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Young Opera Singers Get Chance At The Limelight

Young Opera Singers Get Their Chance At The Limelight - The 2005 Pricewaterhousecoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists

Four young opera singers get their chance at being in the limelight next year as the 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists. They were named last night by The NBR New Zealand Opera as: Paloma Bruce (Wellington), Rebecca Crabtree (Auckland), Malcolm Ede (Wellington) and Sarah Wood (Thames).

The 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists. (Seated from left) Rebecca Crabtree, Dame Malvina Major, Sarah Wood, Paloma Bruce. (Back, left): Malcolm Ede, John Harvey (Auckland Managing Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers).

In January, they take steps towards a career in opera when they embark on a year-long internship that immerses them in the intricacy of their craft with the national opera company.

With vital support from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, the programme complements academic achievement by exposing the singers to a learning environment that places emphasis on practical experience within the professional opera world. This includes vocal tuition with Dame Malvina Major and coaching sessions with other industry professionals, as well as the opportunity to cover or perform minor roles and to understudy principal roles in The NBR New Zealand Opera productions for that year. A variety of solo and ensemble concert engagements are also a feature of the year's work.

The 2005 schedule features a wide range of performance engagements including The NBR New Zealand Opera's mainstage productions, Don Giovanni (June-July) and La Traviata (September-October), and the February concert performance of The Death of Klinghoffer at the Auckland Festival. Their first concert appearance together will be at Auckland City Music in Parks on Waitangi Day. They have also been confirmed for SKYCITY Starlight Symphony in Auckland's Domain on 19 February and at the Wanaka Festival in May.

"These young operatic heroes and heroines are just waiting to be given the chance to emerge and have their potential recognised," says Dame Malvina Major. "Fostering our grass roots cultural talent - just as the sporting and business worlds do - is essential to ensuring it is here for tomorrow and is part of our long-term vision for the future of opera in New Zealand. With the ongoing support of PricewaterhouseCoopers we can confidently continue to shape our future performers through this programme."

In 2002 PricewaterhouseCoopers committed its support to the Emerging Artists and have recently renewed their sponsorship of the programme for a three-year period from 2005-2007.

John Harvey, Auckland Managing Partner explains: "PricewaterhouseCoopers has a philosophy of recognising talented people and celebrating individuality," he said. "We are proud to commit to the Emerging Artists' programme for a further three years and in doing so continue to assist in providing New Zealand with its next generation of opera stars."

"This programme is the only one of its kind in New Zealand offering professional training in opera performance. The artists whose careers have already benefited from the programme are testament to its positive effects on supporting our young singing talent."

The Emerging Artists are selected annually by audition. Successful applicants must demonstrate exceptional vocal ability and the potential to be a professional performer, able to pursue an opera career with further training and experience. Almost all of the 30 singers who have participated in the programme to date have gone on to pursue national and international careers in music and opera, or are furthering their studies overseas. Well-known Emerging Artists include Katherine Wiles, Andrea Munro, Wendy Dawn Thompson, Andrew Conley, James Harrison and Joanna Heslop.

Dame Malvina Major says: "Already we are reaping the rewards of the programme. Previous Emerging Artists who after their year with us have secured places for further post-graduate opera study at world-class overseas academies - such as the Royal College of Music in London - go there with valuable practical experience of working within a professional opera company. This sets them apart from the majority of their fellow students at the outset, and as well as standing them in good stead, it gives them an "edge" for the realities of life as a professional opera performer.

"It is really gratifying to see that some of these young singers are now at the point where they are able to proudly return to New Zealand to take the opera stage, as well as forging ahead with their careers further afield."



Rebecca Crabtree returns to Auckland after several years living and studying singing in Melbourne.

Rebecca is a graduate of the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts (Italian and Art History) and a Bachelor of Music (Performance Voice) where she studied under Beatrice Webster, Isabel Cunningham and Barry Mora. She currently studies privately with Lynne Casey Brereton, former Professor at the Melba Conservatory, Melbourne and this year completed an Australian Music Examinations Board AMusA Diploma.

Rebecca has performed in amateur, semi-professional and professional musical and opera productions, including; in Australia - The Tender Land for OperaLive; Madame Butterfly, La Traviata, The Pearl Fishers for The Melbourne Opera Company; Tosca for Opera Australia, and most recently the role of Pitti-Sing in The Mikado for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Victoria. In New Zealand, for Opera New Zealand (Auckland) she performed as a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus in Turandot, Il Trovatore, Macbeth and La Boheme.

Concert engagements include: soloist for the Bushfire Restoration Fund Concert with the Melbourne Singers; several appearances for the Robert Stolz Society, Melbourne; Auckland Youth Symphony Orchestra Mozart Summer Concert Series; and Friends of the Opera Twilight Concert.

In 2002 Rebecca won the Boroondara Eisteddfod at the Robert Salzer Vocal Championhip; was a finalist in the Lieder Society of Victoria Liederfest and was awarded the David Allen Memorial Award; was a finalist in the Music Society of Victoria Armstead Singing Award. In 2003 she was winner of the Elsie Morison Special Prize in Victoria's Royal South Street Society Competitions.

Earlier this year, Rebecca spent a month in Holland where she attended the Belcanto Festival of Dordrecht and was awarded a scholarship to attend Belcanto Summer Singing School studying under Adelisa Tabiadon, Michael Aspinall, Nicolai Cook and Dr Luca Gorla.

She is also a semi-finalist for New Zealand's most prestigious singing competition - the 2005 Lexus Song Quest (previously the Mobil Song Quest).

