Venue change for popular show

By Lin Ferguson

A change of venue has been forced due to the popularity of the New Zealand Opera School lunchtime recital.

The 10-day school opens on January 3, at Wanganui Collegiate School with 24 students from throughout New Zealand.

The celebrated lunchtime concerts have been held at the Serjeant Gallery but will now be held at Heritage House in St Hill St.

Featuring the Malvina Major Emerging Artists, the show is due to take place on Friday, January 4.

The venue change comes after last year when Serjeant Gallery staff became concerned with a crowd of more than 180 people moving about the gallery carrying food and hot drinks.

Wanganui Opera Week spokeswoman Renate Schneider said it was decided that it was much safer all round to change the venue.

"Especially as the number of people attending the luncheon is growing."

This year the three emerging artists are Bianca Andrew, a mezzo soprano from Wellington, baritone Kieran Rainer from Wellington, and Edward Laurenson, a baritone from Auckland.

The popular cafe evenings will be held on Wednesday, January 9, at the Quality Inn, Collegiate, the Red Lion Inn, and The Grand Hotel.

Last year the venues were packed to capacity.

Mrs Schneider said it was incredible the number of bookings that had come in already for the glorious final night concert at the Opera House and for the public master classes with world renowned British voice coach Paul Farrington.

"We are delighted. It shows that people are already looking forward to the 10 days of the opera school in Wanganui."

On January 2, Professor Farrington will speak at a movie screening in the Wanganui Embassy Theatre. Farrington worked on the movie Quartet, which stars Dame Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay and Billy Connolly.

It tells the story of lifelong friends Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay), who together with former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins), are residents of Beecham House for retired opera singers. Every year, on Giuseppe Verdi's birthday, the residents band together to give a concert to raise funds for their home. Professor Farrington described it as a marvellous film about old age and growing old.

The evening is a fundraiser for Wanganui Opera Week.

The chapel service on January 6 will be a memorial service for former opera school chairman Captain Bryan Wyness who was killed in a motorcycle crash this year.

The grand concert is scheduled for January 12. It will be directed by Sara Brodie and again sponsored by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.

This year two students from the 2012 New Zealand Opera School came first and second in the Lexus Song Quest.

Tenor Amitai Pati won and said the school had given him a fantastic training in performance and communication.

"It really paid off for me and I will always be grateful."

Again the opera school tutors were looking forward to the 12 intensive days guiding New Zealand's finest, young classical voices.

Former director Donald Trott, who has taken over as chairman, said the school was a training ground for young aspiring opera singers.

"It costs a lot of money to run the school and I want all of them to get the absolute most out of the fortnight ... that is what the school is for."


- Wanganui Chronicle

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