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Baritone judged “clear winner” in Wellington Aria

Will King won first prize at the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Aria on Sunday night, with a baritone performance that blew away the audience, according to adjudicator Richard Greager.

Wellington Aria judge Richard Greager with Will King (left) and Sophe Sparrow

King, currently in his fourth year of Classical Voice at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, was recently selected as a 2019 Dame Malvina Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera and was runner up in the 2018 Becroft North Shore Aria Competition and third in the 2017 Dunedin Dame Malvina Major Foundation Aria Competition.

He is a member of Freemasons New Zealand Opera Chorus, Voices NZ Chamber Choir and the NZ Youth Choir.

“Will King was the clear winner for me and I’m sure the whole audience after his singing of ‘Possente spirito’ from Monteverdi’s ‘L’Orfeo’,” said Richard Greager.

“Singing of that musicianship, style and quality is rare in New Zealand and I and the audience were clearly blown away.

“He reinforced this classy performance in his second aria ‘Hai gia vinta la causa’ from Mozart’s ‘Le nozze di Figaro’ which was superbly sung and characterised.

“A worthy winner and a baritone clearly with the potential to make a fine career.”

Mr Greager was also hugely impressed by the quality of performances by soprano Sophie Sparrow, who was awarded second place.

“She possesses a stunningly beautiful voice that is versatile and exciting. Her musicality and vocal agility and range are astounding and it is rare to hear a performance of ‘Tornami a vagghegiar’ from Handel’s ‘Alcina’ as secure and brilliant as this was. The audience clearly appreciated her talent and I was very happy to award her the runner-up prize.”

The Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Aria is organised by the Hutt Valley Performing Arts Society and was held at St Andrew’s on the Terrace over the weekend.