Up to six applicants were selected to receive two weeks of intensive coaching from international tutors at The Opera Centre in Parnell, Auckland.
A particular focus was given to recitative training – a style of delivery used in operas in which a singer adopts the rhythms of ordinary speech.
Singers were selected for their excellence, proof of hard work and readiness to move overseas for further training. As part of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Opera Studies Programme, two additional singers were granted scholarships to attend Patricia Hurley’s Italian for NZ Opera Singers Masterclasses and Concerts in Italy.
Oriana has a BMus and a PGDip in Professional Performance from the University of Waikato under Dame Malvina Major and was one of the first to complete Dame Malvina’s Opera Studies Certificate. Her recent operatic roles include Mrs Todd in Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief and second lady in The Magic Flute, both at the University of Waikato, and Caroline in the premiere of Janet Jennings’ The Auction. She won the 2014 University of Waikato Aria competition, was a finalist in the 2013 NZ Aria competition and the 2014 Young Performer of the Year Awards, and was the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Sir Howard Morrison Vocal Scholar for 2013 and 2014.
Katherine has a BMus(Hons) in Classical Performance Voice from the New Zealand School of Music, where she studied under Jenny Wollerman and Richard Greager. She was a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera for 2015/16, and is a member of the inaugural Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation singer development programme. Katherine won the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Aria Competition in 2015, and has been a finalist in the New Zealand Aria competition three times. She recently played Tatyana in Eugene Onegin for Days Bay Opera, and has been selected for the 2017 Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme at the Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk, as well as the semi-finals of the IFAC Australian Singing Competition. In September, she will begin a Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, studying under Yvonne Kenny.
Photo © Calvin Peter Photography
Madison has a BMus(Hons) from the University of Auckland and a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music. She has been a finalist and winner of many singing competitions, including third place in the Lexus Song Quest 2016, where she was also awarded the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Prize for Most Promising Singer. Madison was a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera for 2015/16, making her operatic debut in the company’s production of The Magic Flute as Papagena. In 2016 Madison received the Iosefa Enari Memorial Award from Creative New Zealand and was accepted into the inaugural Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation singer development programme. This year she played the title role in Days Bay Opera’s production of Theodora and made her theatrical debut in the role of Katarina Cavalieri for Auckland Theatre Company’s Amadeus. Madison will commence study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under Yvonne Kenny, as a scholarship winner in the prestigious Opera Studies Master’s programme.
Whangarei soprano Sophie completed a Bachelor of Music with first class honours under Frances Wilson and Isabel Cunningham from the University of Otago. She has also attained ATCL with Distinction and attended the NZ Opera School and IFAC Handa NZ Singing School. Sophie is currently training with Frances Wilson at the Auckland Opera Studio. Sophie was a 2016 Lexus Song Quest semifinalist, runner up in 2016 Wellington Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria Competition, third in the National Young Performer Awards 2016, runner up in 2015 Dunedin Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria Competition, received a Dunedin Music Society Award for Excellence in Vocal Performance and Opera North Scholarship. Performances include soloist for the Auckland Youth Orchestra Baroque Concert Series, Carmen with the NZ Opera Auckland chorus and ‘Pamina’ in Opera Otago’s The Magic Flute.
Filipe holds a BMus and a PGDip with Distinction from the University of Waikato where he studied under Dame Malvina Major. A former Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, Filipe has achieved notable success in aria competitions nationally, including placing second in the prestigious Lexus Song Quest and New Zealand Aria competitions in 2016. Alongside a busy performance schedule, Filipe works as a volunteer for the Duffy Books in Homes charity and is one of the inaugural singers in the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation singer development programme. Filipe will shortly commence studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under Yvonne Kenny.
Clinton is a Malaysian-born baritone who studied Classical Voice Performance with Judy Bellingham at the University of Otago and later with Dame Malvina Major at the University of Waikato. He is a member of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus and was part of the New Zealand Youth Choir and New Zealand Secondary Schools’ Choir. Clinton was a 2014 National Young Performer of the Year Award nominee and a 2016 Wallace Cooperation University of Waikato Blues Award recipient. His recent operatic roles include Dan, (The Bone Feeder, Auckland Arts Festival) and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro, University of Waikato). He recently performed for the Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang at an event hosted by Prime Minister Bill English.
Photo © Robin Smith
Natasha was born and raised in Auckland, and is of Maori and European heritage. She has a BMus(Hons) majoring in classical vocal performance from the University of Auckland. Natasha made her professional debut with New Zealand Opera, as a member of the company for their touring production of The Mikado and was involved in workshops of Tim Finn’s upcoming opera, Star Navigator, in the role of Purea. Natasha has also performed internationally with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as the soprano soloist in their Spanish Baroque concert series. Natasha is a member of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation’s mentoring programme.
Photo © Calvin Peter Photography
Jonathan has a BMus(Hons) from the University of Waikato under Dame Malvina Major, where he was a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar. Jonathan has performed with New Zealand Opera since 2014 including as Billy in the world premiere of Harris’ Brass Poppies, Belcore in Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, and as a chorus member in Tosca, The Magic Flute, The Mikado, and Carmen. He has a large concert and oratorio repertoire, having performed as a soloist with numerous choirs and orchestras throughout New Zealand. Jonathan was recently awarded the Creative/Performing Arts Person of the Year award at the 2016 University of Waikato Blues Awards. He was Bass Leader of the New Zealand Youth Choir and is currently a member of the Voices NZ Chamber Choir, and is also an avid organist and harpsichordist.
Photo © Brooke Baker
The Dame Malvina Major Foundation Opera Studies Programme is funded by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation with the generous support of the Greenlea Foundation Trust.