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Kiwi Singer Near Top Of The World!

Issued by The NBR New Zealand Opera

MEDIA RELEASE

2 February 2005

KIWI SINGER NEAR TOP OF THE WORLD!

One of New Zealand's rising young opera singers, Wendy Dawn Thompson, has been named as a finalist in the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition to be held in Wales this June.

Wendy will compete as one of the 25 finalists in what is widely regarded as one of the most highly regarded singing competitions in the world. The finalists were selected from 507 singers chosen to audition out of over 700 applicants worldwide. Other well-known New Zealand singers to have made the finals in previous years include Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Paul Whelan, who won the Lieder Prize in 1993. International opera star, Bryn Terfel won the Lieder prize in 1989. The biennial competition is renowned for giving competitors valuable exposure and leverage into professional opera careers. This year's competition also forms part of Cardiff's celebrations marking 100 years as a city and 50 years as the capital of Wales.

Wendy was raised in Christchurch but developed her early singing career in Wellington studying at Victoria University. A Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with The NBR New Zealand Opera in 2000, she was selected for the post graduate opera programme at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. Recently she has completed advanced opera studies at the Benjamin Britten Opera School at the Royal College of Music, London.

Her place as a finalist in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition is not Wendy's first major international achievement. In 2003 while in the UK she won the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award and the Royal Overseas League Music Competition. Before leaving New Zealand she had won the Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship and was named New Zealand Young Performer of the Year in1998.

"This is the Olympics of singing!" says Wendy. "I am so proud to be able to represent New Zealand in the Cardiff Competition. I remember seeing broadcasts of it on television, hoping one day I'd be there too. Now that it's a reality for me I'm not only wondering what I'm going to sing but, more importantly, what on earth I'm going to wear! Suggestions are more than welcome!"

Alex Reedijk, General Director of The NBR New Zealand Opera enthuses how fantastic it is to see a young singer who has had a close association with the opera company as an Emerging Artist, achieve so highly.

"We are really delighted for her that she has made it to this stage of world competition," he said. "There is something extra special knowing that our Emerging Artist programme and the opera community in New Zealand played an important part in nurturing her talent at an early stage. We are immensely proud of her and look forward to having her back to perform with us very soon."

In February Auckland audiences will get a chance to hear Wendy when she returns to New Zealand especially to perform in The Death of Klinghoffer at the Auckland Festival. Presented by AK05 the single concert performance produced by The NBR New Zealand Opera and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, marks a New Zealand premiere. Wendy will demonstrate her vocal skills in several roles - The Grandmother, The Austrian and The Dancing Girl. Joining her on the concert platform will be Jared Holt, winner of the 2000 Mobil Song Quest, and other seasoned opera performers - David Griffiths, Richard Green, Zan McKendree-Wright, Anne Lamont Low and Jason Barry-Smith. Leading them and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra is esteemed American conductor, Mark Stringer - a graduate of New York's Juillard School and an Adams specialist.

Ends.


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