I performed many concerts in the Wellington Town Hall. Not the operas, they were always at the Opera House, but many concerts with the NZSO, the choral society, the Orpheus Choir. I did the Beethoven 9th, there, various Messiahs and the War Requiem. I also performed in the concert chamber upstairs. I go back well before the Michael Fowler Centre was built!

I performed Messiah at the Town Hall when I came back from England in 1971. My daughter Lorraine was just two weeks old. She was being cared for in the wings and I had to go out at half time to feed her. I also remember sitting in the audience for several Mobil Song Quests, in the years after I had won. The year I won was in Hamilton – I didn’t even get a trip away from my home town!

The Town Hall has such a beautiful acoustic – it has reverberation that is better than any in New Zealand. It’s that typical shoebox shape that the best concert halls have. I was very upset when I heard they might pull it down. It is right up there with the world’s best.

Dame Malvina Major ONZ GNZM DBE