Lexus Song Quest
The Lexus Song Quest (formerly known as the Mobil Song Quest) is a biennial opera singing competition, held in New Zealand since 1956. The competition is managed and presented by the New Zealand International Arts Festival. Winners include the sopranos Dame Malvina Major and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, both of whom were trained by Dame Sister Mary Leo. Kiri Te Kanawa was better known as a pop singer and club entertainer when she won the contest.
First held in 1956, the Mobil Song Quest began as a radio contest. 1324 entries were made, with contestants recording a song at their local BCNZ radio station. The recorded works were then broadcaster in shows over 19 weeks.
Originally the quest featured contestants who performed songs in a variety of styles, such as country and western, pop and classical. Only more recently has the contest been primarily for opera singers. The influence of Auckland opera singing teacher Dame Sister Mary Leo and the success of her students helped shape the contest, turning it into a more prestigious singing competition.
From its beginning, the song was sponsored by and run by Mobil Oil New Zealand. However, in 2004 the oil company passed the competition on to the New Zealand International Arts Festival Trust. Mobil withdrew as the naming-rights sponsor, with Lexus stepping in to that role.
|1965||Kiri Te Kanawa|
|1991||Teddy Tahu Rhodes|