A new youth initiative led by internationally acclaimed opera singer Anna Pierard aims to promote self esteem and the arts.
Mrs Pierard has established a private company called Festival Opera in Hawke's Bay, designed to make the genre more accessible, not only to audiences, but young people looking to enter the industry.
"I want to give others the opportunities I had when I was young, we never had a lot of money but I had an aunt who was an opera singer in London, so I never considered that it wasn't an option," she said.
"With the youth project, Prima Volta, we want to ignite a spark, to stimulate and generate respect for the art form which has been around for generations."
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Auditions were held to find a cross section of students from throughout Hawke's Bay, who have come together to rehearse a specially commissioned 15 minute version of The Marriage of Figaro.
That short opera will be rolled out in schools during term one next year, while a full-length version featuring a star-studded adult cast will be held during Art Deco Weekend in February.
Both casts were set to rehearse simultaneously, so that more experienced performers would act as mentors for up-and-coming stars.
"[Prima Volta] will have the dual purpose of being a promotional tool for our staged event and will raise the profile of opera amongst youth, helping kids realise that opera is, in essence, sung drama."
Mrs Pierard hoped to change widespread opinions about opera and its appeal.
"By demystifying the process, showing the journey and explaining the relevance to each individual and society at large, we hope to chip away at entrenched perceptions and challenge the idea that opera isn't for everyone," Mrs Pierard said.