Singing lessons from one of the best

Friday June 03, 2016 Written by Published in Education
Filipe Manu astonished Tereora students with his amazing vocal style. 16060211 Filipe Manu astonished Tereora students with his amazing vocal style. 16060211

A GROUP of Tereora College students had the privilege of learning some key vocal techniques from the visiting tenor opera singer Filipe Manu.


The New Zealand singer, who will be performing on Rarotonga this weekend, ran a workshop with the school’s music students on Wednesday.

Students gathered at the Performing Arts room to learn some singing techniques from Manu.

During the session they practiced constructive singing warm-ups and vocal exercises.

The students were also treated to a performance from Manu, who dazzled everyone with a memorable opera song which left the audience in an awe.

The Tongan singer, who was born in Australia, moved to New Zealand as a young boy.

It was during his school days at Dilworth College in Auckland where he discovered his passion for singing.

“I noticed my friend’s absence from the mathematics class, and asked him where he was during that time,” Manu said.

“He told me that he was sneaking off to classical singing lessons. And since I wasn’t so interested in mathematics, I decided to tag along with my friend.”

Manu said initially he wasn’t ready to venture into opera singing.

He thought it was the domain of an elite group of people, but his perspective changed after he took a closer look at the classical genre.

“I wanted to explore more. I got transformed to a classical singer and it was through the process of learning music that I fell in love with opera,” Manu said.

The rising singer developed his gift further and won a full scholarship to Waikato University where he is now completing postgraduate study.

In 2014, Manu was named the New Zealand Young Performer of the Year for classical voice and he was a finalist in a New Zealand aria contest the same year. 

The tenor also won the Seamus Casey Memorial Award, was named a Dame Malvina Major emerging artist, and won first place in the Waikato Aria Competition in 2015.

Looking back at his accomplishments, the 24-year-old said it had been a “bit of a wild journey.”

“I began with minimal interest in classical music, but once I dug deeper, I realised how much I enjoy it.

“Learning to be a singer doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and effort but if you want it, it’s there for you.

“I feel I owe it to my family and people who have invested in me to make use of the talent that I have been given.

“It is one thing to have talent but it is another thing to put the hard yards in and develop your talent and that’s when you start to see the results.” 

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