The final of the IFAC Handa NZ Singing School Aria was held at the TG Century Theatre, Napier, on Sunday.

It was the climax to the singing classes of the Napier Performing Arts Competitions Society 109th Annual Easter Festival.

Sixteen competitors from throughout New Zealand competed in the preliminary round the previous evening, where the standard of performance from all competitors was uniformly high.

There were surely several who must have been disappointed not to be selected to sing a second time.


Each of the finalists - sopranos Katherine McIndoe, Laura Loach and Olivia Sheat, tenor Kalauni Pouvalu, baritone Jarvis Dams and bass James Henare - repeated the aria sung in the preliminary round, together with a second selection.

The skilled presentation by each singer and the quality of the interpretation of each aria, were warmly commended by adjudicator Conal Coad.

"The standard of performance tonight was again extremely high," he said.

"There were differences in the level of excitement generated in each performance and the superb acoustic properties of the Century Theatre meant that every word could be heard clearly."

He described the performance by baritone Jarvis Dams of L'orage s'est calme from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet and Mein Schnem, Mein Wahnen from Die tote Stadt by Korngold, as "incredibly stylish, enabling the whole audience to sit back and enjoy the singing," winning for the singer the first prize of $4000.

Soprano Katherine McIndoe, for her exhilarating performance of The Jewel Song from Faust and deeply expressive singing of No word from Tom from The Rake's Progress, won her the second prize of $2000.

The third prize of $1000 was awarded to tenor Kalauni Pouvalu for his singing of Lenski's Aria from Eugene Onegin and Ecco Ridente from The Barber of Seville.

Finalist prizes of $200 each, sponsored by Clean Earth Ltd, were awarded to Laura Loach, Olivia Sheat and James Henare.

All the performances benefited enormously from the superb support of the accompaniment by pianists Catherine Norton and Greg Neil, and the whole evening was enhanced by the genial compering of well-known Hawke's Bay bass-baritone, Joseph Christensen, with his informative introduction for each singer.

The inevitable gap between the end of the performances and the announcement of the results, was filled admirably by dancers from Born to Move whose slick routines provided excellent entertainment.