As a founding member of Opera Factory, Wade Kernot performed roles in Orpheus in the Underworld, Cheryomushki and A Christmas Carol. In 2003, he joined the NBR New Zealand Opera for productions of Boris Godounov and Tosca. He also performed the role of the Speaker and Sarastro in productions of Die Zauberflöte and was a PwC Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist at the NBR New Zealand Opera. Wade was awarded the 2008 Patricia Pratt Scholarship in Music Performance, and was a semi-finalist representing NZ in both the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and the Neue Stimmen, in Germany, as well as a runner-up in the Lexus Song Quest.
From 2010-2015 Wade held a full-time principal position at Theater St Gallen, Switzerland, where his roles included Monterone (Rigoletto), the Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen), Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Zuniga (Carmen), Père Laurent (Roméo et Juliette), Gubetta (Lucrezia Borgia), Jacopo Loredano (I due Foscari), Wotan/Wanderer (Siegfried) in concert, Truffaldino (Ariadne auf Naxos), Il Pedone di Schnals (La Wally), Commendatore (Don Giovanni), Melisso (Alcina), Méphistophélès (La Damnation de Faust), Sarastro, Sprecher, Erster Priester and Zweiter Geharnischter (Die Zauberflöte), Sam (Un Ballo in Maschera), the main bass roles in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, Frank (Die Fledermaus) Comte des Grieux (Manon), 1st Nazarene (Salome), and Handwerkbursche (Wozzeck). Wade has also sung Pogner and the role of Nachtwächter (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) at the Tirolean Festspiele in Erl.
In recent seasons Wade has performed Zuniga in Carmen and Sarastro in The Magic Flute for New Zealand Opera; Angelotti (Tosca), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Arthur (The Riders), and Nourabad (The Pearl Fishers) for West Australian Opera; Mother in Seven Deadly Sins (Kurt Weill) at Sydney Conservatorium, and Fred in a new work Brass Poppies, by Ross Harris, (libretto by Vincent O’Sullivan), for New Zealand Festival in both Wellington and Auckland. Upcoming engagements include the role of Masetto (Don Giovanni) for West Australian Opera.
Other engagements have included the bass role in Stravinsky's Pulcinella for the Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany; the bass roles in the IFANZ/Opera de Lyon season of a Kurt Weill double bill; Colline (La Bohème), Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Marchese (La Traviata) and Sciarrone (Tosca) for New Zealand Opera; Ferrando (Il trovatore), Speaker (The Magic Flute) and Zuniga (Carmen) for Southern Opera, New Zealand.
Wade has appeared as a soloist in many concert performances with the New Zealand Symphony, and Vector Wellington and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras, and held a principal position with the Australian Opera Studio in Perth, later graduating with honours. During his two-year contract, his performances included Truffaldino, the title role (Elijah), Crespel, Luther, and Coppelius (Les contes d'Hoffmann), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Colas (Bastien und Bastienne), Comte des Grieux and Sarastro. He then pursued further studies at the National Opera Studio in London and attended the Solti/Te Kanawa Accademia di Bel Canto and the Verbier Festival Opera Studio.