Cuba Dupa / Sara Brodie

The Urban Rhapsodies

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Sara Brodie has long been passionate about bringing opera to the people and CubaDupa provides a great opportunity for her to do this.  She says: "I never grew up with opera and have never considered myself an opera connoisseur, even now. However, for anyone who has experienced an aria up close you cannot help but admire the sheer power of the singing and the beauty of the music. I have been fortunate to work with and train singers who are determined to bring the art form into the present and fill it with drama. These are performers who are not dull, who want push the boundaries and who dare. What better way to do this than in an event on the streets, where we can mix drama, fine music and literally dangle the singers from great heights for all to see."

The Urban Rhapsodies promises to be filled with a selection of operatic hits performed on the rooftops and hidden spaces in and around Cuba Street. It will also celebrate the history of area, reminiscences of past lives and events along the way. Audiences can choose to either; stop and listen to a short sample, or for those who dare to follow the singers, go into, up and through some of the private spaces behind the facades, for an intimate musical escapade..

CubaDupa needs your help to create The Urban Rhapsodies. Your money will be spent on the singers, musicians and costuming. The more funding we receive the more singers we can involve and the more experiences can be on offer. For example, at present Sara is programming the Habanera from Carmen from the balcony of the old Working Men's Club on Cuba St, but she would love to add the card trio from the same opera for those brave enough to venture through the doors of the building escorted by Carmen into a private room to have their future read.

Singers are literately leaping at the chance to be involved in this project, but we want to pay them. We would love your financial support... and your operatic requests!

Help us do the CubaDupa!

CubaDupa will be a world-class street festival, which builds on the spirit and talent of Wellington and draws on the best international street festivals.  It will be held annually in Wellington, premiering Saturday 28 - Sunday 29 March 2015.

The new Cuba Street festival, CubaDupa, is a celebration of the creative heart of Wellington.  The Cuba street precinct will become a vibrant pedestrianised playground of music, dance, arts and street food.

In creating a totally unique and family friendly urban environment and entertainment programme Drew James, the Artistic Director of CubaDupa has identified seven diverse projects that will deliver an extraordinary experience for audiences and participants.

These are Urban Rhapsodies aerial opera, Mass Cuba Street Orchestra, The Beop band of the future, Carnival Zone with Wellington Batucada, Cuba Surveyors historical street theatre, Java Dance's Sneak Peek in shop windows, and CubaKaleidoscope by the Tarrant Dance Studio. All of these projects will be commissioned with the help of Boosted donations and performed free for audiences on the streets.



  • Thank you very much!


    Thank you very much to you and all our donors and especially Ian Cassels from The Wellington Company for supporting and making this whole project possible. On behalf of the musicians, singers and myself you are our heroes who have provided the means to bring opera to the streets of Wellington on the very festive occasion of Cuba Dupa. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Thank you to our supporters and our team


    We are very grateful to all the support we have received so far - thank you for your donations and a special thank you to Ian Cassels of The Wellington Company for being our matching sponsor on this Boosted campaign.

    Below is a photo of Imogen Thirlwall, one of our opera singers singing in Cuba Mall for the Boosted campaign launch in November.

    Other members of the team include Cameron Barclay, Simon Christie, Christian Thurston and Stephen Diaz.

    Imogen Thirlwall is a diverse performer based in Welllington. Operatic roles include Annina in Der Rosenkavalier (Days Bay Opera, 2014), Auretta in L’Orca del Cairo (Days Bay Opera, 2013), Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte (Days Bay Opera, 2013), Mercedes in Carmen (NZ Choral Federation workshop, 2013), and Hermia in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (NZSM, 2011).

    Imogen is a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, performing in New Zealand Opera’s productions of Don Giovanni (2014), La Traviata (2014), Ainadamar (NZ International Arts Festival, 2014), The Flying Dutchman (2013), Madame Butterfly (2013), and The Bartered Bride (2012). Imogen has performed comic acting roles at Bats Theatre in the play Someone Like You and musical Society Slump Superstars, as well as performing in Contrite Elegant Rebel with indie-electronic band Porcelaintoy.


    Imogen completed a Master of Music in Classical Performance Voice at the NZSM last year, having won a full scholarship based on academic excellence following a First Class Honours degree. She has presented papers at the New Zealand Musicological Society Conference (2012) and the Australian Musicological Society Conference in Melbourne (2014).


    Thank you to our supporters and our team
  • Aerial Opera in Cuba Street


    Equally at home directing Opera New Zealand, or a community theatre project, Sara Brodie is very excited about her new aerial opera project, and has been matching operas with Cuba Street locations. One idea is arias from Carmen, very appropriate! Lucky her partner is Danny Hones, internationally reknowned theatre technician, who can make sure the singers are flown properly. Lets get them off the ground!

    Wellington is one of the world’s greatest festival cities, full of riches, talent, history and good times. Cuba Street is our festival playground, and CubaDupa is the ultimate celebration. There is a bit of Cuba Street in all Wellingtonians. The street holds a place in our hearts and minds.

    We are on a mission to write another chapter into our history and you are part of it. You are CupaDupa, after all the Festival is nothing without you. But you don't have to wait, you can do the CupaDupa right now by supporting one of our Boosted projects. These Boosted projects have been specially created with some of our most brilliant and innovative Wellington artists. With theatre, dance, opera and music they celebrate what is so great about our Cuba Street.

    Thanks to those that already have donated. Tell your friends to donate and then join you at the Festival that we are creating together.

    Drew James, Director

  • Stephen Diaz joins The Urban Rhapsodies!


    Counter Tenor, Stephen Diaz is joining the Urban Rhapsodies, to bring Carmen back to Cuba Street. Carmen the opera, and the famous Habanera will be sung by Stephen playing Carmen, and a little slice of Carmen's Coffee Lounge will be recreated as part of intriguing spaces to visit on this celebratory operatic journey.   





    Stephen Diaz joins The Urban Rhapsodies!

Cuba Dupa

Celebrate the change of season. A transformation from the last moments of summer to the first days of winter. CubaDupa brings all walks of life in an immersive experience to ‘get on up’ during the day or ‘get on down’ in the evening.

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Sara Brodie

Sara’s work as a director and choreographer spans opera, theatre, dance and interdisciplinary productions.

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Other Projects by Cuba Dupa

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Cuba Dupa

A film/installation/dance event celebrating 100 years of dance in Cuba Street, with students from Tarrant Dance Studio. A Kaleidoscope of Colours will clothe the trees and dancers will bring a range of dance moves to the CubaDupa spaces- at night a film installation will light up the building as Tarrant Dance Studio celebrates a classical time line of 100 years of talent treading to the top of the stairs at 125 Cuba St to 'love dancing'!