The New Zealand School of Music website reveals that Wellington soprano Barbara Graham has won important French music prizes, not long after her arrival to study and audition in Paris.
Soprano Barbara Graham , an alumnus of NZSM, won both the French Melodie Prize and First Prize in the Festival de Musique et de langue français – des mots et des notes – a competition for French language and music in Paris. With nine singers in the final, eight of them French, this was quite a coup for the Kiwi girl! Barbara was invited to stay on and sing a concert with a Parisian orchestra and will give two more Paris concerts with the orchestra in January. One of the judges told her that her French was better than the French singers!
Barbara also came second in the big Symphonie d’Automne competition in Macon with judges including Rudolph Piernay and Teresa Berganza. She didn’t realise she had won something until she heard her name, walked out on stage and was handed some wine and an envelope marked ‘Second’. She said she nearly dropped onto the floor with surprise.
As NZSM Classical Voice tutor Richard Greager points out: “With literally thousands of sopranos vying for recognition in Europe, for Barbara to achieve these results is quite simply outstanding.”