The Opera Princess

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10-year-old Filipino-Kiwi Opera Singer shines at World Championships

Jazz Vidamo

By Mel Fernandez

A video interview with Jazz on the YouTube channel ‘Come on Aileen’ (click on our website to view this podcast)

Editor: Jazz Vidamo will be featured in ‘Sounds of Aroha’ this coming August 31st at the Milford Baptist Auditorium in Auckland. This is a benefit concert for the victims of family violence under the auspices of the Shine Foundation. Tickets priced at $15 are available by calling mobile: 022 063 1137.

MATAMATA, Waikato – This rural township is world famous for being the cradle of Hobbiton. And now it has more exciting news to share with all and sundry – the fact that Matamata’s got talent and heaps of it in one small package.

Folks in this sleepy hollow are delighted to have discovered a young opera prodigy in their midst. A gem of a girl who is being nurtured and treasured by locals – because she is about to realise her dream of becoming a famous opera singer in New Zealand and beyond.

Her rise to fame began when Jazz Vidamo, back then she was 8 years old, caught the eye of a reporter at The Matamata Chronicle when she placed first in vocals and was the overall winner for her age group with Puccini’s ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ at the Waipa Christian Music Festival.

For a while Jazz preferred pop singing and loved Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor. But that changed when she heard sopranos Jackie Evancho and Laura Bretan on ‘America’s Got Talent’.

Jazz shares her passion for music with her parents who are both musicians and her grandmother who is a music teacher. Her great grandmother was an opera singer in the Philippines and was known as ‘Princess Soprano’.

Jazz has performed in Waikato, Rotorua and Auckland. And she has won several competitions: Hamilton Competitions Society, NZ Opera Idol, Rotorua’s Talent and Variety Show and the Waipa Music Festival.

Last year Jazz was selected to represent New Zealand at the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA). This event has been running for 23 years, where singers, musicians, dancers, variety artists, actors and models compete for the coveted title of ‘Grand Champion of the World’. For months the Vidamo family had been busy doing fundraising concerts and events to get them to Hollywood.

Family, friends, companies, local communities and several organisations have provided their encouragement and financial support. The Dame Malvina Foundation that offers support for young opera singers in New Zealand referred a well-known voice teacher named Jane Tankersley to train and mentor Jazz in preparation for WCOPA.

Then finally in July she competed in this prestigious Hollywood event that has over 4,000 acts and 750 competitors with 72 countries participating.

Out of the six categories she entered, she medalled in five of them. 2019 Champion of the World – Open category Division Winner. Gold medallist Open category with the song ‘Nessun Dorma’.

Silver medallist Opera category with ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’. Silver medallist Gospel category singing ‘Pie Jesu’. Silver medallist Variety category – ‘In Summer’. Silver medallist World category – ‘Sa Kabukiran’.

FMN’s Interview with Jazz and her Mum.

FMN: Who are your favourite opera singers?

JAZZ: Jackie Evancho, Patricia Janeckova and Laura Bretan.

FMN: What are your favourite opera songs?

JAZZ: I like all of them, but my favourite is ‘La donna e mobile’.

FMN: Does Jazz understand the lyrics in Italian and Latin songs?

LEIGH: Yes, we make sure that she has an idea of what she is singing so she can connect with it. FMN: Are you finding it easy to sing in foreign languages? JAZZ: No, but I am really fascinated and I really enjoying learning them.

FMN: Is the vocal training for singing opera very rigorous?

LEIGH: Yes. We travel to Hamilton, which is an hour away from Matamata, once a week and she usually does an hour and a half or two per session.

FMN: How is Jazz coping with the intensive routine?

LEIGH: She is determined to get her one hour practice in every day at home. She is also learning theory and will sit for her singing and theory exam at the end of this year. When we get back to NZ from the US, she will start preparing to compete at the Te Awamutu competitions in September and the prestigious NZ Aria this November.

FMN: We’ve heard that Jazz has released an album?

LEIGH: Yes, it is titled ‘The Dream Begins’ and features six songs that range from opera to musical theatre and even a Filipino folk song.

FMN: What’s next for Jazz?

LEIGH: We are still here in America and will be meeting with a couple of Hollywood producers who are interested in working with Jazz. She will also be releasing her first music video in a couple of weeks.

FMN: Jazz, do you have other interests besides singing?

JAZZ: I love musical theatre. Last year I did Disney’s ‘The little Mermaid Junior’ – the musical. I was ‘Arista’, one of the Mersisters. ​I also like photography and arts. I got my first concert ukulele recently and I am trying to learn how to play a few songs.

FMN: Do you have a message for your supporters?

JAZZ: I would like to thank all the people that I have come across who have helped me to keep on pursuing my dream. I am really excited about what lies ahead of me and I feel so blessed to have you all along on this journey.