Young New Zealand Tenor studying in Cardiff
Posted on 3 July 2012
Darren Pene Pati is a 24yr old Samoan-born tenor living in New Zealand. In the past two years he has won the Sydney Eisteddfod Macdonalds Aria, the prestigious NZ Aria in Rotorua where he also received the ‘Most Promising Voice’ award and the Performing Arts Competition Society ‘NZ Young Performer of the Year’ award. Last year he accepted an invitation to study under Dennis O’Neill at the Wales International Academy of Voice in Cardiff. At the time of acceptance he said “my time at the Academy of Voice”will provide me with the necessary time to consolidate my vocal technique and provide performance opportunities and a platform of exposure in the UK and European opera market. This will be the most important time of my development, and a time I know will carve the way for the rest of my career. Working with Dennis in this environment will set me up with a proper bel canto technique.”
Earlier he had attracted the attention of Dame Kiri who spent time mentoring and advising him about his technique and career. The Foundation is providing grants for his tuition and living expenses to support his first year in Cardiff. Further mentoring time with Dame Kiri followed including a recent invitation to spend a weekend at her home alongwith other selected young talented singers. Afterwards Darren sent the following message to the Foundation.
“I would like to offer my thanks to Dame Kiri for hosting myself along with our amazing reptiteur Jane Samuel and an amazing soprano and colleague of the academy, Angharad Fortey.
The weekend that just passed was a great escape for me, let alone for the three of us. It was a weekend to relax, yet, the hard yards were still put in through amazing work with the Dame herself and especially with Robin Stapleton. It was a great privilege to work with him and his vast knowledge of opera and language, even if it meant being shouted at. I’ve actually learnt a lot in this small weekend! My biggest change, or the moment I thought that really stuck out for me was singing the Strauss. I sung it out fully and the feedback I got back instantly was ‘why are you singing full blast??’ This was actually a light bulb moment for me, because I have always sung full out because of the mentality of just wanting to sound loud!
I regard Dame Kiri as one of my mentors, if anything, my biggest mentor. She has guided me from the start and has been there throughout the journey. She has been a great inspiration and I always feel so privileged and honoured that she has great interest into seeing me through to a professional career. Thank you Kiri for letting me roam freely though your house. Thank you for the weekend and thank you for housing us. Thank you for the amazing meals but mostly, thank you for a weekend of hardwork.”
Photo caption – Darren at a subsequent weekend at Dame Kiri’s home – from left to right: Sharne Phillips, Angharad Morgan (Wales), Darren Pene, Dame Kiri, Gordana Kostic (Serbia) (2nd fro right),Clair Filer (NZ) and Robin Stapleton.