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Students bring Mozart to the stage

Students bring Mozart to the stage

One of New Zealand’s finest singing voices will have a speaking role when the University of Waikato’s Conservatorium of Music stages its annual opera performance in August.

Senior Music Fellow Dame Malvina Major will take on the role of narrator for this year’s opera, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which will be performed on 16-17 August at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

The opera will feature performances by leading voice students, special guest tenor Amitai Pati, and the Conservatorium Orchestra under James Tennant.
Dame Malvina says she had a similar role in 2012’s performance of Carmen.
“I did enjoy it last year. As the narrator, I will just try and tie it all together.”

She says The Magic Flute – which was first performed just months before Mozart’s death in 1791 - is a “really odd” opera, with Mozart “combining entertainment with some probing questions about human life”.

The performance will feature senior students in the main roles and Dame Malvina says that provides good encouragement for younger students.

“It’s good for them to see senior students taking part in a full blown opera. Senior students get to take big roles and the younger ones get the chance to take some smaller roles or be in the chorus,” she says.

She was particularly happy to have guest tenor Amitai Pati returning from overseas for the performance.

“That’s wonderful. His brother Pene is doing so well, getting rave reviews on the Merola programme.”

The Merola programme is a highly regarded opera training programme in San Francisco.

The Magic Flute performance is “our big production of the year,” Dame Malvina says, and the quality is “as good as you can see”.

“We can hold our head up with any university in New Zealand. The Performing Arts Academy is the perfect size, perfect shape, perfect acoustics and Hamilton has some very talented people. We will surprise few people.”

The Magic Flute is on at the Dr John Gallagher Concert Chamber, Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 August at 8pm. Tickets, from Ticketek or the academy, are $25 Adults, $17.50 Seniors, $10 tertiary students, free for secondary and primary school children.

Caption details: Singers, from left, Senior Lecturer in Voice and Head of Vocal Studies David Griffiths, BMus graduate Eruera Harry-Reading and Chelsea Dolman, who is studying towards a Master of Music degree under Dame Malvina Major, practice with the Conservatorium Orchestra.


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