Topic: Entertainment

Māori opera singers aiming for the stars

By Leah Te Whata
  • Auckland

It sounds amazing, but it’s such hard work. Te Kāea caught up with the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation trainees at the Auckland University School of Music.

It’s the latest sound from the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation.

Natasha Wilson says, "I knew music by ear and by the feeling and I think being Māori, it's like an inherent sort of thing. I think you harmonise really easily which is actually a really hard thing to do, but it's just what your family does."

England's National Opera Studio Director Kathryn Harries is preparing New Zealand singers for international success.

Harries says, "You have such wonderful singers here in New Zealand, they were coming across to Europe and America not fully equipped to take on both their peers and just the environment its self which is very challenging as a profession."

Samoan and Niuean opera singer Madison Nonoa describes opera as the Olympics of singing.

"You've got this muscle in your throat that you have to work out every day and you have to be really exact with it and quite demanding of yourself. Of course, if you don't work out every day, you have to work harder the next day. It's like this never-ending pursuit to perfect what you're trying to do."

Harries agrees, "It's like being an athlete a supreme athlete so what their aiming for is to get to Olympic level but as a singer."

Wilson and Nonoa are aiming for the stars and may or may not go through for the next round of training with the Foundation.