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Natasha Te Rupe Wilson wins $50,000 Dame Malvina Major Award

Natasha Te Rupe Wilson with Simon O'Neill

Auckland soprano Natasha Te Rupe Wilson (Te Arawa, Ngā Puhi), has been awarded the prestigious $50,000 Dame Malvina Major Award recognising her “track record, talent, determination and potential”.

The award, established in 2020 and funded by Joan Egan to acknowledge Dame Malvina’s legacy and vision to “share the dream”, supports the career development of talented young opera singers handpicked by the Foundation.

Natasha left New Zealand recently for an audition tour of Europe and plans to base herself in Germany to further develop her career.

The former Dame Malvina Major Foundation Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, Natasha completed her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and was a Resident Artist with Pittsburgh Opera before returning home to New Zealand last year due to the pandemic.

She says the award means so much for her career and alleviates the financial strain that a singer in her position faces under normal circumstances, let alone during this pandemic.

“Dame Malvina and her foundation have been supporting me since I began performing in the regional competitions across New Zealand back in 2017. They have created a community of artists who feel like they’re part of a whānau. I’m so honoured to be a part of this community and to be able to put myself forward for the best possible opportunities, thanks to this award.”

Dame Malvina says Natasha has shown the foundation that she is determined to succeed, a huge plus in these hard times of COVID-19 restrictions.

“I have watched her determined progress over the last few years where she has grown more and more as a genuine performer. Besides having a beautiful voice, she is a serious actress and obviously loves to perform – the stage is her happy place.”

“I’m so honoured to be a part of this community and to be able to put myself forward for the best possible opportunities, thanks to this award.”

Dame Malvina says Natasha is passionate about what she wants to achieve in the future and shows great love and respect for her art form and cherished Māori heritage.

“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.”

Last year’s inaugural recipient of the Dame Malvina Major Award, Amitai Pati, says the award has not only been helpful in easing the stress of financially supporting his most recent endeavours, but it has opened the door to opportunities. “In June, I was able to travel to France to participate in the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. Not only was I able to perform, but I also made some valuable connections which have led to debuts for the coming years.

“The pandemic has affected us all. It’s been the most challenging time, especially for us involved in the performing arts. COVID has definitely made me realise that we must make the most of our situations and continue to push forward. I will always be grateful to Dame Malvina for her unwavering support.”

Image credit: David Bachman

Media coverage: DMM Award


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