Dame Kiri to put young singers through paces

By Amy Shanks

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Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will take a one-off masterclass tomorrow morning after tonight's recital at Napier Municipal Theatre. Photo/Duncan Brown
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa will take a one-off masterclass tomorrow morning after tonight's recital at Napier Municipal Theatre. Photo/Duncan Brown

Students taking part in a one-off masterclass will learn about pitch, tone, breathing and pronunciation from world renowned opera singer Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.

Promising talent was sought from universities throughout New Zealand for a three-hour class, which is open to the public for observation at MTG Theatre from 10am tomorrow.

It will be a rare opportunity to witness the vocal coaching received by singers and the extraordinarily complex process of producing sound with the voice.

"It's amazing to see how they control sound and manipulate sound, it's for anyone who is interested in singing, but also people who like to listen to opera," NZ Singing School administrator Heidi McLeod said. "This is something she is doing only for us."

The elite group of students are: Christina Vehikite from 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 The Phantom of the Opera production last year and is studying at Victoria University.

Ms Cook was scheduled to appear in the Napier Civic Choir's Requiem choral concert in Napier next month, while Ms Nonoa won this Easter's Napier Performing Arts Competitions Society aria final and recital class.

Each student will present a piece of music, and Dame Kiri will select a specific area to tweak or focus on.

"They will stand up, sing their song and she will say there's a breathing problem or a language issue, she will choose something to work on for about 30 minutes," Ms McLeod said

Teaching was something particularly close to the opera star's heart - the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation has helped thousands of young singers to succeed internationally, and was key sponsor of a Festival of Song performance series, which accompanied the New Zealand Singing School and runs every second year at EIT.

Dame Kiri will also be performing the final recital on her 70th birthday tour of the country, and Australia, at Napier Municipal Theatre tonight.

It's the only chance for lower North Island residents to see her live in concert, with bookings coming from Wellington, Palmerston North and further afield.

Hawke's Bay Opera House's recent closure meant a move to Napier Municipal Theatre for the evening recital.

Tickets for the recital and masterclass are available through Ticketek.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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