Sistema Aotearoa

Sistema Aotearoa

Sistema Aotearoa Photo: Supplied

Ros Giffney, Programme Manager of Sistema Aotearoa, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra's music development programme - "a vibrant and flourishing part of the Otara community".

Operatic Icon Passes the Baton

Dame Malvina Major with Pene Pati, Amitai Pati and Moses MacKay

Dame Malvina Major with Pene Pati, Amitai Pati and Moses MacKay Photo: supplied

Leading soprano calls it a day because of performance anxiety: Dame Malvina Major says “It’s been a very, very lovely and interesting life and I have no regrets at all”

The stress of delivering “A plus performances” every time she appeared on stage has brought about an early retirement from professional engagements for one of our most loved operatic performers.

Soprano Dame Malvina Major has bowed out of professional singing work saying she’s always put that pressure on herself; what’s changed is that the energy level it takes to keep that stress under control is beyond her now.

On Upbeat today Malvina said “I haven’t got that youthful energy anymore to counteract that stress.” She’s still working with her students at the University of Waikato every day.

Malvina says it’s nothing to do with her vocal ability: “ The voice is still in great shape so there’s nothing wrong with the voice it’s just that my body is reacting really badly to the stress and not recovering well”. Daily massages have been required to restore her to health.

Performing love duets with tenors Amitai and Pene Pati earlier this week Malvina told the young singers they’ll never experience that level of stress doing opera. “The pressure doing opera is never as intense as when you are totally exposed on a concert platform.”

In the early 1990’s Malvina Major was offered a place as a company member with the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the house she'd always wanted to perform. She was contracted to sing in the Christmas production of Stauss’s operetta Die Fledermaus when her husband suddenly died and she nearly had to cancel her appearance; it was such a big deal though she went ahead.

She says the loss of her husband was devastating, and she couldn’t face returning to London alone to begin again. Malvina thinks her family regretted her decision to abandon her international career but she felt she needed to be here with them.  Malvina says it’s been a very, very interesting life and she has absolutely no regrets.

Carnage at Carthage

Mythical lovers Dido and Aeneas

Dido and Aeneas Photo: Supplied

Henry Purcell’s most famous opera Dido and Aeneas gets some 21st C special effects and a rarely performed prologue. Singers Emma Roxburgh and Iain Tetley talk about the Handel Consort and Quire's upcoming production.