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2004 Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists

The 2004 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists

Four young New Zealand opera performers will get the opportunity to immerse themselves in the intricacies of their craft and work alongside some of the opera world’s top artists, directors and creative minds as this year’s PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists.

The 2004 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists, from left: Wade Kernot, Kristen Darragh, Andrew Glover, John Harvey (PwC), Phillip Rhodes.

Kristen Darragh (North Shore), Andrew Glover (West Auckland), Wade Kernot and Phillip Rhodes (Hawke’s Bay), will spend 2004 under the wing of The NBR New Zealand Opera and Dame Malvina Major, taking early steps towards forging a professional opera career.

The year-long programme is specifically designed to give emerging opera singers an internship with The NBR New Zealand Opera. This provides 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, including regular vocal tuition with Dame Malvina Major.

“With the amazing pool of young singers we have in this country, we need to foster our grass roots cultural talent – just as the sporting and business worlds do – to ensure it is here for tomorrow,” says Dame Malvina. “There are operatic heroes and heroines just waiting to emerge – who deserve to be given the chance to do so and have their talent nurtured.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers committed its support to the Emerging Artists Programme in 2002. John Harvey, Auckland Managing Partner, says "This Programme is the only one of its kind in New Zealand offering professional training in opera performance. The artists whose careers have already benefited from the programme are testament to its positive effects on supporting our young singing talent." “PricewaterhouseCoopers has a philosophy of recognising talented people and celebrating individuality," he said. "We are proud to be a part of the Emerging Artists Programme and in doing so provide New Zealand with its next generation of opera stars."

Dame Malvina Major said the tremendous commitment from PricewaterhouseCoopers helped her and the opera company to confidently continue to shape and foster the future performers of opera in New Zealand.

The Programme has been in existence in various forms since 1996. The main indicator of its success is that, of the 30 singers who have participated almost all are now on their way towards actively pursuing a career as a singer, either domestically or internationally.

The PwC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists are selected annually by audition. Successful candidates are chosen demonstrate 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 as understudies or in minor roles, and as members of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus. This provides opportunity to observe the professionals at work and receive coaching in all the operatic disciplines.

In 2004 performance opportunities include The Telecom Opera The Elixir of Love - the first ever co-production between The NBR New Zealand Opera and The New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in March; The NZI Winter Season of Rigoletto in May/June; The Winter Tour of Cosi fan Tutte in June/July/August; and The Genesis Spring Season of Carmen in September/October.

The young singers have already commenced rehearsals for Donizetti’s fizzing comic opera The Telecom Opera The Elixir of Love, which opens in Wellington on 6 March and Auckland, 25 March. Also on the agenda for 2004 are a variety of concert performances around the country, including the St Matthew’s Chamber Orchestra, Auckland in November. They will also participate in the company’s outreach programmes to schools and promotional events. Other important aspects covered by the programme during the year can include workshops on stagecraft, language tuition, grooming and media training.

Pricewaterhousecoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists 2004 Biographical Notes

ANDREW GLOVER, 26, Baritone

Andrew Glover’s striking height (today, 6’4”) and love of performing, made him an appropriate choice for one of his first-ever roles - that of Taupo Junior Pipe Band’s Drum Major. From an early age, Andrew’s love of music and drama was fostered by participation in school and local theatre productions, many inspired by his mother – drama teacher and choir mistress at Taupo-nui-a-tia College, Taupo.

Andrew attended the National Youth Drama School for two years whilst at college, followed by three years at Unitec's School of Performing and Screen Arts where he graduated with a Bachelor of Acting for Screen and Theatre in 1998.

Based in Auckland, Andrew has worked as an actor, dancer and singer across a variety of artistic mediums including Shakespearan, dramatic and musical theatre, film, television and most recently, opera. Highlights of his eclectic performing career include working with top theatre directors such as Colin McColl (Skylight) and Raymond Hawthorne (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), performing the role of Ray Dooley in ATC’s 2000 production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane and Orlando in As You Like It for Summer Shakespeare. He has danced under the tuition of several reputable dance tutors and companies in contemporary, hip-hop and ballet, and has studied Balinese mask dance and carving for three months in Bali. He has toured the country with the Ugly Shakespeare Company, taking comical singing and dancing versions of Shakespeare to schools, which helped to inspire his interest in opera.

Since 2001 Andrew has been a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, appearing in all The NBR New Zealand Opera productions, and in 2003 he toured in the company’s winter tour of The Barber of Seville performing the role of the Official.

