Great Opera Moments 2021
Royal Wanganui Opera House
Saturday, January 16
Director Jacquline Coats assisted by Kararaina Walker
Reviewed by Lin Ferguson
Again the hand of a dedicated and passionate director ensured this final concert from the students of the New Zealand Opera School moved with ease from the opening to the closing crescendo.
Director Jacquline Coats with assistant Kararaina Walker worked their magic and expertise with these young fledgling opera singers.
Set in a department store with racks of clothes and a counter artfully placed, the students, flowed, skipped and danced around this set with energy and ease.
They all looked wonderful thanks to the fine costumes by Elizabeth Lee Williams.
In centre and pride of place was the grand piano where the accompanists moved to and fro with ease - not a note or phrase of music was missed.
The opening chorus Gershwin's Oh, I Can't Sit Down was inspired, particularly as it was repeated as the closing tying up this concert with a musical velvet ribbon.
There were, of course, standout performances but, really, all the performers were strong and committed to showing their best work.
Maeve Herd's Amor e qual vento by Handel resonated with strength, her voice clear and sure.
And from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte Katie Trigg was an unforgettable Dorabella with great style and panache.
Ridge Ponini's aria M appari tutt amor showed the strength of this young tenor from the Cook Islands - he is a singer to celebrate.
And Te Ohorere William's I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls was beautiful and convincing as the young girl recalling her childhood memories.
And that was just act one.
Thrilling for me in act two was Katherine Winitana's powerful, lyrical voice soaring through Quando m'en vo from La Boheme. She was staggering with a voice like rich cream which flowed with ease.
A poignant and deeply felt Ave Maria, Verdi from Felicity Tomkin plumbed the depth of emotions this piece requires and Tomkin was exquisite, her voice caressing every word.
Massenet's Pourquoi me reveiller from Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono fulfilled the intention of this aria of unrequited love, his voice showing the emotion and never wavering.
This concert was seamless and beautiful with each student showing the full glory of their young voices.
And again this was a fine testament to the New Zealand Opera School and its founder and chairman Donald Trott.
His unwavering belief in young singers and helping them to go forward into careers enhancing the quality of our young New Zealanders on international stages.