Chanson de la mort
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama Award (2015)
2016 Lexus Song Quest Winner (2016)
Born in New Zealand of Samoan descent, Benson Wilson, baritone, completed his BMus (Hons) at the end of 2014 at the University of Auckland, where his teachers were Dr. Te Oti Rakena and Rosemary Barnes. Earlier this year, Benson debuted in his first principal operatic role as Schaunard in Puccini’s “La Boheme” with Festival Opera in Napier, New Zealand. In the finals of the prestigious Lexus Song Quest, Benson won the first prize which put his name next to some of the greatest New Zealand opera singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dame Malvina Major and Jonathan Lemalu. Last year, he was a finalist in three major singing competitions; the North Shore Aria, the New Zealand Aria in Rotorua and the Lexus Song Quest. He won third prize in the New Zealand Aria and was particularly thrilled to be awarded second prize in the biennial Lexus Song Quest, New Zealand’s most prestigious singing competition. He also sang the demanding role of Des Grieux in Opera Factory’s production of The Portrait of Manon by Massenet. As a chorister he performed with the Chapmann Tripp Opera Chorus for New Zealand Opera’s production of Tristan und Isolde, and for Auckland Opera Studio’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Benson has sung with the New Zealand Secondary Student’s Choir, and toured to Canada and the United States with the New Zealand Youth Choir. In 2013 he received a cultural grant from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland. In 2015, Benson sang the Bass 1 role in Handel’s “Israel in Egypt” and also sang the the Bass solo part in Handel’s Messiah. His attendance at the New Zealand Opera School gave him the opportunity to work with the internationally renowned baritone Hakan Haggegard and also the internationally renowned coach Paul Farrington. In the finals of the IFAC Australian Singing Competition 2015, Benson walked away with 3 major prizes, one which included the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Award which will allow him to study in London, at Guildhall in 2016. Another prize that Benson won was a scholarship to the International Vocal Arts Institute New York summer programme where he will get the opportunity to work with coaches and artists from the Metropolitan Opera House. Benson has taken his place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and looks at completing his masters this year.
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