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.
Dame Malvina Major Fellows are selected by invitation only.
“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 2018/19
Pasquale Orchard, soprano
Pasquale is a graduate of the New Zealand School of Music, graduating with First Class Honours in Classical Voice in 2017. She is currently completing her Master of Musical Arts degree in Classical Voice under the guidance of Jenny Wollerman and Margaret Medlyn. Pasquale is a keen dancer and holds her NZAMD Licentiate diplomas for Jazz, Tap and Hip-Hop, and her Trinity LTCL diploma in Performance Arts. An alumna of both the IFAC Handa NZ Singing School and the NZ Opera School, Pasquale was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2018 IFAC Handa Australian Singing competition.
In 2017 Pasquale debuted as Mercedes in Carmen with NZ Festival Opera, starred as the Vixen in NZSM’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen and played Susanna in Eternity Opera’s TheMarriage of Figaro. She is also a member of the NZ Opera Chorus.
Will King, baritone
Will is a Wellington-based baritone who is currently in his fourth year studying Classical Voice at the NZ School of Music under Margaret Medlyn. His operatic roles include Lorenzo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Zaretsky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Valens in a staged production of Handel’s Theodora, Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro and Sam in New Zealand Opera’s premiere of Gareth Farr’s Bonefeeder. He was also the bass soloist in the recent epic OrphEus: A Dance Opera choreographed by Michael Parmenter. He came third in the 2017 Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria and was the runner up in the 2018 Becroft North Shore Aria Competition.
Will’s concert repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore and Mass in C Minor, Donizetti’s Requiem, Astorga’s Stabat Mater and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. Will is also a member of Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus, Voices NZ Chamber Choir and the NZ Youth Choir.
Angus Simmons, baritone
Christchurch-born and Auckland-based, Angus graduated from University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours in 2017. Angus has been a member of the Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus since 2014, performing in La bohème, Madame Butterfly, La traviata, The Mikado, Carmen and The Damnation of Faust. This year, he appeared again with the New Zealand Opera Chorus in Tosca, Candide and The Elixir of Love, as well as Belcore in the company’s Opera in Schools tour performances of The Elixir of Love.
He has performed regularly around Christchurch with the Christchurch Opera Club as well as many other public recitals.
“Learning what is expected of a professional performer is an integral lesson that I will take on my journey...”
2016-17 (as Scholars)
XING XING WANG
JULIA HILL (BOOTH)
SARAH McONIE (now COURT)
APRIL MARIE NEHO
WENDY DAWN THOMPSON
“One of my personal favourite parts of the program was the constant availability to work with visiting artists from overseas.”