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Tongan tenor among 16 chosen to appear in Singer of the World competition in Cardiff

Tongan tenor Filipe Manu has been selected to sing in the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

The competition, which is marking its 40th anniversary,  will be held in the Welsh capital from June 10-18.

The competition has launched the careers of some of the biggest opera stars.

The 16 singers competing in Cardiff were selected from nearly 500 applications.  They will be hoping to gain the title BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, or to become winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer Song Prize.

The five strongest singers will compete in the final in Cardiff. The singer named BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is presented with the Cardiff Trophy and £20,000.

Last year Manu won the Lexus Song Quest, New Zealand’s most prestigious opera competition.

Manu received a cash prize of $20,000, a study scholarship of $27,000, plus economy international travel up to the value of $3,000.

When he came second in the Lexus competition in 2016 he told the media he owed his success to his mother who worked two jobs to support him.

His mother, Sesilili Manu, arranged for him to attend Dilworth School in Epsom where he joined the school choir.

Manu holds a Bachelor of Music and a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the University of Waikato, where he studied under the tutelage of Dame Malvina Major as a Sir Edmund Hillary scholar.

He was selected for both the inaugural Dame Malvina Major Opera programme and the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Singers’ Development programme. He graduated from the New Zealand Opera School.

He has recorded with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s 2013 album Waiata with the NZSO.

He performed as part of a small ensemble with the LSO under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust and later made his solo debut at the Barbican Centre in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the LSSO.

Manu took part in the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London.

In 2018/19 season he appeared as Hippolyt in Phaedra whilst in his final year on the Guildhall School of Music and Drama Opera programme.

In the following season he began by covering Tamino in David McVicar’s production of Die Zauberflöte and appeared in Richard Eyre’s production of La Traviata.

He went on to perform in Sir Antonio Pappano’s production of Fidelio.

He subsequently joined the Bühnen Bern opera ensemble in Switzerland as a soloist.

More information

Filipe Manu sings ‘Si, ritrovarla io giuro’ from La Cenerentola

Tenor singer Filipe Manu wins 2022 Lexus Song Quest

Song Quest runner-up Filipe Manu: mum helped my dreams come true