How did you become interested in opera singing?
It took a while for me to enjoy opera singing. I wasn't an instant fan when I was first introduced to classical music. It wasn't till I was a part of the fantastic youth initiative Project Prima Volta where I was in the chorus for a few operas, that I started to become fond of the art form. Through the programme, I learned valuable skills, and as I opened up to opera, I started to appreciate it more. I definitely love singing opera.
Performance highlights so far?
*Ihitai ‘Avei’a - The Star Navigator by Tim Finn with New Zealand Opera 2022
*Sharing the Dream - Celebrating Dame Malvina Major with Festival Opera 2022
*La Traviata with Wellington Opera 2022
*Graduation 11th December 2022 performance with ALOFA
*New Zealand Aria Finals 2022
*Katherine and Emmanuel’s Honours Recital 2022
*Liebeslieder with Festival Opera 2019
*Silver Ferns anthems with ALOFA 2019
*Madama Butterfly with Festival Opera 2018
Photo © Tony Whitehead
Photo © Charles Brooks
What are you looking forward to about being part of TANZOS?
I am very much looking forward to having more specific lessons tailored to my voice. I am at a point where I understand my voice better, but I still need a ton of work. I'm excited about this because I can now have lessons and coaching that are specific and tailored to my voice. I am also happy that I will be surrounded by teachers who are professionals and good friends. Learning from the staff is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I plan to soak up as much as possible from them! I am also looking forward to the international artists coming to New Zealand. I understand that these people are strongly involved in the opera world and are connected to prestigious schools,
conservatories and companies, which would be great if I made connections with them.
What are your career hopes following TANZOS?
Following TANZOS, I hope to better understand the ropes of the career. That I can know my worth. I want to be at a point where I feel that what I am delivering is valuable, and I can feel confident when I sell myself. I want to audition for young artist programmes overseas, find a teacher I mesh well with, and continue learning about my voice.
Emmanuel is supported by The Dame Malvina Major Foundation
Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono is a twenty-four-year-old Samoan tenor from Flaxmere, Hastings. He started singing at home in family prayer and church, learning hymns in the choir. Emmanuel is currently a Dame Malvina Major Studio Artist for 2022.
Over the years, Emmanuel has been an active member of Hawke’s Bay Youth Initiative “Project Prima Volta,” – a music programme that helps empower young people through the art of classical music. He won the DMMF Waikato Aria in 2021. He was selected to participate in the NZ Opera School in Whanganui in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, where he was awarded the DMMF Scholarship Award and the Susie and Guy Haddleton Emerging Artist Scholarship. Emmanuel just recently won the Lockwood New Zealand Aria Competition 2022.
Earlier this year, Emmanuel stepped up to sing the role of Alfredo for Wellington Opera’s “La Traviata” season. He was a Lexus Song Quest finalist winning the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Scholarship for Potential. Emmanuel played the role of Malcolm in New Zealand Opera’s production of Macbeth and is looking forward to playing the role of Tupaia in Tim Finn’s ‘Avei’a – The Star Navigator.
Emmanuel wishes to study in the U.S and hopes to be a role model to influence the youth of all cultures to tap into the beautiful art of Classical Music.