PALOMA BRUCE, 22 Soprano

Paloma Bruce from Wellington graduated recently with a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in Performance Voice from Victoria University where she studied under Emily Mair. She is a previous semi-finalist of the Mobil Song Quest in 2002, and in 2004 is a semi-finalist for the 2005 Lexus Song Quest.

Paloma has studied under notable tutors including Patrick Power, Geoffrey Coker and Susan Roper. She has participated in Master-classes with Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, Michael Lloyd, Louise Toppin, Sir Phillip Ledger and Martin Andre; and attended the 2001 New Zealand National Singing School in Hawke's Bay with Anthea Moller, Judy Bellingham and Bruce Greenfield.

Paloma has enjoyed competition successes and is the recipient of several awards. At the 2004 Wellington Regional Vocal Competitions she won the Modern British Art Song, Southward Recital Class (McMaster Cup), the Orpheus Choir Trophy and the Robin Dumbell Memorial Cup - which she was also awarded in 2003 as the Finalist with Most Potential. She won the 2003 Napier Computer Systems Aria and received the Les and Sonia Andrews' Cultural Foundation Scholarship. She was a finalist in the 2002 Evening Post Aria, winner of the Victoria University Duo Competition, a recipient of the Vocal Scholarship and the John Creagh Oratorio Memorial Trophy at the 2001 Hutt Valley Performing Arts Competitions.

Paloma has been a member of the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus in 2004 performing in The NBR New Zealand Opera productions of Carmen and The Elixir of Love. For Victoria Opera she performed as Euridice (Orpheus in the Underworld), Iris (Semele) and in Carmen, and with the Wellington Gilbert & Sullivan Society the role of Elsie Maynard in The Yeoman of the Guard.

As a solo and ensemble singer Paloma has performed at a diverse range of events and concerts including; The Messiah with the Orpheus Choir of Wellington, Old St Pauls and St Andrews on the Terrace Lunchtime Series Recitals, Kapiti Concerts by the Sea Series; Wellington Garibaldi Club and Italian Festival; Wellington Fringe Festival; St Cecilia Mass with the Festival Singers of Wellington; Embassy of the United States of America Independence Day celebrations; National Anthem at the NZ Junior Diving Championships; Upper Hutt Choral Society and Victoria Voices.

In 2005, Paloma will be based in Auckland.

MALCOLM EDE, 25 Bass-Baritone

Malcolm Ede has recently graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium with Music Masters following completion of his under-graduate degrees there. He has studied under Margaret Schindler and, most recently Gregory Massingham.

Malcolm made his operatic debut as Collatinus in the Operez Productions' The Rape of Lucretia. He has sung with Opera Queensland appearing in The Mikado and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Other roles include Somnus (Semele), Sarastro (The Magic Flute), The Astrologer (The Burning Fiery Furnace), The Evangelist in the Australian premiere of Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress and the Male Interrogator in the Australian opera premiere of Andrew Schultz' Going into Shadows. He has also performed the role of Cold Genius in King Arthur for Brisbane Early Music Society. He made his professional music theatre debut during the Brisbane season of Always, Patsy Cline for the Majestic Theatre Company.

Malcolm has experience on the concert platform having performed as a soloist in Bach's St John Passion and Magnificat, the Mozart and Faure Requiems and Beethoven's Mass in C. He has been the recipient of awards and scholarships including the Noosa Federation of the Arts Dame Joan Sutherland Award, the Ethel Osborne Scholarhip, the Blanche Campbell Scholarship, the Alton Budd Memorial Scholarship and was Champion of Champions at the All of Queensland State Eisteddfod.

Malcolm has been awarded scholarships to study at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne and has participated in Master-classes with such distinguished artists as Joseph Ward, Sarah Walker, Jeffrey Black and Graham Pushee.

Malcolm has an extensive interest in modern repertoire and recently completed his thesis on Charles Ives and American experimentalist music.

In 2005 Malcolm will be based in Wellington.

SARAH WOOD, 24 Soprano

Sarah Wood was born in Patea and grew up in Dannevirke and Thames. In 2000 she graduated from the Eastern Institute of Technology in Hastings with a Diploma in Performing Arts (Voice), where she studied under Patrick Power. In 2003 she completed a Bachelor of Music at Massey University, Wellington studying under Flora Edwards, and during 2004 has continued with Honours studies.

Sarah's passion for singing and opera was fuelled by the EIT course but she has been involved in theatre, pantomimes and musicals since childhood. She has developed a diverse repertoire across the classical, musical theatre and operatic range.

In 2002 Sarah was awarded the Moira Todd Scholarship from the New Zealand Opera Society. She is the recipient of Massey University Scholarships in 2002 and 2003 for attaining the highest marks in her year-end recital, and in 2003 was awarded the Massey University Cultural Award for her contribution to classical singing.

Sarah's performance experience includes Rosario (Goyescas); Leonora (The Long Christmas Dinner); The Lady (Hin un Zuruck); Guistino (Guistino); Jenny Parsons (Down in the Valley) for Massey University; The Little Shop of Horrors, Polly Peachem The Beggar's Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar for EIT; A Pony and A Beleagurered City for Jeremy Commons' Salon Opera Series; and for Napier Operatic Society's Westend to Broadway.

Concert engagements include; alongside other young upcoming singers at the Craggy Range Vineyard Concert with Dame Kiri te Kanawa and for the New Zealand Opera Society with Dame Malvina Major.

In 2005, Sarah will be based between Thames and Auckland.

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