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Christian Thurston wins Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria

Christian Thurston, winner of The Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria, Wellington, with runner up Elisabeth Harris

Media release

8 September 2014

Young baritone Christian Thurston wins The Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria in Wellington

Talented baritone Christian Thurston has won the prestigious Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria as part of the Wellington Regional Vocal Competitions.

The 23-year-old Freemasons Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist and third-place getter in the recent Lexus Song Quest took out the $4,000 first prize, with second place and a prize of $1,000 awarded to soprano Elisabeth Harris.

Twenty-three vocalists from across New Zealand performed in the preliminaries at St Andrew’s on the Terrace on Saturday evening with six going through to the Aria finals on Sunday night.

Distinguished flautist and Artistic Director of Napier Civic Choir José Aparicio adjudicated the competition and says he was extremely impressed with the standard of the young singers. He urged them to take every opportunity to enter competitions, which though stressful, may turn up unexpected engagements from those who hear them sing.

The Wellington Regional Vocal Competitions Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria is the second of three 2014 regional Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria Competitions which lead into the NZ Aria Competition held in Rotorua in early November.

Dame Malvina Major says that she was encouraged to see so many entries from young New Zealand vocalists with huge potential.

“For these talented young performers, the opportunity to perform and participate in a competition of this calibre is invaluable as they prepare for a professional career. For The Dame Malvina Major Foundation, it is very rewarding to invest in the next generation of aspiring young opera singers. Congratulations Christian and Elisabeth on your success.”


The Dame Malvina Major Foundation was established in 1991 to enable Dame Malvina Major’s vision to “share the dream” with talented young performers.

The Foundation helps young New Zealanders in the performing arts achieve their potential by providing education and training opportunities, supporting them to prepare for professional careers. It does this through a range of grants, competitions, prizes and scholarships.

The Foundation is a charitable trust with regional committees in Auckland, Waikato, Taranaki, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, all run by local volunteers.

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