Singers to listen for
Posted on 22 December 2016
Earlier this year the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Wellington, hosted a very special concert at St Andrews on the Terrace in Wellington. John Boshier, Director of Rotary Club of Wellington filed this report.
The concert whilst being a celebration of young singing talent was also a unique fundraiser for medical research and for the Foundation itself. It was an outstanding success, with a capacity audience enjoying wonderful music and giving generously to the charity, the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute for cancer.
The initial ‘Singers to Listen For’ concert staged in 2015 was the brainchild of Rodney Macann (a Foundation trustee) and was so successful that a second concert was developed.
There was a great deal of interest in Jonathan Abernethy, tenor, as he hadn’t sung in his home town for a number of years and he exceeded all expectations with singing that was unfailingly stylish, beautiful to listen to and with spectacular high notes such as the high C in the great aria from Gounod’s Faust. He had a superb partner in Anna Dowsley, soprano who displayed all the stagecraft and loveliness of voice that one could expect from a young singer who has already sung a number of major roles with Opera Australia. Their love duet from the Berlioz opera ‘The Trojans’ was the centrepiece of the evening.
However, Katherine MacIndoe, soprano and Jarvis Dams, baritone (both selected for The Kiri Programme) were by no means the support act to the more experienced singers. They brought their own totally memorable moments and again, unfailingly lovely singing. Jarvis brought the house down with a powerful, characterful and communicative “largo al Factotum” from Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Katherine, known for her high intelligence, delighted with a wonderfully over the top melodramatic aria about ‘Prima Donnas to die for’ and again there were exquisite ensembles with Mozart’s sublime trio from Così fan tutte – another “never sung better moment”. Terence Dennis New Zealand’s master accompanist (a Foundation Trustee) was in his element, the perfect partner to the young singers, providing his own moments of delight and giving them the freedom to share their great talents. Rodney amused the audience with some recollections of well-known conductors he’d worked with, and showed that the old man still had a note or two left with his rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening” which seemed to sum it all up.
A capacity audience of 200 enjoyed pre-concert refreshments and a charity auction to assist The Kiri Programme. An original oil painting by Dame Kiri and the cover of her shooting script from Downton Abbey were sold in the auction; raising over $9,700 for the Foundation.
The Gillies McIndoe Research Institute for Cancer was the charity which benefitted from the concert through ticket sales. The Institute was represented at the concert by it’s Director Dr Swee Tan and Mrs Tan. The singers were sponsored by Lexus of Wellington.