The Lexus Song Quest has discovered the great singers of today. Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Dame Malvina Major, Jonathan Lemalu, and Sol3 Mio’s Amitai Pati – they are all previous Lexus Song Quest winners who now grace the opera stages of the world. In 2016 the stakes had never been higher, with $85,000 in prizes to be won.
Winner of the 2016 Lexus Song Quest.
Benson Wilson completed his Bachelor of Music with honours at the end of 2014 at the University of Auckland. Earlier this year, he debuted in his first principal operatic role as Schaunard in La Boheme with Festival Opera in Napier. In 2014, while still a student, he came second in the Lexus Song Quest, while last year he was third in the New Zealand Aria Competition and a finalist in the North Shore Aria Competition. In the finals of last year’s IFAC Australian Singing Competition, Benson won three major prizes, one of which allows him to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
2016 Lexus Song Quest runner-up.
Filipe holds an ATCL Diploma through Trinity College London and is completing postgraduate study at the University of Waikato as a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar. Filipe has been a student at the New Zealand Opera School since 2013 and was named 2014’s New Zealand Young Performer of the Year. He was a finalist in the New Zealand that same year and in 2015 was Aria named a Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera. Filipe regularly sings in the New Zealand Opera Chorus and has sung lead tenor roles in the Barber of Seville and the Elixir of Love in the company’s schools adapted productions.
2016 Lexus Song Quest third place-getter.
Madison has a Bachelor of Music with first-class honours from the University of Auckland. She is a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholar at the University of Waikato, where she is studying French and German. A Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, she this year performs Papagena in The Magic Flute. She is a former member of the New Zealand Youth Choir, an alumna of the New Zealand Opera School and New Zealand Singing School and has been a finalist and winner of many aria competitions around the country. In the 2014 Lexus Song Quest, Madison was the youngest semi-finalist and RNZ Concert Listeners’ Choice Award winner.
2016 Lexus Song Quest fourth place-getter.
Voice: Bass Baritone
After singing lead and supporting roles with Auckland’s Opera Factory, in 2010 Tavis won the Becroft Operatic Aria category in the North Shore singing competitions, which granted him entry to the McDonald’s Operatic Aria Competition in Sydney, where he reached the quarter-finals. A few years later he placed third in the final of the New Zealand Aria Competition. At present he sings with the New Zealand Opera Chorus and performs in concerts around New Zealand while holding down a professional business position at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.