'I'm a young artist who's endeavouring to be as true to her music as possible. '
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Rotorua popera star Elizabeth Marvelly says she's no fake.

"I'm a young artist who's endeavouring to be as true to her music as possible."

The 18-year-old said she was surprised by comments made by New Zealand opera legend Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who said she thought popera stars were fake singers.

Dame Kiri slammed New Zealand popera star Hayley Westenra during an interview where she said popera stars are all fake singers.

"People call them up-and-coming, but they never last. They are the new fakes for the new generation coming through, but they can only perform with a micophone and they've basically never had any form of formal training. I've had a 40-year career, but these people, two or three years and they're gone," Dame Kiri said. Marvelly told the Daily Post she did not consider herself a fake singer and although not offended by Dame Kiri's comments she didn't agree with them and was surprised by them. "I just wouldn't have expected her to comment against a young New Zealander. She is usually so supportive of young New Zealanders ... We were all just looking at it and saying 'oh my goodness'," Marvelly said.

She also noted the financial support Dame Kiri gave up-and-coming musicians through her Kiri Te Kawana Foundation.

Asked if she thought Dame Kiri's comments were snobby Ms Marvelly said she didn't. "I think that she is speaking in relation to an art that she is dedicated to. She is well within her rights to have her opinion. A lot of opera singers don't like popera."

However, Miss Marvelly said popera was a fantastic music genre which was drawing people who wouldn't normally listen to opera. "It allows me to straddle two genres - opera and pop ... I'm very wary that at 18 I don't want to push my voice over a full orchestra without a microphone."

Miss Marvelly hoped that despite Dame Kiri's comments' she and others in the popera genre like Westenra and Yulia Townsend had big careers ahead of them.