SIX top New Zealand singing students have the rare opportunity to learn from one of New Zealand's best internationally known opera stars, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, next Wednesday.

They are: Delia Hunt, studying at Canterbury University, Christina Vehikite, Waikato, Clinton Fung, Otago, Madison Nonoa, Auckland, Christie Cook, Auckland Opera Studio, and Daniela Cepeda, who appeared as Christine in the Napier Operatic Society's Phantom of the Opera production last year and is studying at Victoria University. Cook is scheduled to appear in the Napier Civic Choir's Requiem choral concert in Napier next month, while Nonoa won this Easter's Napier Performing Arts Competitions Society aria final and recital class.

The one-off masterclass at the MTG Century Theatre on June 4 follows Dame Kiri's recital at the Napier Municipal Theatre the previous night, the only one in the lower North Island on her 70th birthday tour of the country, and Australia.

The recital and masterclass is due to the efforts of a group of local singing stalwarts who have voluntarily kept the biennial Napier-based New Zealand Singing School (NZSS) running over the past 30 years.


Their dedication has been recognised by Dame Kiri, who invited the group to be the promoter of her Hawke's Bay recital, and the masterclass that is open to the public.

Dame Kiri is one of the patrons of the NZSS and her foundation is a key sponsor of the Festival of Song performance series that runs alongside the school.

The three-hour masterclass will give singers and observers a rare opportunity to witness the vocal coaching that singers receive and the extraordinary complex process of producing sound with the voice, says Jill Tobin, NZSS chairwoman.

Bookings for the recital have come from around the country with contingents coming from Wellington, Palmerston North and further afield.

-Dame Kiri Te Kanawa masterclass, 10am-1pm Wednesday June 4, MTG Century Theatre. Tickets $35, $25 for students, from Ticketek

-Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, accompanied by Terence Dennis, 7.30pm Tuesday June 3, Napier Municipal Theatre. Tickets $80-$145 from Ticketek