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Four Divas And A Baritone


Thursday, 23 January 2003

Four Divas And A Baritone

The 2003 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists

Five young New Zealand opera performers get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the intricacy of their craft as this year's PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists.

Stephanie Bain (Auckland), Sarah McOnie (Te Awamutu/Auckland), Carla Parry (Waiuku), Elaine Wogan (Cambridge) - and baritone - Seamus Casey (Christchurch) - will spend 2003 under the wing of The NBR New Zealand Opera and Dame Malvina Major, taking early steps towards a professional opera career.

The year-long programme is specifically designed to give emerging opera singers practical assistance and experience at the infancy of their career by equipping them with some of the necessary skills to develop into a professional performer. Focus is given to voice and performance training with regular tuition with Dame Malvina Major.

"With such an amazing pool of young singers in this country, we need to foster our grass-roots cultural talent - just as the sporting world does - to ensure it's here for tomorrow," says Dame Malvina. "There are operatic heroes and heroines just waiting to emerge and who deserve to be nurtured."

In 2002, PricewaterhouseCoopers committed its support to the Emerging Artists with a three-year sponsorship. "It is a tremendous commitment which will help us to confidently continue to shape and foster the future performers of opera in New Zealand," says Dame Malvina.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Auckland Managing Partner, John Harvey, says the joint effort of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Dame Malvina Major Foundation and The NBR New Zealand Opera to actively foster the talent of young New Zealanders in the performing arts, demonstrates vision, courage and creativity of all those involved.

"These are valuable and important qualities vital to the vibrancy and health of both the business and artistic worlds. It is gratifying to be able to support New Zealand's burgeoning talent and their chosen career paths."

The PwC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists are selected annually by audition. Successful candidates are chosen because they fulfil the programme criteria, which includes excellent vocal ability and the potential to pursue an opera career through further study and performance experience. Each emerging artist performs in The NBR New Zealand Opera's opera productions either in the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus or minor roles. This provides opportunity to observe the professionals at work and receive coaching in all the operatic disciplines. In 2003 performance opportunities will include the New Zealand premiere of Boris Godunov in March/April; The Winter Regional Tour of The Barber of Seville; Acis and Galatea; and The Genesis Spring Season of Tosca.

The young singers will soon get their first real taste of life as a full-time opera performer, when rehreasals begin for Boris Godunov in Wellington at the end of January. They will have the opportunity to be part of the cast working with a top creative team and observe international opera performers at close range - including Bolshoi star, Vladimir Matorin, here to perform the coveted title role.

Also on the agenda for 2003 are a variety of concert and promotional performances around the country, and participation in the company's Outreach Programme to schools. Other important aspects covered during the year include workshops on stagecraft, language tuition, grooming and media training. Each emerging artist receives $12,000 for the year to assist with tuition expenses.


Images of the 2003 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists are available upon request.

For further information or comment please contact:

The NBR New Zealand Opera and the 2003 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists:

Sahra Grinham

Ruscoe Public Relations, Wellington

Tel: (04) 472 4098

Mob: (021) 528 778



Cassandra Orange

Communications Manager

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Auckland

Tel: (09) 355 8822

Mob: (021) 506 056


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