Cathedral Anniversary Concert

  • Physical Address

    494 Grey Street Hamilton East Hamilton 3216

Friday 8 November 2013

about the Anniversary Concert 2012

starring Helen Medlyn

The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton East provides the perfect venue in which to appreciate and enjoy Helen Medlyn.

Helen Medlynis a girl who's been described as being hard to define. She's a self-described Jill of all Trades, having been - at one time or another - a jazz chanteuse, a dancer, an actress, a musical theatre performer, a narrator, a classical concert singer, a voice-over artiste, an opera diva and a cabaret entertainer...sometimes, all in the same performance!

Using her innate sense of fun, her musicality and her love of language Helen has been acclaimed both here and overseas for stamping her own style on all that she does! Whether she's standing serenely, statue-like, on the concert platform singing the major classical repertoire with a symphony orchestra or she's slithering, bosoms akimbo, over a grand piano and steaming up a few spectacles with a torch song or two, Helen loves to to be up there.Just a few highlights from her varied body of work include playing Prince Orlovsky in "Fledermaus" for Opera Australia; portraying Concepcion in "The Spanish Hour" for NBR NZ Opera; singing Herodias in "Salome" with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, understudying Brangaene in "Tristan and Isolde" for the English National Opera; performing Gillian Whitehead's vocal cantata "Alice" with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (written especially for Helen); singing Elgar's "Sea Pictures" with the NZSO in Osaka and in Malvern, Elgar's birthplace with the Chandos Symphony Orchestra; singing Brahms's "Alto Rhapsody" with the London Philharmonic Choir and the Malaysian Philharmonic in Kuala Lumpur; performing Mahler's "Song of the Earth" both with the APO and the NZSO; taking the role of Joy Gresham in the play "Shadowlands" at the Mercury Theatre; portraying Mrs Parker in the play "Daughters of Heaven" for the Auckland Theatre Company; playing Fraülein Schneider in "Cabaret" for the ATC; and creating and performing her 'hell' cabaret shows with Penny Dodd.

Although Helen embarked on her professional career in 1981 as a dancer in the NZ tour of "Evita", her performance work remained sporadic. Through the '80's, she took major roles in productions for the Mercury Theatre, Centrepoint Theatre and Auckland operatic societies but still retained her "day job". However, in 1989, Helen walked away from being a television and radio producer at the advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi, and launched herself into a full-time professional performing career with her opera debut as Marthe in the Mercury Theatre's production of "Faust".

Honoured with being made an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate in 2002, Helen is now established as a regular guest artist with opera companies and orchestras throughout Australasia, Asia, America and Britain and continues to garner flattering critical acclaim for her distinctive performances.

Since its refurbishment in 2008, when Dame Malvina Major was the star attraction and guest artist to a 'sell out full house', the Cathedral has continued to host an Anniversary Fundraising Concert to showcase New Zealand's finest operatic talent.

This year Helen Medlyn is being supported by St Joseph's Maori Girls' Choir, Oriana Kershaw, Derek Hill and Blaire White accompanied by Dr Greg Neil.

The programme included many well-known and favourite pieces like Maria from West Side Story, "Time to Say Goodbye", "You Raise Me Up" and "When a Child is Born".

The concert starts at 7:30pm and as no seat allocations are possible it's a case of 'first in, best seated'.

The Artists:

Derek Hill completed his university studies in Canada and since his return to NZ has been contracted by virtually every opera company in the country.

He is currently a resident artist of NBR Opera New Zealand, for whom he appeared as Normanno in the NZI Winter Season of Lucia di Lammermoor in 2007, and earlier as Priest/Armed Man in The Magic Flute, and as Gastone de Letoriéres in La Traviata.

He has also worked with The Hamilton Garden Opera, Canterbury Opera, and Otago Opera performing a variety of works from Salieri to Puccini.

Derek currently studies with renowned New Zealand tenor Patrick Power.

Oriana Kershaw was born in Hastings and is currently in her third year of a BMus majoring in voice, whilst being a current student of Dame Malvina Major.

Oriana has had many roles in Waikato Opera showcases, including Carmen. Receiving Highly Commended in this year’s Waikato Aria Competitions, she'll be doing Honours next year.

Oriana enjoys all genres of music, including a natural love of Kapahaka and Maori performing arts.

St Joseph's Maori Girls' Choir has won international acclaim. The students come from every corner of Aotearoa and overseas. The beauty of the music they produce creates an aura of harmony, which is complementary to their educational discipline, accomplished within the college.

Their accompaniment to Dame Malvina Major this year will be superb and the joy experienced by both the performers and the audience will be realised.

Blaire White has been singing and performing in musical productions since she was a child.

She's performed widely as a soprano with the Waikato Rivertones women's chorus and last year played the lead role of Maria in the Musikmakers production of West Side Story.

Blaire won a New Zealand U18 Aria award for her singing and also holds an Arts Waikato Scholarship. She was the arts leader at Sacred Heart Girls College in Hamilton where she started the Glee Club and was involved in drama and a barbershop group.

Blaire is studying for a Bachelor of Music focusing on vocal performance, and is honoured to be under the tutelage of Dame Malvina Major. She plans to continue performing in opera and musical theatre productions and wants to establish a singing career overseas when she graduates.

Dr Greg Neil completed his doctoral studies in piano at Boston University in 2006. Prior to this he earned an MMus also at Boston University after undergraduate studies at Victoria University in Wellington.

Dr Neil has been a recipient of two Creative New Zealand Professional development grants during his overseas tenure and also received funding from the Tindall Foundation. Whilst in the US, Dr Neil worked at Harvard University, Boston University and the Tanglewood Institute.

This Cathedral Fundraising Concert promises to again to provide enjoyment to people of all faiths and musical interest.

last year's event was a resounding success - watch the video highlights

A few post-Concert videos

Julie South of HaloBiz took some photos - here're her "video memories" of last year's 2012 Concert.

Afterwards - at the Sponsors' Supper - the St Joseph's Maori Girls' Choir delighted the sponsors with an impromptu kapahaka performance:

St Joseph's Maori Girls' Choir - impromptu kapahaka at Sponsors' Supper after Concert

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