2024 NZ Opera Friedlander Foundation Associate Artist

Matthew Kereama (Ngāti Manomano). Photography by Jinki Cambronero.

New Zealand Opera is delighted to announce the appointment of Matthew Kereama (Ngāti Manomano) as the 2024 NZ Opera Friedlander Foundation Associate Artist. An experienced director, singer and actor who has worked with a number of performing arts companies across Tāmaki Makaurau, Matthew’s first involvement with NZ Opera came during our 2021 season of The Marriage of Figaro, where he shadowed director Lindy Hume in what he describes as a “second assistant director, slash honorary stage manager” role.

Matt has assumed various duties within NZ Opera in the time since then, including taking on the position of Assistant Director (again to Lindy Hume) for our 2023 season of Così fan tutte. As a performer, he was most recently seen on the NZ Opera stage in last year’s debut season of The Unruly Tourists

Having high-level experience both on-stage and behind the scenes, and with a musical practice honed in part under the tuition of (NZ Opera Board member) Dr Te Oti Rakena at the University of Auckland School of Music, Matthew brings a unique perspective to this position. Asked what he hopes to gain from his time as Friedlander Associate Artist, and to achieve in the longer term, his response is both straightforward and wide-ranging:

“I want to contribute to the canon of opera in a new way,” he says. “And to be able to bring my own style to the artform, be it through creating, producing or directing. I know it’s going to be a long journey, and there’s a lot I’ll have to learn before I can be in the position to make that sort of change, but that’s my goal.”

For the moment, he’s looking forward to the full-spectrum possibilities of the role – as well as occupying the Assistant Director’s chair for Mansfield Park and our upcoming season of Le comte Ory, Matthew will work closely alongside company General Director Brad Cohen and Director, Artistic Planning & Participation Joanne Cole through the period of his appointment, a point of difference with this year’s fellowship. We at NZ Opera are thrilled to have Matthew on board, and we can’t wait to see what he’s able to accomplish in the role. Our sincere thanks to the Friedlander Foundation for facilitating this appointment, and for its gracious ongoing support of New Zealand Opera.