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Mobil Sends Song Quest Soaring For Higher Notes

Mobil Sends Song Quest Soaring For Higher Notes

The event that launched the careers of many young New Zealand singers, the Mobil Song Quest, is about to launch into a new and exciting stage of its illustrious 48 year career.

Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited, the founder and organiser of the Song Quest, has announced that the New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust will be taking over the ownership and management of the Song Quest from February 2004.

“The Song Quest is New Zealand’s premier vocal competition and the country’s longest running arts sponsorship. It is an event that has not only stood the test of time but has enormous potential in the future,” says George R. Garner III, Mobil Country Manager.

“We have recognised this potential for some time and have sought to find a reputable new manager of the competition. In the capable hands of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, the Song Quest has the opportunity to be directed by a professional arts organisation that we believe will cement its vital place in the world of performing arts.”

Since its foundation in 1956, the Mobil Song Quest has developed into a serious competition for the classically trained singer and winning the award is recognised and respected around the world and is an entrée to enormous opportunity for young singers.

Over the years the Mobil Song Quest has featured a “who’s who” of New Zealand opera talent and provided a springboard for the careers of many opera singers, including Dame Malvina Major, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Christopher Doig, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Jonathan Lemalu.

Mobil also intends to step down from sponsorship of the event.

“We know the Song Quest is eminently ‘sponsorable’ because it has such a strong profile. However, our community focus has a growing emphasis on environment, health and safety, and education projects,” says Mr Garner.

“While there is some sadness at this decision, we are excited about the event’s future and are proud to have contributed in some small way to the careers of young performers and to the cultural development of New Zealand over so many years. We are confident that the professionalism of the New Zealand International Arts Festival will take the event to new levels and the wider audience it deserves,” says Mr Garner.

Diary Note

Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited invites media to attend a celebration of 48 years of involvement in the Mobil Song Quest and to celebrate the history and bright future of the event.

Venue: Dress Circle Foyer at The Opera House, 111 – 113 Manners Street, Wellington
Date: 10 February, 2004
Time: 5.30pm – 8.00pm
Speeches: Commence at 6.15pm by: George R. Garner III, Country Manager of Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited and Hon Fran Wilde, Chairperson of the New Zealand International Arts Festival.
Performance: By Dame Malvina Major at 6.30pm.

Mobil Song Quest winners (23)

2002 Anna Leese 2000 Jared Holt Jonathan Lemalu Andrea Creighton Martin Snell Teddy Tahu Rhodes Tracey King Deirdre Elliott Robyn Lynch David Griffiths Linden Loader Malcolm Smith Lyle Kennaway Christopher Lackner Christopher Doig Patricia House Anne Rasmussen Kiri Te Kanawa Malvina Major Patricia Price Mary O’Brien Paul Gilmore Donald Jack


Dame Kiri Te Kanawa winner 1965 “I am so sorry that I will not be able to attend your function on the 10th of February due to other commitments. I send my very best wishes to you all and hope to hear of the Song Quests ongoing ventures very soon.”

Anna Leese winner 2002 “Winning the Mobil Song Quest was an absolute dream, and a fantastic surprise! To share a place in the history of the Mobil Song Quest with the likes of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major and Jonathan Lemalu is motivating as well as awe inspiring. The support that Mobil has given me since winning the Mobil Song Quest has enabled me to pursue my aspirations of being a professional singer. It has given me the opportunity to sing and study in the UK, something that would have proven next to impossible otherwise. Thank you Mobil for your generous support, for which I still feel incredibly lucky to receive.”

Michael Lloyd international conductor 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 “Mobil has sponsored a competition that as far as I can tell is unique in the world. Unique not only for its longevity, but also for its achievement in promoting and stimulating the art of singing in New Zealand. Those of us lucky enough to know New Zealand and its singers are always amazed at the quality and quantity coming from such a small population base. I venture to suggest that the Mobil Song Quest has played no small part in this, not only for the regular challenge of a national competition over such a long period of time, but also for the generous opportunity it offers the prize-winners for study abroad.

It was a privilege to conduct young singers of the calibre of Jonathan Lemalu, Jared Holt, Ana James and Anna Leese. I can vouch personally for the impact some of the recent prize-winners have had, and are having, on the Royal College of Music and its Britten International Opera School and on musical life here in England. It is indeed wonderful news that the competition is being taken under the wing of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, and I will happily raise a glass (or two) to the future of the Song Quest.”

Jared Holt finalist 1996; 2nd 1998; winner 2000 “Winning the Mobil Song Quest played a key role in my being able to make the leap from New Zealand into the international opera world. In my view, the Song Quest has been an essential component in the success of many of New Zealand's opera singers and it is of great importance that it continues. In supporting the Song Quest for the last 48 years, Mobil have exhibited an exceptional degree of generosity, foresight and commitment to opera in New Zealand. In taking over the Song Quest, the New Zealand International Arts Festival is ensuring that New Zealand will maintain the excellent international profile for opera that it currently holds for many generations to come. I cannot thank Mobil enough for their support in my career and I applaud the New Zealand International Arts Festival. I am sure the Song Quest could not be in better hands.”

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