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The McCormick Opera Award

Presented by Perpetual Guardian and Auckland Opera Studio

Perpetual Guardian Foundation has partnered with Auckland Opera Studio to run a major New Zealand Aria contest. The contest which will be known as 'The McCormick' and comes from a legacy of Patricia McCormick a private individual with a deep love of opera. This has allowed the Trustees to establish an annual scholarship award for young New Zealand singers to study offshore. It will be one of the more significant New Zealand contests and in its initial year (2018) it will carry a winner’s prize of $20,000. A second prize of $7,000 and third prize of $3,000 will also be awarded. A further prize of $2,000 will also be awarded to a singer, who in the judge’s opinion, has demonstrated particular promise and potential. This may be awarded to any entrant. All those singers who are finalists but not prizewinners will receive an award of $200.

This is a contest specifically for New Zealand citizens and residents aged between 18-32 on the 26th July 2019.

Entries for the 2019 competition open May 1st.

Please note that the organisers of the McCormick Aria Competition have adjusted the closing date for entries to the competition. Entries will now close at 5:00 pm on 9th August.


Please download and complete the forms below and return to 'The McCormick Opera Award', PO Box 28245 Remuera, Auckland 1541 or email to

2019 Application Form

2019 Conditions of entry

The Judges

Patricia Price

British-born Patricia Price has worked with many of the world's greatest singers and conductors in repertoire encompassing most of the standard concert repertoire together with much contemporary and avant garde music. In Europe she performed many world premieres , most notably works of Sir John Tavener . After winning the Katheen Ferrier prize at the 'sHertogenbosch International Vocal Concours she was regularly invited to appear as a recitalist. Patricia performed with many renowned accompanists including Paul Hamburger, Rudolf Jansen and the great Australian accompanist Geoffrey Parsons. She first met Graham Johnson at the inaugural

Britten-Pears Summer School at Aldeburgh. Patricia’s European operatic debut came with the title role of Rossini’s Tancredi in France, with a subsequent recording that was the world premiere recording of this

opera. The offer of a contract in Mannheim, Germany, followed and then her debuts with Glyndebourne, Welsh National Opera Scottish Opera, Netherlands Opera and, in 1983, the Australian Opera. After a very successful performing career Patricia began directing her energies towards creating possibilities for the next generation of opera stars, with key academic roles at the University of Sydney’s National Voice Centre. She recently retired after eleven years as the Head of Vocal Studies and Opera at the Western Academy of Performing Arts. Patricia is now Artistic Director of the Melbourne International Festival of Lieder and Art Song and Vocal Consultant to the Masters in Opera Performance, Melbourne University.

Andrew Dalton

Andrew Dalton won the ABC’s Instrumental and Vocal Competition (now the Young Performers Awards) and continued his studies in London. Since then, he has toured extensively throughout Europe, appearing at most major festivals including Munich, Berlin, Paris, Edinburgh and Salzburg, and has undertaken concert tours in Australia, the Far East and USA (with the Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble).


His opera performances have similarly taken him throughout Europe and include:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Linz, Lubeck, Karlsruhe, Basel and Cologne)

Death in Venice (Scottish Opera and Geneva)

Ariodante (Theatre des Champs Elysees, Paris)

L’Egisto (Scottish Opera)

Rodrigo (Innsbruck)

Agrippina (La Fenice, Venice)

Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze di Teatrali (La Fenice, Venice)

Orfeo (Geneva)

Belshazzar (Lausanne)

Il ritorno d’Ulisse (Avignon and Lausanne)

Fetonte (La Scala, Milan)

Messiah (Covent Garden)

In 1991 Andrew Dalton returned to live in Australia. Since then, he has appeared with Opera Australia in Death in Venice; Il coronazione di Poppea; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and in the highly acclaimed production of Handel’s Julius Caesar. He has given concerts with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and performed with all the Symphony Australia Orchestras and has made several internationally acclaimed recordings (for BIS, EMI and ETCETERA labels) including solo recitals of Henry Purcell and John Dowland. His television appearances have included the title role in Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista for Swedish Television; a film on the life of Queen Christina (which won the Prix Italia Award); a documentary on Handel for Granada Television; and Opera Australia’s production of Julius Caesar. He has held teaching positions at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music; Music Department of the University of Queensland; and Head of Voice at ANU, Canberra.

Teaching Philosophy:  Through the role of teacher, we continually take inspiration, understanding and insight from the individuality of our students. There are muscles; application of personal responsibility; and instinct, which, when in alignment, become the core components of the singer’s skills. The performer evolves, guided through a process of empowerment and conviction of interpreting text and music with their own ‘blue-print’ of authenticity.


Creativity takes courage – Henri Matisse


2018 Winner: Madison Nonoa

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