New Zealand soprano Anna Leese.
New Zealand's Anna Leese has already had considerable experience of appearing on stage, which must have helped her get through the challenge of being the first competitor in the first concert round. As if that were not enough, she was appearing in front of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, fellow Kiwi and singing heroine to all. No pressure then! Actually, there was no sign of pressure for Anna. Her opening aria, Rusalka's Song to the Moon, was a lovely start and her dress was perfect - the lustre of cream satin, the pleat detail on the bodice, the length of her skirt, finishing with a small train. Anna gave us a wide range roles to enjoy but particularly lovely was Mimi's parting with Rodolfo, exquisitely sad and sung with restrained dignity
Photo: Brian Tarr. Text: Maggi Willis