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Sister Act In Song Quest Semi-Finals


Sister Act In Song Quest Semi-Finals

Two sisters are among 12 semi-finalists selected in New Zealand’s iconic singing contest, the 2005 Lexus Song Quest.

Anna Pierard (27), a mezzo-soprano, and her sister Madeleine Pierard (22) a soprano are originally from Napier.

Anna is currently studying in Amsterdam and was one of three semi-finalists studying overseas to win her place by supplying judges with tapes of her work. The others were chosen from 55 contestants in auditions held around New Zealand last week. (bios attached)

Seven women and five men comprising five sopranos, two mezzos, two tenors and three baritones spread throughout the country were selected. They will now go on to record a full programme of their chosen works. Six finalists will be selected to compete for the final concert at the Great Hall of the Edge in Auckland, on Thursday, April 28, 2005.

Preliminary judge Barry Mora, an internationally recognised baritone, says “there is a group of impressive young singers coming through and we experienced an unexpected high standard of singing in some areas”. Fellow judge, Rosemary Barnes, who is an experienced vocal coach and accompanist and who was a judge for the Mobil Song Quest in 2002, said she was “very impressed by the progress that many of these young singers have made since they auditioned then. A number have made significant development both vocally and artistically." The third judge, Alexandra Gordon, a soprano whose early career was at Covent Garden, said, "We were impressed with the repertoire presented. It was intelligent and well balanced, with some interesting and quirky choices of songs." As the new sponsor of the event, which was first staged in 1956 (formerly known as the Mobil Song Quest), Bob Field, Chairman of Toyota New Zealand, says Lexus is thrilled by the standard of the entrants and semi-finalists for the 2005 Lexus Song Quest.

“This truly is the opportunity of a lifetime for New Zealand’s up and coming international stars. They don’t even have to win the title to benefit from being part of this competition. Everyone who takes part grows from the experience,” Mr Field says.

The Lexus Song Quest is managed and presented by the New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust. …ends.

LEXUS SONG QUEST 2005 -- SEMI-FINALISTS

(Listed Alphabetically)

Paloma Bruce 22 soprano Resident: Wellington Hometown: Wellington Paloma has graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Music, 1st Class Honours, in Performance Voice. She is a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus of the NBR New Zealand Opera and has sung principal roles for Victoria Opera and the Wellington Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Paloma was a semi-finalist in the 2002 Mobil Song Quest and she has had considerable success at regional vocal competitions. Paloma has appeared as a soloist with a number of Wellington choirs and she will be the soprano soloist in the Orpheus Choir of Wellington’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” in November.

Stephen Chambers 21 tenor Resident: Dunedin Hometown: Dunedin Stephen is in his third year of Performance Voice at Otago University, where he is studying for a double degree in Science and Music. He was awarded a number of scholarships at the Dunedin Performing Arts Competitions and was nominated as Dunedin’s representative at the 2004 National Young Performer of the Year Award. This year he was also runner-up in the Napier Computer Systems Aria Competition and a finalist in the aria competitions in Wellington and Dunedin. Stephen is a current member of the TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir and toured to Eastern Europe with the choir this year.

Allison Cormack 24 soprano Resident: Wellington Hometown: Dannevirke/Levin Allison is currently in her second year of a Bachelor of Music in Performance Voice at Victoria University of Wellington. She has a Diploma in Performing Arts – Voice from the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hawke’s Bay and in 1998 she did the Preparatory Degree Course at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane. Allison is a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus of the NBR New Zealand Opera and in 2003 she performed the role of the First Lady in “The Magic Flute” for Opera Hawke’s Bay. She has won a number of classes at competitions around the country and was a finalist in the Aria competition of the Hutt Valley Performing Arts Society.

Rebecca Crabtree 29 mezzo-soprano Resident: Melbourne, Australia Hometown: Howick, Auckland Rebecca has just attended the month long Belcanto Summer School and Festival in Dordrecht, Holland. She was selected as one of four young artists from the Melbourne Opera Company to attend the school. Rebecca, who currently lives in Melbourne, is a member of the Melbourne Opera Company and this month she is singing the role of Pitti-Sing in the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Melbourne’s production of “The Mikado”. Rebecca has a Bachelor of Arts in Italian and Arts History and a Bachelor of Music in Performance Voice from the University of Auckland. This year she has completed the AMusA from the Australian Music Examinations Board.

