Posted on 21 August 2016
The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation has identified six singers who will take part in its new singer development programme, known as The Kiri Programme. The Foundation believes they have the potential to progress to successful international careers with this strategic one-year programme designed to boost their personal development, including business, communication and artistic skills.
The first of five training modules begins at the end of August, with the singers gathering in Auckland under the direction of programme head Kathryn Harries, who is Director of the National Opera Studio in London. Ms Harries was senior judge for the Lexus Song Quest in New Zealand in 2014. She will be supported in the module (which focuses on the voice) by Sharolyn Kimmorley, Terence Dennis, Robert Wiremu and Teresa Desmarchelier.
The inaugural participants are:
Eliza Boom – soprano (Waikato)
Jarvis Dams – baritone (Belgium/Waikato)
Katherine McIndoe – soprano (Wellington)
Filipe Manu – tenor (Tonga/Auckland)
Madison Nonoa – soprano (Samoa/Nuie/Waikato)
Natasha Wilson – soprano (Auckland)
Some of the singers have received Foundation assistance before, especially as participants in the New Zealand Opera School which is supported by the Foundation. For others like Natasha Wilson, the selection came as a complete surprise. “This is the first time I've had any sort of involvement with Dame Kiri and the foundation, as I have never been to NZ opera school, so I was very surprised when they wanted to work with me for this programme! I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity”.
Katherine McIndoe sang for Dame Kiri at this year’s NZ Opera School masterclass and says “We are so grateful for the Foundation’s relationship with the School, as the School’s immersive environment and stellar teachers offer us so much. It was very exciting to sing for Dame Kiri for the first time. A programme like this, bridging that gap between finishing study here and heading overseas, is such a valuable step in preparing me to put my best foot forward.”
Eliza Boom also sang in the masterclass and found it challenging. “There are many challenges in forming a career; at this point in mine the biggest challenge is in choosing suitable repertoire. I am hoping the programme will equip me with knowledge and skills to prepare me for study overseas, particularly regarding languages.”
Dame Kiri recently told an audience in Whanganui that the nurturing and development of young singers would be “my next career”. Her Kiri Programme results from eight years of planning and research, during which time the Foundation has help uplift many emerging New Zealand artists and when she has also personally mentored and supported many young singers who are making great progress in their international careers.
“Over the past decade I’ve been hugely inspired by the many young talented singers we have supported – they have enormous potential for future success. They know that their career choice is a lifetime of hard work, dedication and complete passion for music. I feel very proud watching their development,” says Dame Kiri.
The first year’s costs are being underwritten by the Foundation, and philanthropic partnerships are being sought for co-funding the ongoing programme. “It will require generous partners with vision and commitment to making a difference,” notes Dame Kiri.
The second module of the Kiri Programme, in December, will focus on acting and presentation, and will comprise a five day workshop conducted by renowned American teacher and director, Chuck Hudson.