20 April 2015 at 2.38pm | Comment on this article
The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, an organization that supports promising young singers through mentoring, financial help and career assistance, has made a grant of £70,000 to The Royal Opera to further the careers of talented young artists.
The grant, to be used over a period of three-to-five years, will allow The Royal Opera to select promising artists to cover roles where the Company might not normally employ a cover, offering selected artists significant international exposure and experience.
‘The world of international opera today is very different from the one I entered 44 years ago’, says legendary New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa, who established the foundation in 2004. ‘The field is full to overflowing with highly trained, motivated and ready-to-go young artists who have everything it takes to build a career – except performance experience. I am delighted that the Foundation has taken up this opportunity to make such a significant contribution to the careers of deserving emerging artists.’
As a direct result of the Foundation's contribution, New Zealand baritone Philip Rhodes and Uzbekistani soprano Hulkar Sabirova will rehearse at the Royal Opera House during the 2015/16 Season. Both will cover roles in Katie Mitchell’s new Royal Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Philip, who has performed with Auckland Opera Studio, Opera New Zealand and Opera North, will cover the role of Enrico; while Hulkar, whose recent roles include Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte for Deutsche Oper Berlin, will cover the role of Lucia.
Dame Kiri, who trained in Auckland, moved to London in 1965 to study at the London Opera Centre. She made her Royal Opera debut in 1971 as Flowermaiden in Parsifal, returning later that year to make a sensational role debut as Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. Recently, she celebrated her 70th birthday by returning to Covent Garden to perform the role of the Duchess de Crackentorp in Donizetti’s comedy La Fille du régiment, the first opera she ever saw at Covent Garden. Dame Kiri has also been seen as Nellie Melba on ITV's television series ‘Downton Abbey’.