Opera North's successful Opera in the Garden promises another spectacular event this summer, with confirmation of not one but three guest artists.

Lexus Song Quest winner Joel Amosa and his wife Maia have agreed to perform, and at their invitation, globally recognised Whangārei baritone Kawiti Waetford is coming home to join them and the Opera North chorus on stage.

Bass-baritone Amosa first performed at age 3, when he sang a traditional Samoan hymn taught to him by his grandparents in church.

He went on to learn the piano and develop his singing talent in the church choir.
In July this year, Amosa took out the prestigious Song Quest in his first attempt at a major competition.

For his wife Maia Mila Amosa, Opera in the Garden means a return to her Northland roots.
Mila Amosa is also well known to opera lovers.

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Under her maiden name, Maia Vegar, she won the Otago Daily Times Aria Competition, the Christchurch vocal competitions scholarship class, and the Dame Malvina Major Aria Competition.

Maia and Joel Amosa married in November 2017, and performed together at the Because of Joan concert in honour of Opera North founder, the late Joan Kennaway QSM.

Waetford needs no introduction. He has twice performed as guest artist at Opera in the Garden, in 2013 and 2017. Many will remember his powerful and touching duet with his tutor, Joan Kennaway.

Kawiti Waetford at Opera in the Garden 2017.
Kawiti Waetford at Opera in the Garden 2017.

Waetford is now an internationally acclaimed performer with a string of credits. He continues to work under the mentoring of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and will return from Europe to be part of the show.

Opera in the Garden 2019 will again be held in the Kennaways Operacado Orchard at Glenbervie on Saturday, March 9. The theme of the programme is "Our Amazing World of Music".

As usual, the first half of the show will feature well-known operatic and classical pieces. The second half will consist of lighter material, much of it drawn from musical theatre and including a medley from Disney favourite, The Lion King.

The Opera North team planning the production will also dip a toe into new waters, introducing some international folk songs from Finland and Samoa, in a nod to the family heritage of Joel and Maia Amosa.