Dame Malvina Major Award

This prestigious annual award, worth $50,000, is funded by Joan Egan to acknowledge Dame Malvina’s legacy.

Recipients are selected by Dame Malvina and trustees for their track record, talent, determination and potential. The funding is to support career development, including further study or training, and travel and expenses for local and international engagements.

Dame Malvina Major Award 2022 recipient

Oliver Sewell, Tenor

New Zealand tenor Oliver Sewell has been praised for “his lovely, burnished tone color, natural sense of line, and unstinting generosity” (Phillymag). 

He has performed as a soloist at the Lincoln Centre’s Alice Tully Hall and the Rose Theatre, and in Carnegie Hall. Other highlights include performing Giannetto in La gazza ladra with Teatro Nuovo, Fernand in La favorite, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte and Alfredo in La Traviata all at the Academy of Vocal Arts, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Kent Tritle, with George Manahan performing Danceny in The Dangerous Liaisons and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, plus playing Father Pirrone in scenes and workshop of Michael Dellaria’s upcoming opera The Leopard.

Other roles include Brighella and Tanzmeister in Ariadne aux Naxos (Academy of Vocal Arts), Ernesto in Don Pasquale (Crested Butte Music Festival, Colorado), Gastone in La Traviata (New Jersey Festival Orchestra and New Zealand Opera), Benoit in Le roi l’a dit, (Manhattan School of Music Opera Studio), Corrado in Il Corsaro (New Zealand School of Music) and Biondello in L’oca dell Cairo (Days Bay Opera).

Oliver was a Dame Malvina Major Foundation Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera 2013-14.

“I believe it is our duty as a foundation to find and support young people who have a defined and determined idea of where they want to go to reach the pinnacle, and the talent to support their will to do so.”

Award winners

  • Soprano Natasha Wilson, 2021
  • Tenor Amitai Pati, 2020


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