Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NBR New Zealand Opera’s 2007/8 Emerging Artists

Left to right: Hadleigh Adams, Barbara Graham, Matthew Landreth, Julia Booth, Michael Gray, Barbara Paterson

Last Saturday evening those of us fortunate enough to gather in the great hall of the Auckland Town Hall were treated to a unique experience when the work of six New Zealand composers for the opera voice was presented by the six very fine Emerging Artists from 2007/8 PwC Dame Malvina Major Artists programme.

The whole evening was delightfully hosted by the Artistic Manager of the APO, Antony Ernst, who conducted a brief interview with the composer prior to our singers presenting their work. The pieces were:

  • Hone Tuwhare’s poem RAIN composed by Anthony Ritchie (who was unable to be present) sung by Baritone Matthew Landreth
  • Jeff Lin’s contemporary version of Chinese Li Yu’s Exile from the Native Land sung by Tenor Michael Gray
  • Penny Dodd composed a piece from scratch by adapting a soliloquy from Euripedes’ Medea sung with great conviction by Barbara Paterson
  • Anthony Young gave us a scenario where a mother tries to explain to her blind baby What is Light sung by soprano Julia Booth with great pathos
  • Matthew Crawford’s Karlo Mila’s poem A Place to Stand with texts in Maori and English was well presented by soprano Barbara Graham and finally
  • Hadleigh Adams gave us a very moving composition by David Hamilton entitled ‘Breaking the Quiet’, based on the Mt Erebus disaster of 30 years ago. No one was there to hear the sound.
Our singers who had worked with the composers during the year gave very fine presentations. From time to time the orchestral compositions overwhelmed the singers but they gave very worthwhile and very credible interpretations and it was a privilege to be in the audience.