Wellington tenor Frederick Jones has won the prestigious Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Aria, taking out the first prize ahead of a field of 18 contestants. Second place was awarded to soprano Sophie Sparrow.
A graduate from Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music in 2013, Frederick has just completed a Master of Arts in Advanced Vocal Studies with Distinction at the Wales International Academy of Voice, studying with internationally renowned tenor, Dennis ONeill. He heads to Australia in November to take up a scholarship at the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School at Griffith University.
The Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Aria is organised by the Hutt Valley Performing Arts Society and is the third of the 2016 regional Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria competitions which feed into the New Zealand Aria competition in October.
Adjudicator and acclaimed New Zealand bass Martin Snell, himself a previous winner of the competition, said it was a pleasure to hear some of the country’s emerging talent and the diverse range of repertoire that was performed.
“The overall standard was thrilling to witness, particularly to both see and hear the improvement in performances over the course of the competitions in response to my positive, constructive critical assessments of earlier classes.
“The award of principal prizes was both difficult and challenging, particularly as awarded marks were very close throughout. One can regard the future of the competitors with considerable admiration, pride and confidence.”
Dame Malvina Major said it was a privilege for the Dame Malvina Major Foundation to be able to invest in the future of opera in this way.
“The opportunity for these talented young singers to perform in a competition such as this is invaluable as they prepare for professional careers. Congratulations to Frederick, and to Sophie and the other finalists.”
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