Opera star wins Christchurch Vocal Competition

Winners at the Christchurch Vocal Competition are (from left) Olivia Pike (first place), Sarah...
Winners at the Christchurch Vocal Competition are (from left) Olivia Pike (first place), Sarah Mileham (second equal), Emma McLean (second equal) and Scott Bezett (third place). PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Rising opera star Olivia Pike has waited several years to win the Christchurch Vocal Competition, but finally took out the top spot over the Matariki weekend.

Pike, who was third in 2019, second in 2021 and 2022 and third in 2023 (the event was cancelled in 2020), returned to New Zealand from Boston, where she is in the middle of a two-year graduate performance diploma at the Boston Conservatorium of Art.

She is a University of Otago bachelor of music graduate.

"It was honestly an honour — it’s a competition I’ve had a long-standing attendance with, so it’s nice to be able to come back and take the top spot.

"There was good attendance of some really great singers. It wasn’t an easy win. It was so lovely to finally get there."

Pike said she was enjoying her break in New Zealand.

"They say it takes 10 years to train as an opera singer, so it’s a very long process.

"I will be finishing my last year of school this year and hopefully going to the audition stage after that.

"Singing is very freeing. The things we sing about are highly emotional and cathartic. It’s just a great experience."

As well as the trophy, Pike also collected $5000 in prize money.

Competition vocal convener Sally Binnie said competitors came from around New Zealand and sometimes from Australia, and a few years ago a contestant came from Wales.

"The vocal competitions give talented young and not-so-young performers a platform to perfect their chosen pathway. For many years now we have been known as the ‘friendly comps’, professionally run, and I am very proud of that," she said.