Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, e huihui nei,
tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.
Nau mai, haere mai ra ki Te Whare Kawana o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all, and welcome to Government House Wellington.
David and I are just delighted to host the 2019 Malvina Major Foundation concert here this afternoon.
It’s become something of a regular treat at Government House since the term of Sir Michael Hardie-Boys and one that we’ve attended on earlier occasions – though we’re both surprised to realise that this is the first time that we’ve actually hosted the concert. We do hope it’s not the last.
It’s our chance to showcase emerging talent to an audience that shares our love of opera – and also support these young artists in realising their dreams.
I don’t know what it is about New Zealand that enables us to produce such extraordinarily talented singers.
The Malvina Major Foundation has become part of that story of success.
We are very sorry to hear that Dame Malvina is unwell and not able to join us here this afternoon. I know she was greatly looking forward to attending. We wish her a speedy recovery.
Dame Malvina established her eponymous Foundation some 28 years ago, in 1991. That was a momentous development for the nurturing of our young Opera talent.
Dame Malvina knew first-hand about struggle and sacrifice and the years of effort and training required to get to the top.
The Foundation has assisted some of our best and brightest to navigate their way through those challenges.
Indeed the Foundation’s emerging artists programme has been a rewarding partnership with NZ Opera since 2000. The programme gives early career singers the opportunity to work in the opera industry and develop their skills – and The Young Artist or Fellowship programme offers more experienced singers a principal role in a New Zealand Opera production, along with tailored coaching.
Then there is the prize money offered in the Lexus Song Quest and the Arts Excellence Awards, which support overseas study for young performing artists.
Today’s concert is an opportunity to hear some established performers alongside some of the exciting new talent supported and nurtured by the Foundation’s programmes, scholarships and prizes.
I’m delighted to welcome today’s performers:
Wade Kernot, Emma Pearson, Michaela Cadwgan, L J Crichton – and Bruce Greenfield, on the piano.
As many of you will know, Bruce performs at Government House events on a regular basis, in addition to his work as a highly regarded accompanist and voice coach.
Husband and wife, Wade and Emma will be well known to many of you here. Both have established international careers and have also sung together and separately with NZ Opera.
Wade was a Malvina Major Emerging Artist in 2004 and is currently a lecturer in Voice at the NZ School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington.
It’s tantalising to speculate about the roles that lie ahead for Michaela and LJ, who are currently studying at the NZ School of Music. One thing is certain: they are committing to a regime of training that comes at considerable cost.
The joy and satisfaction of patronage of the Malvina Major Foundation is knowing that an emerging artist will be able to reach their full potential.
Thank you to everyone who makes this possible for our young opera stars by supporting the Foundation, and thank you to our performers for the splendid programme of songs we are about to hear.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa