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The Dunedin soprano juggles between work and competitions

Juggling a 40-hour workweek with high-level opera singing can be like playing musical chairs.

As most people sat down for a well-deserved lunch break yesterday, soprano Erica Paterson jumped out of her desk chair and rushed to Burns Hall to take part in the Dunedin Performing Arts Competitions Senior Vocal Festival.

Then right after work, she returned to Burns Hall to compete in another festival class.

“It’s a juggling act – it can be a bit tricky at times,” she said.

The 25-year-old University of Otago music graduate works full-time in the university’s physiology department as a teacher and postgraduate administrator, and has already had a busy week at the work and on stage.

She was in the capital over the weekend, competing against 28 other opera singers from across the country in the Wellington Regional Aria Competition – one of the country’s top singing competitions.

She won the contest singing Leonard Bernstein Glitter and be gay and that of Dvorak song to the moon.

While she said the win was “fabulous”, she was equally thrilled to be able to perform again and reunite with other singing friends.

“We’ve had such a deficit of performance and competition opportunities recently due to Covid, so it was really nice to be on stage again.

She is one of 25 singers vying for one of eight finalist spots in the ODT Southern Aria competition on Saturday evening.

After that, she will focus on defending her national title at the New Zealand Aria Competition in November.