Upcoming opera stars vie for top

By Dionne Christian

Young Opera hopeful Madison Nonoa.
Young Opera hopeful Madison Nonoa.

The 10 semi-finalists in this year's Lexus Song Quest have been chosen.

Young opera hopefuls Madison Nonoa, Imogen Thirlwall, Harry Grigg, Filipe Manu, Tavis Gravatt, Jarvis Dams, Benson Wilson, Emily Mwila, Bradley Christensen and Sophie Sparrow are now in the running for a share of $85,000 worth of prizes.

From Dames Kiri Te Kanawa and Malvina Major to Sole3 Mio's Amitai Pati, the Lexus Song Quest competition has launched the international singing careers of some of our top opera singers. With such a generous prize pool, it can be a life-changing opportunity.

Of the $85,000, the winner receives $50,000 (part-cash, part-study scholarship); the runner-up an $8000 cash prize and $10,000 scholarship, while third and fourth place-getters each receive $1000.

This year, the competition's 60th, a $15,000 scholarship will be awarded by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation to the singer who shows the most promise.

Preliminary rounds were held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin in front of judges Graham Pushee and Patricia Price, who had to choose 10 semifinalists from 47 contenders. Entrants performed a three-piece programme, from operatic arias to oratorios.

The lucky 10 now meet in Wellington in July to work with head international judge Yvonne Kenny during an intensive masterclass week.

The top four finalists are then chosen and travel to Auckland to compete for the winner's crown a week later at the Grand Final Gala at the Town Hall on July 23.

Price described the young singers' performances as of the highest quality, vocally and artistically. "It was a very satisfying experience indeed."

• Tickets to the Grand Final Lexus Song Quest Gala on July 23 at the Auckland Town Hall from songquest.co.nz or at ticketmaster.co.nz.

- Weekend magazine

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