The New Zealand Opera School is a registered charitable trust, established in 1994 to deliver New Zealand’s premiere residential training course for budding New Zealand opera singers. Its mission statement hasn’t changed since day one:

"To provide a period of intensive vocal, language, movement and acting training with tutors of international reputation in order to give our emerging opera singers the very best tuition possible and to provide a taste of the disciplines required to succeed in the fast-growing, competitive and demanding world of opera performance."

As of 2012, founder Donald Trott is the School's executive chairman. While Donald remains very much a part of the school, international director and former New Zealand Opera chief executive Jonathan Alver now fills the role of director.

In 2004, Whanganui supporters joined a roll-call of funders and patrons to create Whanganui Opera Week building significant local support for the school’s activities. Whanganui Opera Week is now identified as one of the region’s most popular events and attracts visitors from across the country.

School alumni include renowned international tenor Simon O’Neill, Madeleine Pierard (Lexus Song Quest winner 2005), Phillip Rhodes (Lexus Song Quest Winner 2007), Amitai Pati (Lexus Song Quest winner 2012) and Stephen Diaz (Lexus Song Quest runner-up 2012).

The Kokako – a New Zealand songbird - forms part of the school's logo. It has a beautiful, clear voice which carries over great distances. Kokako populations have distinctly different songs, a phenomenon many people consider analogous with that of human dialects. The school's motto Nihil tumultus, tantum opera translates as ‘Minimum fuss, maximum work’


The Hon Dame Catherine Tizard ONZ

Founding Tutor
Madame Virginia Zeani (USA) 

Board of Trustees
Donald Trott ONZM, JP
Alex Reedijk (General Director, Scottish Opera)
David Cairncross
Carmel Walsh-O’Neill