Moore success for Auckland singer

OVERWHELMING: Isabella Moore wins the song quest.
OVERWHELMING: Isabella Moore wins the song quest.

Matching her boyfriend and becoming the third straight Samoan winner was icing on the cake for Isabella Moore at the Lexus Song Quest last night.

The 23-year-old soprano from West Auckland took out the competition of New Zealand's best young opera singers, two years after her partner Amitai Pati won the award.

Moore flew back from Wales for the event, having recently finished a Masters in Advanced Vocal Performance at the Wales International Academy of Voice.

She said it was overwhelming to take out the top prize - which includes a Study Scholarship of $15,000, and $10,000 cash.

"I was really happy with my performance and it was pretty nerve-wracking waiting to hear the name of the winner, but I'm absolutely thrilled."

In 2009 the contest was won by Samoan singer Aivale Cole, before Moore's partner Pati won in 2012.

Runner-up in this year's competition was fellow Samoan Baritone Benson Wilson, who scored a $10,000 study scholarship and $8000 cash.

Christian Thurston from Rotorua took out third place.

Head judge Kathryn Harries said the standard of opera singers in the final was of an exceptional standard - and it was close among all six finalists.

She said Moore stood out for the combination of vocal technique, expressiveness and her x-factor.

The Song Quest has helped launch the careers of some of New Zealand's leading opera stars including Dames Kiri Te Kanawa, Malvina Major and Jonathan Lemalu.