Opera star takes on busy Manhattan
Just like the song says, everything changed for Amelia Berry in a New York minute – well, 10 minutes, to be precise.
The budding Titahi Bay opera star is moving to New York in September after landing a coveted place on the Manhattan School of Music’s masters programme.
Berry, 22, flew to New York in March for a 10-minute audition at the school, and had a tense month-long wait before hearing she had been accepted.
The two-year degree will fasttrack Miss Berry on the path to becoming a professional singer.
‘‘It’s a fantastic school. I’ve heard great things about it from people in the business,’’ she says.
It’s not just the reputation of the school, but also the chance to live in a buzzing metropolis that spurred her to apply.
‘‘I just really want to explore New York.’’
While she was auditioning in March, Berry managed to catch a couple of shows at the Metropolitan Opera, which sealed her love for the city.
‘‘ It was just totally mindblowing,’’ she says.
The only obstacle to taking up her place is money – fees are US$33,000 (NZ$40,000) a year, and living costs will be $22,000 a year.
Berry so impressed the Manhattan audition panel that she was awarded a US$10,000 President’s Award scholarship, but she is hoping to make up the remaining $ 100,000 through further scholarships and donations through her website.
‘‘ Everything helps, pretty much.’’
Berry’s musical career started at Tawa College, where she sang in the school’s 200-strong choir.
An interest in classical music soon developed, and she discovered her voice was particularly suited to it.
‘‘I think I’d probably make a terrible pop singer.’’
She went on to complete a first-class honours degree in music performance at Victoria University.
Learning new languages is part of what attracts Berry to opera – she has sung in Italian, German, French, Russian, Czech, and always picks up a bit of the language along the way.
Her dream role would be playing Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata.
‘‘A lot of opera heroines are these downtrodden victims. She’s got something real to her.’’
This ‘‘real’’ quality in people is something Berry says she will miss about New Zealand when she’s living in America.
‘‘[New Zealand] is laid back and really chilled out. At least I’ll take that with me, teach them a few things.’’
Dreaming of Manhattan: $100,000 stands between opera singer Amelia Berry and her dream of studying in New York.