Singer set for northern tour   5 Jul 2005

By Erica Fosbender

Veteran on the New Zealand opera scene Gina Sanders is set to dazzle London with a concert this month.

Sanders, a soprano, will be performing with fellow Kiwi cellist and her "talented cousin" Sarah McDowell in the one-off show before heading to Jersey then to Rimini, Italy, for a tribute concert, another two in Italy then finally Stuttgart.

But the London concert will have its own flavour.

"The theme is LondoNZ Charms – why so many Kiwis are drawn to this great city along with all the famous composers whose works we are presenting.

"So it will have a broad appeal with some rarities that may have never been heard in London.

Sanders’ career has been well recognised from the outset.

In 1988 she won the most promising New Zealand singer in the Royal Overseas League annual competition. In 1994 she was awarded a scholarship from the English National Opera to attend the Brereton International Singing Symposium near Chester – during that time she gave a variety of recitals including one at St James’ in London.

She also won a Rotary International scholarship to study in Europe, she returned to New Zealand, which was part of the scholarship conditions, and while planning to return to Europe ended up having a family.

Although New Zealand is not Europe, Sanders got plenty of work upon her return, which further nourished her career.

Now her children are older, Sanders can return to the northern hemisphere.

For the past three years she has taken up offers in Europe and the UK to perform.

Last year she was invited to join an opera agency in Italy, which subsequently set up this year’s performance in Italy.

And teaming up with her cousin, who she taught to sing, is something they’re both looking forward to.

McDowell studies post-graduate cello at the Royal College of Music and will be plying both the cello and violin and sing some duets with Sanders.

A further string to her extensive bow is conducting the St Michael and All Angels junior choir, which will also be involved with the performance.

It’s fair to say audience expectations are slightly different to those in New Zealand.

"I have always found UK audiences to be discerning and appreciative of quality – we hope we can aspire to meet their expectations."

* LondoNZ Charms is on July 15 at St Michael and All Angels church (Bedford Park, W4 1TX) 8pm. Entry is by donation, which will go to charity. For more information visit

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