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2018 Lexus Song Quest – the journey to the Final begins

2018 Lexus Song Quest – the journey to the Final begins

After a rigorous audition of 40 contestants over three cities, international Preliminary Judges Liane Keegan and John Bolton Wood have confirmed the 10 2018 Lexus Song Quest Semi-Finalists are: (alphabetically)

Joel Amosa (bass-baritone) – from Auckland, currently Regional Admin Manager for ASB Central Auckland branches banking, while working on numerous oratorios and operas.

Eliza Boom (soprano) – from Whangarei, currently studying her Masters in Music at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Chelsea Dolman (soprano) – from Taupō, currently living in Hamilton and a Freemasons NZ Opera Artist with New Zealand Opera.

Jonathan Eyers (baritone) – Grew up on a Waikato dairy farm and studied Bachelor of Music (Hons) at University of Waikato. Currently living in Berlin, Germany.

Joe Haddow (baritone) – from Porirua, currently studying a double Science Major in E Bio and C Bio at Victoria University, while working on The Elixir of Love with New Zealand Opera.

Manase Latu (tenor) – from Tonga and Auckland, currently a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera working on The Elixir of Love.

Filipe Manu (tenor) – from Auckland, currently studying a Masters of Music at the Opera Studies programme at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Emily Mwila (soprano) – from Wellington, currently studying a Master of Music in Voice at Mannes School of Music in New York.

Madison Nonoa (soprano) – from Hamilton and currently in London studying a Masters of Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Natasha Wilson (soprano) – from Auckland, about to begin a graduate programme at San Francisco University and currently a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera working on The Elixir of Love.

The judges were impressed with the high standard of applicants this year. “The vocal qualities and skills they all presented, were exceptionally high especially when compared with Australian singers,” says Liane Keegan. “To have singer after singer in this competition, impress with what they can do and how they can do it, is extremely rare in a competition of this size. I think the standard of teaching singing in New Zealand at present is a very high one and long may it last!”

Follow the journey of these elite young opera talents as they compete for New Zealand’s most prestigious singing accolade and a share of $90,000 in prizes. The winner will be announced live at the Lexus Song Quest Grand Final on 28 July at the Auckland Town Hall, with tickets on sale starting today. Page 2 of 2

“Getting to compete as a Semi-Finalist in the Lexus Song Quest is an honour,” says Eliza Boom. “It’s a culmination of years of hard work.”

“Lexus Song Quest introduced me to the world of opera when I first went to the final as a music student and since then, it has always been a goal of mine,” adds two-time Semi-Finalist Filipe Manu. “It’s an unreal experience and honour to perform and really special to be on the stage having once been an audience member.”

The 10 semi-finalists will meet in Wellington mid-July to work with the Head Judge, esteemed soprano and Australian Opera School founder Lisa Gasteen, for an intensive week of coaching including singing technique, stage craft and study proposals.

Semi-Finalists then perform at two live invitation-only Semi-Final concerts on 21 & 22 July in Wellington, where Ms Gasteen will select the five Finalists who will go on to perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the Lexus Song Quest Grand Final Gala, on 28 July at the Auckland Town Hall.

Selected Lexus Song Quest entrants will also have the opportunity to participate in the public Lexus Song Quest Masterclass series presented by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and conducted by Head Judge Lisa Gasteen. These open classes will be held at St Andrew’s on the Terrace in Wellington on 24 July and at New Zealand Opera (The Freemasons Foundation Opera Studio) in Auckland on 29 July. Singing teachers, their students and the general public are invited to attend and observe free of charge.

“I am so happy to have this opportunity to learn more,” says Emily Mwila. “It’s a privilege and thrill, it gives me confidence I’m on the right path.”

Find out more about the Semi-Finalists and follow their journey at

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