Jamie Frater 30 baritone Resident: Wellington Hometown: Lower Hutt Jamie is currently in his third year of vocal study at Massey University’s Conservatorium of Music. He started his voice studies at the age of 18 and after 2 years he stopped to pursue a career in computing. He resumed his studies after a 10 year break and is now planning to study in the UK in 2005. In the last two years Jamie has performed principal roles in three world premiere productions of New Zealand operas, produced by Sirius Opera and he will appear in another world premiere in 2005.

Joanna Heslop 29 soprano Resident: St Petersburg, Russia Hometown: New Plymouth Joanna is currently a member of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers in St Petersburg, having been offered a place by the Artistic Director Larissa Gergieva after she heard Joanna complete in the Geneva International Competition. Joanna was a member of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Emerging Artists programme with the NBR New Zealand Opera in 2000 and 2001. She has a Master of Music (Distinction) in Performance Voice and a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honours in English Literature from Victoria University of Wellington. Joanna was a soloist in the New Zealand International Arts Festival Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 2000 and subsequently sang at the 2002 Queen’s Jubilee Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Matt Landreth 25 baritone Resident: Dunedin Hometown: Owaka, South Otago Matt has a Certificate in Computer Graphic Design and a Diploma in Multimedia and is currently studying Design at Otago University. He studies singing privately. For the last four years he has been a member of the TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir, the Otago University Capping Quartet for the last three and a member of the Southern Youth Choir since 1999. Matt has sung principal roles for Opera Otago and the Dunedin Gilbert & Sullivan Society. This year Matt won the Otago Daily Times Aria Competition.

Penelope Muir 24 soprano Resident: Dunedin Hometown: Dunedin Penelope has a Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Performance Voice from Otago University. She won the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria competition in Christchurch this year and was the runner-up in the Otago Daily Times Aria in 2003. Penelope performed the role of Molly in the world premiere production of Anthony Ritchie’s opera “The God Boy” in the recent Otago Festival of the Arts. She has also performed principal roles in the Dunedin Operatic Society’s productions of “42nd Street”, “West Side Story” and “The Merry Widow”. Penelope is a member of Sexytet, the female Sextet at Otago University.

Anna Pierard 27 mezzo-soprano Resident: Amsterdam, The Netherlands Hometown: Napier Anna is currently in her first year at Die Nieuw Opera Academie in Amsterdam. She has graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in Voice. Anna was a finalist in the 2002 Mobil Song Quest. She has received scholarships from the Link Foundation, the Scottwood Trust and the Willi Fels Memorial Trust. She has appeared as a soloist in a number of oratorios and concerts in the UK, with choirs such as the London Sinfonia Chorus and conductors such as Sir Colin Davis.

Madeleine Pierard 22 soprano Resident: Wellington Hometown: Napier Madeleine completed her Bachelor of Music in Composition last year and is currently completing a major in Performance Voice at Victoria University of Wellington. Madeleine is a member of TOWER Voices New Zealand, the Tudor Consort and the Chapman Tripp Chorus of the NBR New Zealand Opera. She was a member of TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir from 2000 to 2003, often appearing as a soloist. This year she has been selected as the Wellington representative for the National Young Performer Awards and she won a Rotary Scholarship for excellence in the study of music. She has appeared as a soloist with a number of choirs and this year was a guest performer at the New Zealand Composer’s Workshop in Nelson.

James Rodgers 22 tenor Resident: Wellington Hometown: Blenheim James graduated last year with a Bachelor of Music in Performance Voice and he is currently completing his Honours degree at Victoria University of Wellington. This year he was the recipient of the Les and Sonia Andrews Cultural Foundation Scholarship and he won the Napier Computer Systems Aria Competition. James has considerable operatic experience. He has covered a number of roles for the NBR New Zealand Opera and he is a member of the Chapman Tripp Chorus. He has had principal roles for operas mounted by Victoria University and Sirius Opera in Wellington. He has also appeared as a soloist with many choirs around the country.

Robert Tucker 24 baritone Resident: Dunedin Hometown: Dunedin Robert is currently completing a Bachelor of Music at the University of Otago, having originally started a science degree. He has just performed the title role of “The God Boy” in the world premiere production of Anthony Ritchie’s opera in the Otago Festival of the Arts. Also this year he has appeared as the baritone soloist in concerts with the City of Dunedin Choir and the Southern Sinfonia. Last year Robert won the Cleveland Award in the Dunedin Performing Arts Competitions Society and he was a finalist in the Sister Mary Leo Scholarship. He won the Otago Daily Times Aria in 2002. Robert was a member of the TOWER New Zealand Youth Choir from 2000 to 2003.

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