This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on January 20, 2019
The final night of the 25th year of the New Zealand Opera School culminated in a dedicated concert for voice at the Royal Wanganui Opera House.
Director Kararaina Walker staged Saturday's Great Opera Moments with a wedding theme set on an uncluttered stage aimed purely to showcase the voices of this year's students and the virtuosity of the accompanists.
The audience loved it as each young voice soared with any ensemble work being a quiet backdrop.
There were voices that thrilled like soprano Pasqaule Orchard who sang Kommt Ein Schankler Bursch Gegangen by Weber.
Orchard's performance sparkled, her voice strong and sure — she is a young singer to watch in the future.
Tongan tenor Manase Latu singing Elle Ne Croyait Pas was lyrical and warm, and also in wonderful form was soprano Alexandra Gandionco with Tornami A Vagheggiar by Handel.
Gandionco's voice is a glorious instrument, and she is music personified in song with a personality to match.
Baritone Samson Setu in his strong, rich voice sang Aprite Un Po'queglie Occhi from The Marriage of Figaro by Mozart.
Already you can see that this young Samoan singer is headed for the world's opera stages with his lyrical voice and big presence.
After the show, Governor General Patsy Reddy presented the 2019 opera school scholarships at a special supper at Heritage House.
Dame Patsy described the young singers as a triumph for New Zealand and for the opera school in Whanganui.
"I am very proud of this school and these young singers," she said.
The Spirit of the Opera School, the Bryan Wyness trophy, was won by Samson Setu, while the Merle Higgie memorial award was won by Manase Latu.
Setu also won with the major award — the Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship of $5000.
However, there a surprise announcement and appearance from Auckland of software millionaire and rich lister Guy Haddleton and his wife Susie who announced the Guy and Susie Haddleton scholarship to be given in conjunction with the Dame Sister Mary Leo award.
Haddleton said he was adding $5000 to the award this year and for the next four years.
"It's the 25th year of this wonderful school, so I am presenting $25,000 — $5000 now and $5000 over the next four years," he said.