The main focus of Foundation sponsorship is through our Dame Malvina Major internship programmes in partnership with New Zealand Opera. Dame Malvina is part of the selection panels.
Co-ordinated and administered by New Zealand Opera, the internship programmes offer a unique opportunity for young artists to work with professionals in the opera industry to develop the skills required to prepare for a career in opera.
Each year, early career singers are selected as Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists. They are given the opportunity to take part in main stage productions and receive vocal, stagecraft and language coaching.
The Dame Malvina Major Fellowship offers a more experienced singer the principal role in a New Zealand Opera mainstage season as well as tailored vocal and language coaching.
“Thank you all so much for your commitment and belief in this wonderful programme... I will forever treasure this special time in my extraordinary journey.”
Dame Malvina Major Fellow 2018
Thomas Atkins, tenor
Thomas recently completed the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, under the tutelage of Adrian Thompson. He is currently on the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
A 2013/14 Freemasons Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with NZ Opera, in 2013 he was awarded the New Zealand Arts Foundation Patronage Award. Thomas is a graduate of the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, his home town.
Recent concert performances include Soloist alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at the 2014 Yakushiji Otobutai, Japan and Dritter Lakai in excerpts from Der Rosenkavalier with the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder. Engagements in the 2017/2018 season at Covent Garden include 1st Armed Man Die Zauberflöte, Don Jose La Tragédie de Carmen (Wilton’s Music Hall), Teacher Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and 2nd Brabant Noble Lohengrin.
Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists 2017/18
Manase Latu, tenor
Manase is a recent graduate of the University of Auckland, where he majored in classical vocal performance. He is a member of vocal group The Shades, Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and is an alumni of Auckland Chamber Choir and New Zealand Youth Choir.
Manase is in regular demand as a soloist throughout New Zealand and in 2017, became a member of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus, performing in mainstage seasons of Carmen and Katya Kabanova.
Samson Setu, baritone
Samson Setu is a graduate of the University of Auckland, where he majored in classical singing, under the tutelage of Dr Te Oti Rakena. Samson is a proud Samoan, born and raised in South Auckland. He was surrounded by music during his childhood, but it wasn’t until he was 17 years old that he first encountered opera. Rugby was Samson’s first love but in his final year of Dilworth School, singing began to overtake his dreams of playing professional rugby.
Samson won first place at the 2016 Ronald Dellow competition where he was also the recipient of the people’s choice award. The same year, Samson was a finalist at the prestigious New Zealand Aria competition and a winner at the annual South Auckland Performing Arts Competition and the National Finale.
Natasha Wilson, soprano
Natasha was born and raised in Auckland, and is of Maori and European heritage. She has a BMus(Hons) majoring in classical vocal performance from the University of Auckland. Natasha made her professional debut with New Zealand Opera, as a member of the company for their touring production of The Mikado and was involved in workshops of Tim Finn’s upcoming opera, Star Navigator, in the role of Purea. Natasha has also performed internationally with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as the soprano soloist in their Spanish Baroque concert series. In 2017, Natasha was selected for the inaugural Dame Malvina Major Foundation Opera Studies programme and was a member of the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation’s mentoring programme.
“Learning what is expected of a professional performer is an integral lesson that I will take on my journey...”
Selection of Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists and Fellows
Dame Malvina Major Interns are selected annually through an audition process.