A music sensation and a good Samaritan

Hayley Westenra

Hayley Westenra

Young New Zealander Hayley Westenra will be wooing the Maltese audience alongside tenor Joseph Calleja and Lucio Dalla on the Glanaries, Floriana, on July 9.

At age 24, Ms Westenra has already achieved a career most people can only dream about. She is a world-famed soprano, a classical crossover artist, a songwriter and the youngest Unicef ambassador.

Ms Westenra is no stranger to duets. She is highly sought after as a duet partner and has so far performed alongside music heavyweights such as José Carreras, Bryn Terfel, operatic pop vocal group Il Divo and also with Andrea Bocelli while touring Asia together earlier this year.

Over the years Ms Westenra has also performed at prestigious sporting events in the UK, US, New Zealand and Australia, including the FA Cup Final, the Mercedes Cup in Los Angeles and also sang her country’s national anthem in support of her beloved All Blacks rugby team. The young starlet has also performed for royalty and heads of state including HM the Queen and George Bush.

The soprano took the world by storm with her first album release in 2003 at the tender age of 16. Pure, her double platinum selling album, debuted internationally and was an instant hit, rapidly becoming the fastest selling album from a classical artist, reaching the Top 10 music charts in 11 countries. Pure was also named the best selling classic album of the 21st century by the official UK chart compilers.

This year she celebrates 10 incredible years in the music industry with the release of her fifth studio album Paradiso, a collaboration with the legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. This album has already sold millions of copies since its release in New Zealand two months ago.

Ms Westenra’s success has not stopped her from supporting the causes close to her heart. She is currently Unicef’s youngest ambassador. In 2005, her highly publicised project Bikes For Ghana Appeal, through which she actively helped with fundraising activities to purchase bicycles for young girls, allowing them to get to their schools located in the surrounding areas, was deemed successful. She revisited Ghana in 2008 where she started work on her second project which involved building water pumps for locals, offering access to a safe supply of clean water. Among her long list of philanthropic achievement Ms Westenra is particularly proud to be the first-ever official charity ambassador of Classic FM Music Makers. In the past few months she has also been a huge supporter of the fundraising efforts for her hometown Christchurch after a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake ravaged the city on February 22.


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