status, donations and bequests are eligible for tax refunds or credits. The Society's overheads are low, principally maintenance of a store of sets, props, technical assets, music and wardrobe at a location in Upper Hutt. There are no salaried staff. WGSLO is a Performance Partner with Orchestra Wellington and enjoys co-operative support from the New Zealand School of Music, New Zealand Opera, and the professional musical community. WGSLO is a member of Music Theatre New Zealand and Arts Wellington.