Alumni in major opera competition final in UK

New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī alumni Katherine McIndoe and Pasquale Orchard are finalists in the UK’s Clonter Opera Prize.

Two opera singers in costume
Katherine McIndoe (above) and Pasquale Orchard (below) performing in recent opera productions.

The Clonter Opera Prize sees an opera singer nominated by each of the heads of opera at six of the UK’s leading music colleges. Katherine was selected to represent Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Pasquale the Royal Northern College of Music. Both women studied at NZSM under well-known soprano, Dr Jenny Wollerman.

“It’s terrific to watch our graduates going on to have this sort of success. As well as being in line for a prize, the finalists are effectively being assessed by the judges for future engagements, or at least for young artist programmes so it is a fantastic way to gain exposure,” says Dr Wollerman.

“The current environment globally has made things tough for live performers. I applaud both Katherine and Pasquale for persisting with their studies in the UK this past year and I’m so happy for them to get an opportunity such as this.”

This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the competition is being run online which offers audiences the chance to vote and for overseas viewers to see the recorded arias. The winner will receive a cash prize and both the winner and runner-up will receive a professionally recorded recital with individually edited arias to send to agents and opera companies.

“The prizes show the organisers are mindful of the current situation,” says Dr Wollerman. “The chance to make an audition recording in a professional studio is really valuable when live auditions and performances are less frequent.”

The recorded arias from the finalists are available online with the winner due to be announced on the 13 February (UK date). Book a ticket to the e-show.