2019 Artist in Residence

The New Zealand Singing School Trust is pleased to announce that Amici Forever founder Geoff Sewell is coming to Napier as the Artist in Residence for the January 2019 New Zealand Singing School.

Geoff, who was raised in Hawkes Bay, is a multi-platinum selling recording artist who achieved international commercial success through popera group Amici Forever.

Trained at The Boston Conservatory of Music in America, Geoff went on to perform on the West End in London and created entertainment company, Incognito Artists, of which he is now Global CEO.

After performing at the FA Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Wales, Geoff and Simone created the world’s first multi-platinum selling, pop-opera group Amici Forever, which sold over 3.5 million albums worldwide and had two No.1 albums.

Geoff will mentor the 70-80 Singing School students during his time in Napier and will also perform at public concerts with the School’s students at concert venues in Hawkes Bay.

Geoff Sewell

Newspaper review of Geoff Sewell and Bravo Amici’s performance in Iowa, USA, on 10 March 2018:

Grand Night – Christine Wiese

Bach has been quoted as saying, “The great object of music is to touch the heart.”.  Bravo Amici, in concert at Holstein last week, did all that and more.  In point of fact, they nearly shattered the audience’s capacity for sheer happiness.  Such an exalted state of being can only be reached if a person is willing to accept what is offered openly and unconditionally.  Listeners who were lucky enough to be in the Clausen Center that night opened their minds as well as their ears.

Folks came to see Bravo Amici with little, if any, preconceived notions of what they were about to experience. The ensemble was billed as a “crossover group with a distinctive way of interpreting classic, pop, and opera offerings”.  They had coalesced from such divergent locations as London, New York, and New Zealand to present a new musical genre they call “pop opera”.

What they gifted the audience with was, indeed, a crossover into a whole new musical dimension.  Three tenors and two divas equalled five on the stage.  Five – the magical number from numerology which signifies, “Freedom”.  Freedom from established rules of order and hide-bound ideas.  Their contained bit of vocal volatility about blew the assemblage out of the auditorium; it certainly did blow their minds.  Bravo Amici’s sound is that intense.

“The world will be better for this…” they sang (from “Man of La Mancha”) and it was like a prophesy summing up the next two hours.  What a brilliant performance – pop music saturated with bravura; Broadway songs sung a la opera; opera offered for Every Man rather than the black tie crowd.

One of the night’s highlights was the seduction song from Bizet’s “Carmen” crooned to a lucky gentleman by the delightful divas.  This was followed up by “Happy Birthday” done as a variation on an operatic theme.  Now that’s a natal day he won’t easily forget!

Then there was “Unchained Melody” sung in Italian as well as the drinking song from Verdi’s “La Traviata”.  The first mentioned was terrific but the latter was simply stupendous.  A person wouldn’t have thought the walls could have withstood all the whistles and shouts of acclamation – there are, after all, more than a few beer drinkers in the local environs.  However, they held and the concert went on.

Intermission brought relative calm but it didn’t last long.  Solos by each of the Amicis included pieces from “West Side Story, “Les Miserables”, “Phantom of the Opera”, one made famous by the great Caruso, and “How Great Thou Art” sung partially in Maori.  Each one was a thing of heart stopping beauty.

The show concluded with “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot”.  Sleep?  Who could sleep after a night like this?  It was grand.  Kudos to the Clausen Center Board for bringing Bravo Amici to town.  In words of one syllable, “They.  Were.  Great!”.

Fellowship Award

Congratulations to Dr Phillip Norman, our 2017 Composer in Residence – 2017 winner of the prestigious Michael King Fellowship:

Classical and Musical Theatre Vocal Masterclasses

In partnership with the UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO, two very successful masterclasses ran concurrently on 15 June 2017 at the Havelock North Function Centre.

The New Zealand Singing School Trust in partnership with the University of Otago organised the two masterclasses which were tutored by Otago’s William Evans Associate Professor of Voice, Judy Bellingham, and Professional Practice Fellow in Performance Voice, Arlie McCormick.

Nine enthusiastic Hawkes Bay singing students received expert tuition from Judy and Arlie.

Thanks to the University of Otago for partnering with the NZ Singing School to deliver these masterclasses.

2017 Easter Aria Competition

The New Zealand Singing School sponsored the Napier Performing Arts 2017 Easter Aria Competition.

Read the media article here.