OFFICIAL PRESS BIOGRAPHY

 

Benjamin Fifita Makisi was born in Wellington, NZ and is of Tongan and Samoan descent. He began singing at a young age with the Tongan Wesley Methodist church choir in Wellington. He graduated with a Master of Performance (Opera) with High Distinction from the University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music and a Bachelor of Music (Performance) from Victoria University Wellington. He had also received his tutoring in New York, London and in Italy.
 
He was a semi-finalist at the Vinãs Concourso Internationale in Barcelona, Spain 2005. He was the winner of the prestigious Sydney McDonalds Eisteddfod Aria in 2002. He was winner of the NZ Aria (Rotorua) in 2001. He was awarded creative arts NZ Iosefa Enari Memorial Award in 2002.
 
His concert performances include performances with Operatunity ‘Viva Italia’ NZ Tour and Operatif in Brisbane, Australia; Government House Dominion Post Summer Pops 2012; Government House Gardens Auckland 2011; The Tenor Soloist in BRITTENS Les Illuminations for Wellington Vector Orchestra 2009; the Third Jew in Salome by STRAUSS with the Auckland Philharmonia 2008; Christchurch Symphony Orchestra Opera Gala in 2007.

 

He recently performed the role of Abdallo in Nabucco by VERDI for Auckland Philharmonia Ochestra – Opera in Concert and Leicester in Maria Stuarda by DONIZETTI for Days Bay Opera, Wellington; the Narrator in Berlioz L'enfance du Christe for Bach Musica Viva in Auckland; St Nicholas by BRITTEN for Nota Bene in Wellington; the Tenor Soloist in Carmina Burana by ORFF for Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Conte Libenskof in The Journey to Rheims by ROSSINI for Days Bay Opera 2010; Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor by DONIZETTI for Opera Australia 2008; Pang in Turandot by PUCCINI and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor by DONIZETTI for NBR NZ Opera 2007; Ferrando in Cosi Fan Tutte by MOZART 2004 and Count Almaviva in Barber of Seville by ROSSINI 2003 for NBR NZ Opera Tour. He also performed the role of Prisoner/Muleteer/Turkish Moor alongside Anthony Warlow and Caroline O'Connor in the musical Man of La Mancha by WASSERMAN 2002

 

He has performed for TVNZ Media Awards, Westfield Style Pasifika, NZ Pacific Island Sports Award, NZ Samoan Sports Awards and has sung the National Anthem for the All Blacks.
 
He has performed alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and has performed with Dame Malvina Major, Sir Donald McIntyre and the Late Sir Howard Morrison. He had also sung for the State funeral of Sir Edmund Hillary broadcasted all around the world.

 

Benjamin has also travelled extensively and performed in concerts in New York, London, Tuscany, Barcelona, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Pacific Islands.

 

Benjamin is now based in London and is currently a Guest Entertainer on Carnival UK Cruises travelling around the world.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS & AWARDS

 

2005                Semi Finalist      Francesco Viñas Int’l Concourso           Barcelona, Spain

                        Recipient           Willi Fels Memorial Award                    New Zealand

          

2003                Recipient           Wellington PI Peoples Arts Award         Wellington, NZ

                        Recipient           Willi Fels Memorial Award                    New zealand    

 

2002                Recipient           Iosefa Enari Memorial Award               New Zealand

                        Winner              McDonalds Aria Competition                Sydney, Australia

                        Recipient           Willi Fels Memorial Award                    New Zealand

 

2001                Winner              Lockwood Aria Competition                  Rotorua, NZ

                        Recipient           Willi Fels Memorial Award                     New Zealand    

 

1999                Recipient           Helpmann Fellowship Award                 Sydney, Australia

                        Recipient           Willi Fels Memorial Award                     New Zealand    

 

1994                Winner              NZ Herald Aria Competition                  Auckland, NZ

                        Runner-Up         Nelson Evening Mail Aria Award            Nelson, NZ

 



 

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