NZ OPERA SCHOOL STUDENTS & TUTORS – WHERE ARE THEY? – WHAT THEY ARE DOING?

We touch base with present, recent and past students and tutors of NZ Opera School, to see what they are doing now, their plans and ambitions for the future. We also talk to them about what they thought about the school and their advice for interested young singers who want to develop their skills.

MADISON NONOA joined the NZ OPERA SCHOOL Alumni in 2013, and has attended in total four NZ Opera School’s since, and is now adventuring abroad to further her studies in the art form of OPERA. A hard working and motivated individual, we ask Madison a few questions about her plans and what she has been doing

Q: What have you been working on since the 2017 NZOS? I.e. performances, competitions etc.

"A couple of weeks after the close of the 2017 NZOS I went into production for Days Bay Opera's season of Handel's "Theodora", in which I sang the role of Theodora. It was a thrilling role to learn and I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to learn it. Next up, I sang the role of "Marie" in Rufus Wainwright's Opera, "Prima Donna", a concert collaboration with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. In March, I auditioned successfully for the role of Catarina Cavalieri in Peter Schaffer's "Amadeus", a singing role that marked my debut with the Auckland Theatre Company in their premiere season at the newly purpose built Auckland Waterfront ASB Theatre."

"In June I competed in and won the North Shore Becroft Aria competition and have since participated as an inaugural singer in the Dame Kirk Te Kanawa Foundation Singers Programme and the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Singers Programme."

Madison during a vocal coaching session as part of the 2016 NZOS Masterclasses

Madison during a vocal coaching session as part of the 2016 NZOS Masterclasses

Q: What's your plans for 2018 and beyond?

“In September of this year I will begin studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where I have been lucky enough to be awarded a full-fees scholarship into the prestigious Opera Programme. My teacher will be Yvonne Kenny, which I am so excited about! My plan is to complete the two year degree, coming back briefly to NZ in the middle of next year to perform the role of "Giulietta" in Auckland Opera Studio's production of "I Capuleti e I Montecchi" (Bellini), and audition for Young Artist programmes in Europe."

Q: How has the NZ Opera School helped you strive for your aspirations as an Opera Singer?

“The NZOS has been an integral part of my training over the past five years. I have looked forward to each school as an opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers in the country and also the visiting tutors, all of whom I have found inspiring and gleaned an enormous amount of information about "the industry" from."

Madison performing with Jarvis Dams at the 2016 Heritage House Recital in Whanganui  

Madison performing with Jarvis Dams at the 2016 Heritage House Recital in Whanganui  

"The school has been a key motivator and a place where I could honestly assess my skill set and my personal areas of weakness that I would like to dedicate time towards strengthening. I felt supported, encouraged and inspired by my colleagues and the teachers; at times I was pushed to grow and at other times I was allowed to "enjoy the moment", and I think the balance of having both expectations as a singer was a great learning curve -- you have to love what you do, but you also have to be constantly looking for ways to appreciate the music and improve your ability to be a vessel for it!."

Q: What would you say to a young NZ Opera singer about the NZOS and why should they attend?

“I would say apply! Go for it! But: be ready to work very hard and for things to "get real"; it's the place for you if you want to really get an idea of the things you would like to be able to do. Don't worry if you can't do everything now, you don't have to be able to sing Mimi or La Traviata -- you just have to be able to take the advice, absorb everything that you can and give it all a go. If you love Opera and it's the career you want to be a part of, I think the NZOS is the perfect place to start."

Madison performing Tornami a dir – Don Pasquale   Donizetti, with Filipe Manu during the 2017 NZ Opera School, Opera Great Moments at RoyalWhanganui Opera House

Madison performing Tornami a dir – Don Pasquale   Donizetti, with Filipe Manu during the 2017 NZ Opera School, Opera Great Moments at RoyalWhanganui Opera House

Q: What was one or a few of the highlights of the school/s you have attended?

“There have been many! My favourite times have been performing together with the others students. Filipe Manu, Jarvis Dams and I were thrown in the deep end one year and had to learn a tricky little Donizetti trio for the final concert a few days before the event, but it turned out to be a marvellous exercise in teamwork and "thorough fast learning". I really enjoyed the public masterclass with Simon O'Neill, who is such a warm and charismatic teacher, particularly supportive of young Singers trying to make it through the early stages of this career. Mostly, I think, it has been a real highlight to have not only been coached by so many of these incredible professional teachers, singers and language/music coaches, but also to have had the opportunity to join a network of musicians who have become colleagues and friends, as well as mentors."

The New Zealand Opera School would like to thank Madison for partaking in this interview and wish her the best of luck for her aspiring career ahead of her. We know you will do well, and Whanganui and New Zealand look forward to your return to give us a taste of your studies abroad.