Project Prima Volta
Each year 30 teenagers from entirely diverse backgrounds are accepted for a year- long programme of coaching and mentoring culminating in their performance in a fully staged classical opera. Training together for up to eight hours a week, they work alongside international and homegrown industry professionals as well as local performers and volunteers. Their hard work culminates in the unique experience of creating supportive roles in a major opera production, during the Tremains Art Deco Festival.
Each year PPV students also present their very own opera as part of the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival in October. The focus extends from singing and stage performance, to backstage skills required to run a successful production. Along the way, the teenagers develop leadership, respect, trust, problem solving, self-reliance, teamwork, resilience and self-confidence.
There is a ripple effect as they find common ground with the adult performers, developing friendships and being part of a collective success. Since its conception, we now see students more focused on a pathway once their school life is complete. Several alumni each year audition (always successfully) and go on to study music at university, with some of them being the first from their wider family to attend tertiary study. It stands to reason that not every PPV graduate will go on to become a Pavarotti or a Dame Malvina Major, or even a member of Sol3 Mio. But, in the end, that’s not what Project Prima Volta is about.