Kawiti Waetford reports from Cardiff
Posted on 19 December 2013
Following a number of very successful fundraising events Kawiti Waetford started the next stage of his musical journey in September. He is now in Cardiff attending the International Academy of Voice from where he filed this first update ……..
Kia ora e te whanau!
Ahakoa tu ana au ki te whenua, e noho ana au ki te mana, e t ria ana taku tinana ki tawahi o te awa.
Although I miss home, it has been the most extraordinary first few weeks here in the UK, having been here since the beginning of September. I have been blessed with the most incredible hosts, who have looked after me, and helped to facilitate my transition into this new country. On my weekend flat hunting mission in Cardiff city, I was again taken care of by Jane Samuel, a vocal coach at the Wales International Academy of Voice (WIAV). She kindly showed me around the city, taking me to see the opening night of Donizetti’s opera Anna Belona at the Welsh National Opera, which was hugely instructive and interesting to watch. After viewing about eight flats with three different agencies, we finally found one that suited – although they are all reminiscent of the flats in Dunedin! However, I am glad to be flatting with two other young Kiwi singers, Isabella Moore and fellow Dunedinite Alex Wilson (also supported by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation), who are both also attending WIAV. I also had time to catch up with some of my international singing friends from the three-week summer singing school, the Solti Te Kanawa Academia di bel canto, I attended in Tuscany in 2011. Sofia Fomina is a Russian soprano who is working in Frankfurt this season, singing the Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute, amongst other roles. Nicolas Darmin is a young Maltese tenor who is working at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, alongside international baritone Erwin Schrott. Rachel Kelly is an Irish mezzo-soprano, who is on the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Programme with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Adam Marsden is a British baritone who has just begun at the National Opera Studio in London; a feeder programme into the main opera houses in the UK. Rachel and Adam took me to my first Covent Garden opera experience, getting tickets to the dress rehearsal of Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Opera House – it was fantastic! These singers, and where they are now, for me, are all examples of the next milestones in my journey, following the completion of my masters at WIAV. For the last week and a half I have been staying with Dame Kiri at her home in Lewes, which has been just amazing. Lewes is a small village situated out in the English countryside, and reminds me a bit of the Shire from The Hobbit. While it has been a time of rest and respite, which I’ve enjoyed before getting ‘stuck into it’ in Cardiff, I’ve been put to work – and loved every minute of it as it reminds me of being at home! I’ve collected blackberries, raspberries, plums, tomatoes and courgettes for making jam, chutneys, pickles, muffins and cakes; helped out with moving storage, cleaning the kitchen, washing the truck, exercising the dogs, cooking kai and dishes, dishes, dishes! I was also given two day sessions with Dame Kiri, which was a chance for her to see where I was at vocally at the beginning of the coming year, while working on vocalises, songs, and exploring the importance of singing on the breath always. Dame Kiri made me feel at home in a new country, and made the unfamiliar feel familiar. The manaakitanga and aroha she continues to show me is truly amazing, and I thank her for giving me another home away from home to come back to. This is just a brief note to let you know that I have arrived safely and have settled in well. Tomorrow is the first day of the course, so excitement mingled with nervousness is the prevailing feeling at the moment! I would like to thank everyone once again for the incredible support I received, and continue to receive, in the lead up to my leaving New Zealand shores. It has been a long road leading up to this point, and still further on the road ahead. I take comfort in the knowledge that I am backed and by the aroha and support of all those at home.
Hei kona mai ra i roto i aku mihi nui, i aku mihi aroha,