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2017 Productions involving Opera North


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A classic afternoon with Kawiti Waetford together with members of the Opera North chorus conducted by Joan Kennaway, soloists from Opera North and also featuring Ridge Ponini and Alex Lee. Two downpours of rain did not dent the enthusiasm of the audience for this outdoor concert held in the natural amphitheatre of the garden of Dave and Debi Brown in Waipu Cove, Whangarei.




Members of Opera North joined the Whangarei Choral Society for this highly appreciated concert production.



Several members of Opera North were involved in this very successful production put on by The Whangarei Theatre Company. Caitlin Morris played the role of Dorothy in two matinee performances.

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Daffodil Variety Concert

2nd August 2017

The third show produced by Opera North to generate funds for Domain Lodge was a sell-out. Members of Opera North were joined by Brioso Corde, the M&M's, Whangarei Youth Choir, The Coastal Singers as well as Kawiti Waetford, Shaan Antunovich, Sophie Sparrow and Juan Kim. The diverse evening of entertainment provided the audience with a thoroughly enjoyable evening in support of a worthy cause.

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Northland Performing Arts Competitions

22nd to 24th September 2017

Members of Opera North had a memorable weekend at the Whangarei Performing Arts Competitions, scooping the pool in many of the classes.

Students of singing teachers who are also members of Opera North, also did extremely well, with Emma Couper's students gaining two 1sts, five 2nds, six 3rds and Lisbe Jooste's students gaining fourteen 1sts, fourteen 2nds and 6 trophys.

Northland Vocal Senior Championship

(Hosking Cup) was won by Phoebe Robertson who also won the Viti Levu Cup, The Nadeau Cup, the Wallace Cup, the Judith Spring Cup, the Frank Edgar Memorial Trophy and the Judith Ann Durham Memorial Trophy & Award.

Heather Blythe Cup

Highest mark under 16 years was won by Harriette Baxter.

The Woods Cup

Was won by Samuel Parry


Greenwood Cup

For Junior Vocal Group was won by The Tweeters with Lisbe Jooste’s Whangarei Youth choir coming 2nd.




Junior Section placings

Amy Wallace-one commended, one 2nd, Caitlin Morris-two HC’s, one 3rd, Jack Trubshaw-one 1st two 2nds two 3rds one VHC one HC, Keisha Morris-one 2nd one 3rd one VHC one HC, Laura Parry-one HC one commended, Samuel Parry-one 2nd one VHC one commended, Will Trubshaw-four 1sts one 3rd one VHC.


Senior Section placings

Christina Lange-one VHC one HC, Dean Alsop-two 2nds two 3rds one VHC.

Saturday 11th March 2017

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Due to the very inclement weather and for the first time in its history, Opera in the Garden could not be held at the Kennaway's orchard. Instead the venue was moved to the Kensington Stadium in Whangarei where more than 1000 people packed in to listen to the concert.

Whangarei-born tenor Kawiti Waetford was the guest artist for the second time and thrilled the audience with his dynamic stage presence and his glorious voice. A multi-talented opera singer and performer and ex-pupil of Joan Kennaway, Kawiti recently graduated with a Masters degree in Advanced Vocal Studies from the Wales International Academy of Voice, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, under acclaimed Welsh tenor Dennis O’Neill. 

Of New Zealand Maori descent, he has been mentored by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and has performed with her at numerous national and international engagements. He has also performed for Their Royal Highnesses Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Henry of Wales, and has attended Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

As Joan Kennaway was led to the podium by her husband Rick and great-grandchildren Poppy and Violet Wilde, the audience rose in a spontaneous standing ovation. The concert felt more like a party as the Opera North Chorus, Kawiti and soloists sang music from the Magic Flute, Eugene Onegin, and La Traviata. Kawiti sang romantic Neopolitan songs and the Spanish song Granada before joining the Opera North Chorus and Bronwyn Kennaway for the Act 1 Finale of The Merry Widow. An unexpected addition to the programme and special treat for everybody, was the duet of Kawiti and Joan Kennaway singing The Merry Widow Waltz, which led to another standing ovation and not many dry eyes. Lisbe Jooste with the Opera North Men's Chorus, sang a beautiful La Vergine degli Angeli from The Forice of Destiny and the first half ended with the dramatic Polovtsian Dances from Borodin's Prince Igor.

During the interval a giant 21st Birthday Cake was wheeled out, ceremoniously cut by Joan and Rick Kennaway.

The usual blend of peacock coloured outfits for the Chorus dramatically changed to those of the glittering Flapper Era to complement the Roaring Twenties Medley which opened the second half. The Jazzy Ain't Misbehaving was then sung by Tracey Barnier-Willis followed by Kawiti singing the glorious Seranade from The Student Prince. A rousing excerpt from Col Porter's Anything Goes preceded Kawiti singing Maria from West Side Story before he was joined by Sophie Sparrow (also an ex pupil of Joan Kennaway) for the haunting One Hand One Heart. Joan's Tweeters, all dressed in Flapper costumes, sang a medley from Annie and Phoebe Robertson contributed Gimme Gimme from Thoroughly Moden Millie. Kawiti joined the Chorus for a medley from the haunting show Ragtime and the second half concluded with highlights from Show Boat including the chorus joining Rick Kennaway in his powerful rendition of Ole Man River for which he received a standing ovation.

After the formal presentations at the end of the concert, the audience again arose for a third standing ovation. As the audience left, pieces of the birthday cake were available to take away as a wonderful momento of a very special concert.