Soprano Amina Edris from Christchurch, New Zealand has won the 2013 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Operatic Aria Award. Singing Steal Me Sweet Thief from The Old Maid and the Thief by Menotti and Caro Nome from Verdi’s Rigoletto, Edris beat her compatriot from Auckland, baritone James Ioelu into second place. He sang Non piu andrai from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart and O du mein holder Abendstern from Wagner’s Tannhauser.
Amina Edris was born in Egypt and moved to New Zealand with her family at the age of 10. She studied at Canterbury University in New Zealand under Dame Malvina Major and now studies with Dennis O’Neill at the Welsh International Academy of Voice. James Ioelu is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Maitland Peters.
Adjudicators Beverley Bergen and Stuart Maunder AM chose from a strong lone-up for whom bel canto repertoire was the choice for the evening as the eight finalists Rachel Bate, Brenton Spiteri, Jade Moffat, Regina Daniel, Marlene Devoe and Eleanor Greenwood vied to demonstrate their technique and versatility. Pianist Sharolyn Kimmorley accompanied the winners during their first presentation and the North Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven Hillinger accompanied the singers for the second round.
Each finalist won $1000, with James Ioelu winning $5,000 and Amina Edris winning more than $43,000 in prizes, including $5,000 in cash, a $35,000 scholarship and upto $3,000 in fares to undertake study overseas.