News from around the world - Kawiti Waetford
Posted on 15 April 2016
It is great to be back on New Zealand soil, to share with family and friends my experiences settling in the UK, and more importantly, my recent vocal developments.
Mid-way through October I was given the opportunity to sing for Kathryn Harries, director of the National Opera Studio, London, to get some advice. Her feedback was hugely encouraging and positive. She commented on the quality of the voice and the performance attributes I possess which would lead me in good stead for the future. She also worked with me on some repertoire, giving good solid technical advice, and reiterating everything that Dame Kiri and many other teachers and coaches have told me. I am thrilled with the positive response I was given, and furthermore for the opportunity for Dame Kiri to hear the recent developments in my voice as I go through this baritone/tenor transition.
In October Dame Kiri invited me to be involved with the filming of a documentary for Maori Television on the Battle of the Somme. This was a week-long journey, centred in the township of Albert in Northern France. We learned so much about the events that took place there, and the crucial role that the Maori Pioneer Battalion played in this part of WWI. On the last day of filming we travelled to the township of Saint Omer, Pasde-Calais, where my great-great grandfather, Eugene Waetford, is buried; a very special and fitting way to end our trip.
Before returning to New Zealand I met with Adrian Thompson, singing teacher at Guildhall School of Music, to get further advice. He talked to me about some of the pitfalls he experienced when working with young baritones transitioning to tenor. After working with me vocally in a session on repertoire and some exercises it was clear to him that I am definitely a tenor – a tenor voice with a dark quality and colour. It was also his opinion that following two years of consolidation I could “easily turn what I am doing into a really fantastic sound”. The Guildhall School of Music has an excellent opera programme and would be an excellent option to consider pursuing in future.
While I am in New Zealand I will be performing at singing engagements, concerts, and reconnecting with important financial supporters and fulfilling obligations, while planning for the next step upon my return to the UK. As ever I thank Dame Kiri and the members of her Foundations, as well as the many people at home and abroad who support me on my journey. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a great 2016.