The main focus of Foundation sponsorship is through the New Zealand Opera Artist Development Programme.
Co-ordinated and administered by New Zealand Opera, the Artist Development Programme provides an opportunity for some of New Zealand’s most promising young opera singers to develop their craft within the context of our national opera company.
Each year, early career singers are selected as Dame Malvina Major Foundation New Zealand Opera Studio Artists (previously Emerging Artists). Dame Malvina is part of the selection panels. Artists are equipped with the skills necessary for an opera career through a programme of vocal and dramatic training encompassing languages, movement, interpretation, stagecraft, and mentoring by international experts. They are supported through role-study and performance opportunities with New Zealand Opera with the programme tailored specifically to meet the needs of each individual artist.
Selection of Dame Malvina Major Foundation New Zealand Opera Studio Artists
Samuel Downes began his career as a member of the Auckland Chamber Choir, Auckland Youth Choir and New Zealand Youth Choir. He has a Bachelor of Music with Honours, and has performed with New Zealand Opera’s Freemasons Opera Chorus performing in Candide, La Boheme, l’elisir d’amore, and Don Giovanni.
Ben Kubiak, pianist
Ben Kubiak is a multi-faceted musician whose work spans multiple instruments and genres. He is currently completing a PhD in musicology at the University of Auckland. He holds a Bachelor of Music (Hons) majoring in classical voice from the University of Auckland, graduating with first class honours and winning the Drake medal for his dissertation.
Katie Trigg, mezzo-soprano
Katie Trigg is a University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar, and is completing her final year of a Bachelor of Music with Honours majoring in classical voice. In 2018 Katie placed first in the Dame Malvina Major Foundation University of Waikato Aria Competition. In September 2021 Katie travels to the Guildhall School of Music to further her studies.
Katherine Winitana, soprano
Katherine Winitana has experience in a wide variety of music genre as a performer and composer. In 2016 she was the inaugural recipient of the Vodafone and Recorded Music New Zealand scholarship award and performed a song she composed to commemorate the ANZAC Centenary at the 2015 Waiata Maori Music Awards.
“Thank you all so much for your commitment and belief in this wonderful programme... I will forever treasure this special time in my extraordinary journey.”
XING XING WANG
JULIA HILL (BOOTH)
SARAH McONIE (now COURT)
APRIL MARIE NEHO
WENDY DAWN THOMPSON
“One of my personal favourite parts of the program was the constant availability to work with visiting artists from overseas.”