Auckland singer ‘ecstatic’ to win aria competition

Natasha Wilson.
Natasha Wilson.
Hard work and some crucial support were among the keys to success for Auckland singer Natasha Wilson, who last night won the $5000 first prize at the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Dunedin Aria final.

Ms Wilson was "very ecstatic" to gain the win, which reflected "all the hard work" she had put in, and strong support she had from the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation as a member of its "Kiri programme".

The  programme seeks to foster the next generation of New Zealand’s operatic voices.

She also praised accompanist and coach Terence Dennis and said she had enjoyed the camaraderie with her fellow finalists.

More than 120 people attended the finals event, organised by the Dunedin Performing Arts Competitions Society and held at Burns Hall, First Church, last night.

Dunedin singer Harry Grigg, who was Dunedin RSA Choir Choral scholar last year, was second, and received the Val Braumann Award of $2000 and the Chambers family tray.

Third-placed Wellington-based baritone William King gained the Cleveland and Hadley & Robinson Awards of $1000.

Cook Islander Ridge Ponini (22), who is studying for a MusB at the University of Otago, won the Judges Choice Award.

Judge and international soprano Gina Sanders praised the "extremely high standard" of the eight finalists, predicted several positive musical careers and said that Mr Ponini had "phenomenal potential" to become a world-class performer. 

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