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New Developments For Opera Internship 2006

18 January 2006

New Developments For Opera Internship 2006

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Dame Malvina Major and John Harvey (Auckland Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers) with the two repetiteurs (piano accompanists) named as PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists – David Kelly and Catherine Norton. David and Catherine are the first repetiteurs to join the programme.


PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists

Two of New Zealand’s most promising young repetiteurs (piano accompanists) have been named as PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists by The NBR New Zealand Opera today, marking a significant development for the programme. They are: David Kelly (Christchurch) and Catherine Norton (Wellington/Hawke’s Bay) (bio information follows).

The PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists commence steps towards a career in professional opera when they embark on a year-long internship with The NBR New Zealand Opera that immerses them in the artform. To date, young opera singers have been the participants however the inclusion of repetiteurs builds on the success and reputation of the programme, providing new opportunities for young artists to work together in a professional opera environment.

This year the programme is also being realigned to better cater to participants who intend to pursue post-graduate studies at colleges in the northern hemisphere following their year as Emerging Artists. Auditions for singers to join the programme as 2006-2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers Emerging Artists alongside the repetiteurs will be held in early May.

With support from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, the programme complements academic achievement by exposing the young performers to a learning environment that places emphasis on practical experience within the professional opera world. For singers, this includes tuition with Dame Malvina Major and other industry professionals, as well as opportunities to perform and/or understudy minor and principal roles in The NBR New Zealand Opera productions during the year. The repetiteurs will work closely alongside The NBR New Zealand Opera’s experienced music staff, including Director of Music, Wyn Davies, with opportunities to accompany principal production rehearsals as well as working with seasoned and emerging opera singers. A variety of solo and ensemble concert engagements will also be a feature of the year’s programme for all.

Mr Davies sees the inclusion of repetiteurs into the programme as an exciting natural progression and akin to similar overseas opera internship models.

“Opera, like rugby, needs good coaches,” says Mr Davies. “This move will help ensure that for the excellent array of young New Zealand singers, there are also professional New Zealand coaches and repetiteurs to work alongside them in the future. And, importantly, it goes towards helping develop real and sustainable career paths for accompanists. Repetiteurs are often the quiet heroes of the opera scene. Their role cannot be under-estimated, as they are essential and invaluable to a singer’s performance – in the early stages during rehearsals as well as on the concert platform. A repetiteur must have carefully developed technical skills as well as a natural sensitivity – something that can so often make or break a performance. It is important to our industry that we nurture them as well as singers in the interests of the future of opera.”

Dame Malvina Major welcomed the developments, saying it reinforces her ongoing commitment to fostering young, upcoming opera talent in New Zealand.

“Our young performers – whether they are singers or accompanists –deserve to have the chance to emerge and have their potential recognized. It is essential to continue to foster our grass roots cultural talent –just as the sporting and business worlds do,” she says. “It is no different for opera to nurture performers who contribute different but important roles to our game. However, this can only happen with the ongoing support of PricewaterhouseCoopers, my Foundation and the opera company, so that we can continue to shape our future performers through this programme, here in New Zealand.”

This is the fifth year PricewaterhouseCoopers have been committed to supporting the Emerging Artists.

John Harvey, Auckland managing Partner explains: “PricewaterhouseCoopers has a philosophy of recognizing talented people and celebrating individuality,” he said. “We are proud to commit to the Emerging Artists programme and play our part in providing New Zealand with its next generation of opera talent.”

The Emerging Artists will continue to be selected annually by audition. Successful applicants must demonstrate exceptional ability in their field, and the potential to be a professional performer able to pursue a career with further training and experience. Many former Emerging Artists such as Wendy Dawn Thompson, James Harrison and Andrew Conley, have gone on to attain places at prestigious music colleges overseas to complement and further their opera studies, returning to New Zealand to perform with The NBR New Zealand Opera during its seasons.


Bio Information: David Kelly, 22

David Kelly began playing the piano at the age of 10 and two years later was accepted into the Specialist Music Programme at Burnside High School, Christchurch. He achieved placings in the Christchurch Young Performer of the Year Competitions and in the National Secondary Schools’ Chamber Music Competition, and received an Exhibition Award from the Trinity College Examinations Board.

David spent three years studying Performance Piano at Canterbury University under Deidre Irons. He works as an accompanist at the University of Canterbury in the studios of Venon Mdgley and Dame Malvina Major, as well as being involved as pianist for the Christchurch City Choir, Christchurch Symphony and NASDA. He is regularly involved with Dame malvina Major Foundation events, and accompanies singers and instrumentalists nationally.

Recently awarded the Cynthia Magner Scholarship in association with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, David will continue his studying in Christchurch under Dr Maurice Till.

Catherine Norton, 24

Catherine Norton is originally from Hastings and now lives in Wellington. She graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a BMus (Hons) in 2003, with a special interest in piano accompaniment.

Already Catherine has worked with many young singers and instrumentalists in recital and competitions around New Zealand. She is a regular accompanist for the Victoria Academy for talented secondary school musicians and teaches a small studio of beginner pianists in Wellington.

Catherine has been repetiteur for Opera Victoria’s productions of The Magic Flute (2005) and Orpheus in the Underworld (2003); and performance pianist for Walton’s The Bear (2004). She has rehearsed and performed for a number of privately-mounted productions including; Sondheim’s revue Marry Me a Little; The Rake’s Progress (2003); the premiere of Aaron Lloydd’s The Black Mill (2002); and Porirua Little Theatre’s Les Miserables (2005). She has also performed as a soloist with Victoria University Orchestra.

Catherine has achieved several competition successes including Winner of the 2002 Victoria University Concerto competition and a semi-finalist in the Christchurch National Piano Concerto Competition. She is a recipient of the Jerry Wise Scholarship from the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand for tertiary study (1998); the Mills Trust Scholarship (1999); the Mary McHardy Scholarship (2001); and the Rere Beckway Pianoforte Performance Award (2003).

In 2005 Catherine was a member of the repetiteur staff at the Napier National Singing School and performed at the Nelson Composers’ Workshop.


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