Pacific singers in Semi Finals of Lexus Song Quest

Samoan/Niuean/European soprano singer Madison Nonoa, Tongan tenor Filipe Manu and baritone Benson Wilson, of Samoan descent, have each made it to the *Semi Finals of the biennial Lexus Song Quest. Get to know the Pacific singers who will hopefully compete during the Lexus Song Quest Grand Final Gala night in Auckland on 23 July.



Madison Nonoa (Hamilton)



A young soprano from the Waikato, Madison is of Samoan, Niuean and NZ European descent. With 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 studying French and German. A Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist with New Zealand Opera, this year she 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.


Filipe Manu (Auckland)



Born in Australia and of Tongan descent, Filipe moved to New Zealand as a young boy. 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 Aria that same year and in 2015 was 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.


Benson Wilson (Auckland)



Kiwi-born Samoan baritone, 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.


When: 7.30pm, Saturday 23 July 2016 - Auckland Town Hall

Ticket prices: range from $20-85, plus booking fees.

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*When this article first ran on 13 July the three Pacific competitors were auditioning for the semi finals of Lexus Song Quest, not the finals as we reported in error. While all three have now made it in to the finals, that decision was made in Wellington on 17 July. We apologize for any inconvenience our earlier error may have caused