The 2021 New Zealand Opera School

The 2021 New Zealand Opera School was very special. At a time when most of the world couldn’t  even consider a residential summer school, we came together, we enjoyed amazing tuition and coaching, and we performed to delighted sell-out audiences.

Our international (but local) tutors, Dame Malvina Major, Amina Edris, Emma Pearson, Pene Pati, and our patron Simon O’Neill were a triumph, bringing not only their expertise but also their knowledge of a very current world of opera – one that they would be performing in were the rest of the world not locked down. The development seen across the broad spectrum of students was truly impressive.


To complete the week, after the magnificent final Gala Concert the school presented their annual awards and here are the results:


The Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship, presented in association with the Susie and Guy Haddleton Emerging Artist Award went to soprano Felicity Tomkins. The Merle Higgie Memorial Award went to tenor Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono, and the Spirit of the School Award went to repetiteur/pianist Ben Kubiak.

All were richly deserved, but after a very complicated year, everyone involved in the 2021 New Zealand Opera School was a winner. We are lucky to be where we are in the world and for the talent that this country continues to deliver.


Photos taken by John Wansbrough.


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