Some excellent news: Prima la musica cub reporter Rosel Labone (aka Our Girl in Wellington) reports that the Wellington Aria Competition last weekend was won by the absolutely delightful Allison Cormack, who placed second in the Lexus Song Quest in April. As an Allison Fan-with-capital-F I'm very happy about this. And second place went to Sarah Walker who's looking set to take over the world, quite frankly - it's possible Peter Hind, who judged the competitions here, will go down as the only adjudicator in New Zealand not to shower Sarah Walker with prizes. She's been winning everything everywhere else and made it to the semifinals of the McDonald's Operatic Aria competition this month too. (The excellent Madeleine Pierard made it as far as the quarterfinals in the same competition.)
And while we're on New Zealand singers, I bought my copy of NZ Opera News this month (with La Bellissima Donn'Anna on the cover, incidentally) and discovered that Dunedin's Own Stephen Chambers is the Third Squire for next year's Parsifal at the Arts Festival in Wellington, alongside an incredible (and incredibly all-New Zealand) cast which includes Simon O'Neill and Sir Donald McIntyre. Brilliant! And then I was aimlessly wandering around artscalendar.co.nz and saw that he's singing in Bach's Mass in G Minor in Auckland this Saturday. Really Stephen, you're becoming quite the cosmopolitan!
Also worth noting is Penelope Muir's lovely performance of the South African national anthem(s) at the rugby last weekend. Now, I really really don't know from rugby, but the game was on TV in the hotel room et voilà, Penelope, sounding gorgeous. And now I've started getting hits from Googlers in the UK, Spain and elsewhere looking for "penelope muir anthem" and the like.
The next NZ-based event on my calendar is, I think, the Mozart Requiem on October 1st. I know from her website that Madeleine Pierard is the soprano soloist; don't know who the others will be. Of course there's the slightest chance I won't actually be alive on October 1st - September 27th may well kill me. But I do love the Mozart Requiem - and I love Madeleine too - so I'll do my darndest to cling to life until then at least.