KRISTEN DARRAGH, 23, Mezzo-soprano

Kristen Darragh recently made her professional opera debut in the role of Fyodor in The NBR New Zealand Opera’s 2003 production of Boris Godunov, for which she enjoyed favourable reviews.

Raised on Auckland's North Shore, Kristen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (English and Spanish) from the University of Auckland in 2000. She also holds a Cambridge University Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, and until recently taught at Auckland Language Centre in a full-time position.

Music and stage have been a focus for Kristen for as long as she can remember. She studied speech and drama achieving Trinity College qualifications, and won the 1998 North Shore Performing Arts Competition Speech and Drama Championship.

Over the last 10 years Kristen has been regularly involved with Milford Theatre Company in Auckland, performing in several productions a year. Roles include Puck and Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Lady Anne (Richard III) and Gwendoline (The Importance of Being Earnest). Since 2000 she has been a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus performing in all The NBR New Zealand Opera productions.

Kristen began vocal training with Shelagh Molyneux, has worked with Frances Wilson and is currently studying under Grant Dixon. In 1999 she won the North Shore Performing Arts Competitions Vocal Championship (18 and under20) and the 2001 Hamilton Aria Competition. In 2003 she was a finalist in both the Lockwood Aria Competition and North Shore Aria Competitions, receiving the Most Promising Finalist Award. She was also awarded the Supreme Award for North Shore Young Achievers at the North Harbour Club Tower Ames Awards.

In September 2004 Kristen takes up a place at the Royal Academy of Music in London studying under Anne Howells.

WADE KERNOT, 23, Baritone

Wade Kernot’s musical background is possibly more akin to Johnny Cash than Puccini. The ex-Waitakere College Head Boy has been involved in variety of music and performance all his life including barbershop, musicals and his family’s country music band where he made his first public singing appearance at the age of 9.

Wade began a Bachelor of Science degree at University of Auckland but fostered his music passion as a member of Opera Factory, performing roles in Orpheus, Cherryomuski and A Christmas Carol. This inspired his decision to move to the Hawke’s Bay in 2000 to study for a Diploma of Performing Arts (Voice) under Patrick Power at the Eastern Institute of Technology. Wade graduated in 2001 and during 2002 continued to study singing privately while working as a full-time beekeeper.

Wade's performance experience includes the role of Sarastro in a concert version of The Magic Flute, West-End to Broadway, Night of Dreams, A Night at the Opera and Lombardi concerts while at EIT. He was a member of New Vintage, a group of promising young talent who performed at Our Giants Concert Craggy Range alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tim Finn, Patrick Power and the Auckland Philharmonia. In 2003, Wade joined the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus performing in The NBR New Zealand Opera's productions of Boris Godunov and Tosca, and performed the role of the Sprecher and understudied Sarastro, in Opera Hawke’s Bay’s production of The Magic Flute. He was a finalist in the 2003 Napier Competition Society's Aria Competition.

PHILLIP RHODES, 25, Baritone

Phillip Rhodes has been involved in local theatre and performing arts in his hometown of Hawke's Bay for the last seven years. While at Havelock North High School, Philip was selected to attend the 1996 National Shakespeare School and won Shakespearean Actor of the Year for the New Zealand Secondary Schools section.

Phillip graduated with a Diploma in Performing Arts (Voice) from the Eastern Institute of Technology in 2001, where he studied under Patrick Power. During his studies he performed the role of Riff (Westside Story), Pilate (Jesus Christ Superstar), and MacHeath and The Beggar (The Beggar's Opera).

Recently Phillip has performed in Napier Operatic Society's productions of West-End to Broadway, Blood Brothers and performed as Enjolras in Les Miserables. He has performed Shakespearean roles in Othello, Macbeth and Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing.

During 2003 Philip performed the role of Monostatos (The Magic Flute) for Opera Hawke's Bay, Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) for Hawke's Bay Song and Opera and was selected with other up and coming young singers performing alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at Our Giants Concert, Craggy Range. He recently joined the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus performing in The NBR New Zealand Opera's Tosca, and was also a finalist in the 2003 Lockwood Aria Competition.

Philip's Maori tribal affiliations are Ngati Awa and Ngati Kahungungu, and in November 2003 he was asked to perform the waiata on behalf of Jose Carreras at the powhiri welcoming the famous tenor to New Zealand.

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