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Leading NZ soprano to perform in Hong Kong

May 27, 2004

Leading NZ soprano to perform in Hong Kong

A leading New Zealand soprano singer Deborah Wai Kapohe will sing in Hong Kong Opera’s August production of Faust, it was confirmed today.

Wai Kapohe has been dubbed the next Kiri Te Kanawa and has won the leading lady role of Marguerite in Hong Kong's Faust production.

The opera was cancelled last year because of serious concerns relating to the SARS outbreak.

``I feel just so lucky to be invited back. It is quite significant to be asked back a second time to sing with an overseas company which has such a huge pool of singers to choose from.

``This is a milestone in my career which I am so keen to further. I have always sought to sing to my very best and to improve daily.

``Going to Hong Kong is such a wonderful opportunity because the director has wanted me back since I sung for his company at the Beijing international arts festival in 2000.’’

The Invercargill-based singer is recognised as New Zealand’s most promising soprano (the Dominion 2002).

As well as operas, Wai Kapohe has performed in musicals, contemporary Maori music, arts festivals, proms, concerts, recitals and special events throughout New Zealand and Australia as well as in the UK, China and South Africa. She has performed at St James Palace, the Guildhall, the Barbican (Royal Gala Performance) and at Royal Albert Hall in London, the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and for Royal families at Huka Lodge.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper in Sydney has said: ``Wai Kapohe has been called the next Kiri Te Kanawa but she is an individual talent who deserves her own star status’’.

She is noted for her solo performances which are self-accompanied by guitar. She undertook a 17-town tour with the Chamber Music New Zealand two years ago.

Last year she was a guest performer in The Royal New Zealand Ballet's 50th Anniversary celebratory performance at Lombardi Vineyard Havelock North.

She planned to return to Asia last year for opera seasons in Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai; however the SARS outbreak resulted in the cancellation of the tour.

Wai Kapohe is practising three hours a day in between other music duties and doing a masters degree at Otago University.

``I have decided to put money back into the arts and have sponsored a new event called the Pacific Songwriting Competition.

``The website will be up and running before the end of New Zealand Music Month. ``I want to celebrate excellence in New Zealand songwriting through this competition which is not record industry based or product driven.’’

The 34 year old, whose family hails from Southland, has also released three CDs as a singer songwriter on her label Ring Trout CDs.


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