Elisha Hulton makes song quest semifinal

00:00, May 29 2014
BIG CHANCE: Elisha Hulton.

A Palmerston North singer has been named as a semifinalist in the Lexus Song Quest - the same competition that launched the career of her famous teacher Dame Malvina Major.

Mezzo soprano Elisha Hulton said she was ecstatic to have made it through to the semifinals, for which she has just finished recording a programme of four arias.

"The arias will be aired by Radio New Zealand Concert next month, then judged and from there six singers will be chosen for the finals," she said.

"There will be a listeners' choice too, which is great because it just gives somebody another chance."

Twenty-eight-year-old Hulton is Samoan born and grew up in Palmerston North, attending Carncot School and Palmerston North Girls' High. She is living in Rotorua with her husband and 7-year-old daughter. Being trained by Major was a huge honour.

"She took the world by storm. She is a woman who knows what she wants from me and doesn't give up till she gets it. I want to give back the way she does, she is so passionate and inspirational."


Hulton said her musicality was rooted heavily in her Samoan upbringing and her supportive family.

"I grew up singing in our church. That's where I really got my spiritual connection with the music, it embodies what I do. I also love to deliver the message of the words, they are so beautiful and I want to touch an audience."

The Lexus Song Quest has been running since 1956 and has seen opera singers such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Jonathon Lemalu winning the contest in previous years. Amitai Pati won in the last Song Quest in 2012 and has gone on to become one third of Sol3 Mio, whose debut record went platinum and became New Zealand's biggest selling album last year.

The semifinalist's arias can be heard on the Radio New Zealand Concert programme on June 5, 7, 12 and 14.

Listeners will be able to vote for their favourite, with the finalists being announced on June 14.

The finals will be held at the Auckland Town Hall on July 26.

Manawatu Standard