Voice graduates taking the world by storm
NZSM classical voice graduates have been landing terrific roles around the globe recently, performing everything from Phantom of the Opera on the West End to Verdi at top German opera houses. Many of them are also returning home to NZ for roles with NZ Opera and Chamber Music New Zealand.
Bianca Andrew performed her final opera at the Guildhall School of Music in July, and has since performed in a song recital at Wigmore Hall for Samling’s annual showcase, and in gala concerts for Clonter Opera. She has now joined one of the top German opera houses Oper Frankfurt for their Opera Studio for 2017/18, and is débuting on their main stage in March as Countess Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto.
In May Bianca will be returning to New Zealand for a tour with Chamber Music New Zealand, performing 20th-century chamber music with Alex Ross and STROMA.
London-based tenor Thomas Atkins was recently named the Dame Malvina Major Fellow and will return to NZ in 2018 to perform the role of Rodolfo in NZ Opera’s La bohème. Atkins is currently participating in the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Fellow NZSM alum and New York-based soprano Amelia Berry will appear in two NZ Opera roles in 2018 – Cunégonde in Candide and Musetta in La bohème. The Dame Malvina Major Foundation is providing the Mina Foley Scholarship to support Berry’s return to New Zealand to perform.
Bridget Costello has just been contracted to cover the role of Christine in Phantom of the Opera playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End. Bridget has been on a 'swing cover' contract for the show for the past 18 months, performing all the female ensemble roles. She completed her Bachelor of Music and Postgraduate Diploma in Classical Performance Voice, and performed the role of Tytania in Britten’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at New Zealand School of Music before going on to study Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 2016 she played Princess Beautiful in the musical 'The Tinderbox' at Charing Cross Theatre.
Kieran Rayner is now in his final year at the Royal College of Music International Opera School, and his fourth year in the UK. He was awarded an Encouragement Grant this year by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, and is currently in the RCMIOS opera, The Cunning Little Vixen, in which he plays the Forester, which NZSM also presented this year.
Oliver Sewell has recently moved to Philadelphia to start at the Academy of Vocal Arts. After his first month at AVA he returned to New Zealand to perform Beethoven’s 9th in Christchurch with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Since returning he has been involved in performances of Il Trovatore, preparing Alfredo in La Traviata, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos both for next year, and also Britten’s Les Illuminations.