New foundation shining a spotlight on Opera

Tucked in a practice room at the New Zealand Opera, two artists perform 'The Prayer'.

Singing is an everyday religion for these classical artists, both students of the art at Waikato University.

But this year COVID-19 lockdowns brought in a change of key.

"Singing lessons on Zoom, all gigs cancelled, it's definitely been a hard time," says Tayla Alexander. 

The uncertainty led the 19-year-old to start her own foundation, Tayla Made. 

It has up to $25,000 to support young musicians. The money is collected from benefactors of the arts, through the Perpetual Guardian Foundation.

Manager of Perpetual Guardian Foundation Kirsten Taylor believes arts, heritage and culture sectors are significantly underfunded. 

"It's difficult to find funding in the times that are normal and these are anything but," she says. 

For hopeful applicant, Taylor Wallbank, the fund will cover necessities. 

"It will probably help me to buy a new suit because gradually we grow out of our suits. 

"And also for competitions...sometimes those can be $100 to enter yourself  and you don't even know if you're going to win your money back," he says.  

Alexander says supporting the arts is seen as a luxury and that mentality see classical singers look overseas for opportunities.

"They go overseas and sing at the Metropolitan opera in France, Italy and Germany," she says.

"Then they come back here and nobody knows anything about it."

Alexander is hoping her Foundation will keep Kiwi's best right here on our stages...

And she's urging everyone to support them by attending your local theatres.