26 Jul 2021

Lessons from lockdown with Deborah Wai Kapohe

From Upbeat, 12:30 pm on 26 July 2021

It would be an understatement to say Deborah Wai Kapohe has many strings to her bow. 

The soprano, singer-songwriter, teacher, arts advisor, and lawyer has just returned to Aotearoa after a lengthy lockdown in South Africa.  

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Photo: Supplied

Confined to her accommodation (on a winery no less), Deborah made the most of her solitary 18 months.  

It was during this lonely time she decided to “completely pull apart” her singing technique.  

Immersing herself in old books and gramophone recordings, she worked to emulate past opera singers in the “bel canto” tradition - common before the heavier style of Puccini and his contemporaries took over.

Deborah maintains that this style requires much less effort, and therefore gives the voice greater flexibility and longevity.

Deborah talks to host David Morriss about singers as wind instruments, the joys of recording music against a cacophony of cicadas, and her upcoming performance at Christchurch’s Town Hall, in which she’ll use her newfound skills to weave through opera, musical theatre, and popular song. 


Concert: Lunchtime Music - Deborah Wai Kapohe - Soprano 

Christchurch Town Hall, 86 Kilmore St, Christchurch 

Tuesday 27 July 2021 1:10pm – 1:50pm 


Music Details:

Princess Te Rangi Pai: Hine e Hine – Deborah Wai Kapohe (sop, guitar) (Private recording)

Bellini: Ah! non credea mirarti, from La Sonnambula – Adelina Patti (sop), Alfredo Barili (pno) rec. 1906 (Pearl GEMM CDS 9923)

Norah Jones: Come away with me - Deborah Wai Kapohe (sop, guitar) (Private recording)


This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.