28 May 2012
Rebecca Thomson - The Wellingtonian
One listens to rap and hip-hop, the other to blues and country, but both are semifinalists in this year's Lexus Song Quest.
Wellingtonians Bianca Andrew, 22, and Isabella Moore, 21, are among the 12 semi-finalists in the nationwide competition that launched the careers of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Phillip Rhodes and Jonathan Lemalu.
The semifinalists have recorded songs that will be played on Radio New Zealand between July 5 and 14.
Six finalists will be selected to perform with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at the Michael Fowler Centre on August 30.
"We've done the recordings, which are for the semi-final round, and now it's a waiting game until we get notified about who the finalists are," said Andrew.
She grew up listening to her father's country and blues music, but became interested in classical music and opera while at school.
A trip to Paris last year cemented her love of classical music, she said.
"I heard a Chopin ballad, played on a Steinway in Paris' oldest church. It was just divine.
"I was in Paris researching [composer] Francis Poulenc and I went to concerts every night - they were free - and I saw a Wagner opera.
"There was such richness in Paris and it was really diverse."
Back in Wellington, Andrew has started a one-year stint with New Zealand Opera. As one of the company's emerging artists, she is guaranteed a place with the Opera until 2013.
"I've just had my first day. It was intense, but great fun. They're a wonderful bunch of people."
The other Wellingtonian semi-finalist, Isabella Moore, is completing her undergraduate degree at the New Zealand School of Music.
She played the saxophone as a high school student, but said she remembered singing hymns during school assemblies.
"I started to do some classical singing at school. We had a singing group in the third form. Then in the sixth form, instead of playing sax, I decided to concentrate on singing. OK, I actually got kicked out of sax group and they [teachers] told me I had to choose something else, so I decided to sing."
Moore also loved opera, but said she enjoyed all sorts of music.
"I have rap, hip-hop and R'n'B on my iTunes, but opera takes up most of the gigs these days. About 90 per cent of the time I listen to opera."