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Sealord Aria competition

Young musical talent flies into Nelson on August 9 for the annual Sealord Aria competition.

Now in its fifth year, the competition always draws a strong array of entries, mainly from university music students. Organiser Jan Berthelsen-Smith says Sealord Aria is seen as a significant stepping-stone in this very competitive field, and this year the $3000 first prize has seven contenders.

We have some very interesting entries including a New Zealand Soprano, Clarissa Dunn, who has studied in Italy with maestro Wyn Davies and has performed in London and Berlin, Jan said. We also have Nelsonian Jody MacDonald, who is back for her third year, and one of Dame Malvina Major's students, soprano Elizabeth Daly.

Jan says Sealord Aria always draws an appreciative crowd: We can expect to hear some of our favourite arias sung by up and coming opera stars - Clarissa has elected to sing the famous Aria from La Boheme ŒSi, mi chiamano Mimi', which will sound wonderful in the School of Music auditorium.

This year's adjudicator, Gina Sanders, won this competition in 1990 when it was the Nelson Mail Aria. She is a soprano with extensive international and national experience as a professional soloist in opera, oratorio, choral music and at functions.

The Sealord Aria Competition is at the Nelson School of Music at 8pm on Saturday August 9. Tickets are $20 and $10 at the school.


Results will be sent to media on Sunday. Details follow on the talent.

Tenor, Brent Read, originally from Dunedin, is a graduate of the University of Otago and Dunedin College of Education. He first studied singing with Mr. Arnold Bachop. Brent was tenor soloist in The Dunedin City Choir performance of Elijah, and he is a winner of the Cleveland scholarship. In 2002 he won the Green Island Aria Contest before moving to Japan where he joined a Japanese Choir which sang in many concerts and competitions, culminating in the 2005 Japan National Chorus Competition.Brent now teaches at Puinui Primary School and since 2006 he has been studying with Mr. Kenneth Cornish.In 2007 he performed at the Matakana Charity Concert alongside Dame Malvina Major and also, had many successes in regional vocal competitions including North Shore, South Auckland, Hamilton, Nelson and Dunedin. He was a finalist in the Otago Daily Times Aria competition. In April this year Brent was the tenor soloist in Auckland Chorals' performance of The Beethoven Mass in C at Peter Watt's farewell concert and last month, he as placed 3rd in the Becroft Grand Opera Competition. Brent recently enjoyed performing with the Auckland Symphony Orchestra at their Last Night of the Proms concert series as well as giving his first performance of Schumann's Dichteleibe at the Auckland Public Library. His first selection in his Aria programme is The Aria sung by Lenski in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. And his second choice is We committed his body to the deep By Benjamin Britten from Billy Budd.

Wang Xingxing originates from Chongqing, China. She came to New Zealand in 2003 as a student at Sacred Heart College. In 2004 she was accepted by Victoria University of Wellington to study accounting and law. She completed her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the New Zealand School of Music under Jenny Wollerman in 2007. Xingxing performed the role of Yinger in the world première of the opera Fatal Desire by Shen Nalin, conducted by Gao Ping in the 2007 Asia Pacific Festival held in Wellington. She was the Rockfire Cup winner in the Wellington Aria Competition in 2007. This year she won the recital class of Napier Performing Arts Competitions, and was awarded second place in the Napier Computer Systems Aria. She was named the most outstanding competitor of The Senior Vocal Competition. Xingxing has been invited to sing the New Zealand National Anthem in Parliament in both 2007 and 2008. She has appeared in many concerts as a soprano and has been a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus for NBR New Zealand Opera since 2007. Xingxing runs a private music studio in which she teaches singing, piano and Guzheng (a Chinese traditional string instrument). For her first aria she has selected to sing La Maja y el Ruisenor by Granados from the Opera Goyescas. Her second choice is Signore ascolta! from Puccini's opera Turandot.

Elisabeth Daley has just completed a Bachelor of Music, majoring in Performance Voice from the University of Canterbury. She was the winner of the Tauranga singing competition and was a chorus member in the Southern Opera's performance of Carmen in 2007. Earlier this year she performed her first major role at the Platform Arts Festival in Menotti's opera The Medium. Elisabeth will rejoin the company again later this year for Verdi's Il Travatore. She is passionately pursuing an international opera career and is seeking to study overseas in the near future. Elisabeth will sing D'amor sull'ali from Il Travatore by Verdi. And her second choice is Io son l'umile ancella from Adriana Lecouvreur by Francesco Cilèa.

While studying for a BA/LLB Clarissa Dunn worked with Opera New Zealand and The Opera Factory. She continued her studies at the Queensland conservatorium of Music in Australia where she acquired a Post Graduate Diploma in Voice. There she was awarded the Elizabeth Muir Memorial Postgraduate Scholarship and a friend of the Conservatorium Scholarship. After graduating she was offered a place in the Developing Artist Programme at Opera Queensland. In 2004 Miss Dunn was awarded a Westpac St James Theatre and Opera House Grant' enabling her to attend a summer school in Italy with Maestro Wynn Davies. Clarissa has performed the roles of Zerlina in Don Giovanni and Barbarina from Le Nozze di Figaro in Berlin. Concert performance include Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in London and Prague, as well as Vivaldi's Gloria and Mahler's 2nd Symphony with St Batholomew's Festival Orchestra and a recent performance as part of the Monbijoufestspiele in association with the Bode Museum, Berlin. The first aria Clarissa will sing is Si, mi chiamano Mimi by Puccini from La Bohême. Her second choice is Je veux vivre by Gounod from Romeo et Juliette.

Anna Argyle, soprano, is a 2008-2009 Price Waterhouse Coopers NBR NZ Opera Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist and is currently studying for a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in Performance at the University of Canterbury. She has trained with Dame Malvina Major since 2003, attended master classes with Paul Farrington, Vinson Cole, Gary Relyea and Elizabeth Connell, and in 2007 and 2008 was a member of the New Zealand Opera School. In 2007 she was awarded the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Scholarship for study at the University of Canterbury. Recent performance experience includes soloist with the Christchurch Symphony's Last Night of the Proms, chorus member for Southern Opera's production of Carmen, and soloist in the New Zealand premiere of Hannah's Song by Katherine Dienes with the Washington Women's Chorus and the Cecilian Singers. Anna recently won the LB Miller Trust Aria at the Christchurch Competitions.

Jody Macdonald is a 21 year old mezzo soprano from Nelson. She has been singing since she was 12 years old, starting in the Nelson Cathedral Choir. Her current teacher is Pam Sims. In the future she may further her singing career. Jody will sing Non so piu cosa son, cosa faccio from Le Nozze Di Figaro by Mozart, and as her second aria, Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku (Mesiku na nebi hlubokem) ­ Song of the Moon from Act I of the Czech opera, Rusalka by Antonin Dvorak.

Georgia Jamieson-Emms holds a bachelor of Music with honours from Victoria University where she studied under Emily Mair. She was a Tower NZ Youth Choir member for five years and participated in two international tours. In 2007 Georgia won the Christchurch Aria and was runner up in the Otago Daily Times Aria. She also won the Napier Aria in this year. Georgia is a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus and sang in the productions of Faust (Lucia de Lammermoor and La Bohême. In September she will attend a two week language school in Tuscany and in October will sing the role of Fiordiligi in Opera Otago's production of Cosi fan tutti.


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