Students in fine voice

2 June 2017

Felicity Tomkins

The results of the 2017 University of Waikato Opera Aria Competition are in.

First place went to third-year conjoint degree student Felicity Tomkins, who is studying a Bachelor of Music (Performance – Voice) and Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry). Felicity is under the tutelage of Glenese Blake and says the competition was a rewarding experience that she very much enjoyed being a part of.

Second place went to second-year conjoint student Calla Knudson-Hollebon, who is studying a Bachelor of Music, and a Bachelor of Social Sciences. Third place went to Master of Music student Blaire White.  All three are Sir Edmund Hillary Scholars.

Head of Voice and Performance at the Conservatorium of Music Stephanie Acraman says the competition marks the ninth annual University Aria Competition, and is a very important landmark for all the students studying the classical Bachelor of Music.

“I am continually impressed and excited with the level of singer that we have studying with us, and their commitment to work for what is required of a budding professional singer. Well done to all those who entered the competition. Every performance was polished and well executed.”

Adjudicator Rosemary Barnes was also impressed with the professionalism of the contestants, who ranged from first- to fifth-year university students, with one student part of the UniStart programme, and still studying at high school.

“The standard of their presentations were worthy of the Lexus Song Quest. There was a range of talent, from some very young but exciting new voices to more experienced students who were close to professional standard. But all participants were impeccably attired, prepared and presented,” says Rosemary.

“The competition was a reflection of the excellent nurturing of talent in the Voice department of Waikato University by the teachers who work there. There was no difficulty choosing the winner, but the second and third places were only separated by one mark."

The competition is open to all enrolled singers at the University and prizes were sponsored by the Greenlea Foundation Trust. The competition was held on 20 May in the Dr John Gallagher Concert Chamber at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.