Star tutors arriving for 2017 opera school

Lin Ferguson writes in the Wanganui Chronicle of the mounting excitement in the city as opera stars arrive to take their place as tutors in the Kiri Te Kanawa International Faculty at the NZ Opera School which begins on 9 January.  Della Jones (pictured) and Cesar Ulloa both bring considerable experience and acclaim with them, and have been mentioned by many of the record student intake as reasons for their wanting to attend this year.



Famous mezzo to teach in NZ

One of the world’s most famous mezzo sopranos is coming to teach at the New Zealand Opera School held in Wanganui this year from 9 -22 January. Della Jones will spend two weeks passing on her knowledge to the next generation of opera stars. She talks about the stimulation she gets from passing on her knowledge to future opera stars.

To listen to click the link below:


World’s best to teach at New Zealand Opera School

Two world-renowned teachers have been confirmed for the 2017 New Zealand Opera School – the country’s prestigious residential summer school for emerging opera singers. The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation International Vocal Faculty tutors will be Della Jones and César Ulloa.

Della Jones, has had a stunning career as one of the world’s leading mezzo-sopranos, appearing in the U.S, Russia, Japan, Canada, U.K. and throughout Europe in over 120 operatic roles. She has a prolific recording portfolio exceeding 120 works across every major record label, and has worked with leading orchestras and conductors, including Leonard Bernstein, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Simon Rattle, and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.  More recently Della has been working with students at London’s National Opera Studio and in Cardiff at the Welsh International Academy of Voice.

“I am looking forward enormously to coming to your highly reputable Opera School in Whanganui,” says Della Jones, adding a message for those considering applying for the 2017 intake. “I work hard, but believe in the joy of music- making, and I will help you all in whatever challenges you need to overcome.”

“I am looking forward enormously to coming to your highly reputable Opera School in Whanganui,” says Della Jones, adding a message for those considering applying for the 2017 intake. “I work hard, but believe in the joy of music- making, and I will help you all in whatever challenges you need to overcome.”

Professor César Ulloa is Chair of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatoire and also leads programmes for the San Francisco Opera Center. His students have been first prize winners and finalists in numerous competitions including New York’s Metropolitan Opera,  Placido Domingo’s Operalia,  Concurso Montserrat Caballé, and the Cardiff Singer of the World.

Steven Blier, coach at the vocal arts faculty of the Juilliard School of Music says César Ulloa has uniquely offered “insight into the foundations of great vocal artistry.” Legendary American mezzo Federica Von Stade called him “a guardian angel of singing”.  Great American mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick says Ulloa is “an invaluable and important part of the opera world.”

César Ulloa is considered by many to be the best singing teacher in the world, says NZ Opera School director Jonathan Alver.  “He came to teaching from a long and successful opera stage career and says that hearing stars such as Caballé, Carreras and Kraus both on-stage and in rehearsal trained his ear to hear where young singers will probably be two years ahead. He and Della Jones will be an enviable resource for the 2017 student intake.”

Alongside the international tutors stands an exceptional line-up of New Zealand opera and music professionals including Isabel Cunningham, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Terence Dennis, Bruce Greenfield, and director Sara Brodie.

The New Zealand Opera School takes place from January 9 to 22 on the campus of Wanganui Collegiate. The 22 student places are always keenly contested, with previous alumni having gone on to successful, sometimes stellar international careers. “Given the strong interest and competition for places, we encourage intending students to start on their recordings and applications now to maximise their chances,” says school director Jonathan Alver.  The closing date for applications is 31st August 2016.


For more information about the principal sponsor, the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, please visit  More NZ Opera School details at  For further media information, pictures and interviews, please contact Michael Hooper (021 940 893) or Chris Swannell (021 594 007); email

The New Zealand Opera School is supported by the following key sponsors and benefactors:

Deane Charitable Trust, The William and Lois Manchester Trust, Dame Jenny Gibbs DNZM, Mrs Beverley McConnell MNZM, QSM, The Mercury Theatre Restoration Fund, The New Zealand Opera Society, John and Margaret Hunn Trust.

NZ Opera School alumni to perform at Huka Lodge

This year, on Saturday 16 April, the operatic arias of French composers, along with some of France’s finest wines, are celebrated during another gala event at Huka Lodge.

Master of ceremonies, Jonathan Alver, has brought together a fabulous programme of music presented by the talented young performers of the New Zealand Opera School. The NZOS performs an extraordinary nurturing role developing our emerging opera singers.

Jonathan is the Director of the NZOS and during the event shares insights and anecdotes from his extensive 25-year career in theatre, screen and event production.

Jean-Christophe Poizat from Maison Vauron presents a stunning personal selection of fine wines from the famed Burgundy region during dinner. These superb wines will be complemented in a befitting way with a five-course menu created especially by Executive Chef, Paul Froggatt.

A surcharge of NZ$200.00 per room + gst (15%) applies to benefit the New Zealand Opera School. The attractive autumn-winter room rate will be applicable for the night of this event.

Details of the weekend's programme follow below.


  • From 1.00pm onwards – Guests arrive at Huka Lodge, settle in and orientate.
  • 3.00-3.45pm – Join Jonathan Alver in the Main Lodge Room as he shares his stories and insights spanning a 25-year career in opera, theatre, screen and event production within the arts sector.
  •  Refreshments.
  •  4.15-5.00pm – Guests gather in the Main Lodge Room with Jean-Christophe Poizat, Maison Vauron for an introduction to the wines of Burgundy that will be served during dinner.
  • 6.00-7.00pm – Guests return to the Main Lodge for pre-dinner drinks and a welcome by Huka Lodge, General Manager, Kerry Molloy. Jonathan Alver will introduce the New Zealand Opera School alumni who will perform later in the evening.
  • 7.00pm onwards – A fabulous five-course French inspired dinner by Executive Chef, Paul Froggatt will be presented, complemented wines from Maison Vauron, as carefully chosen by Jean-Christophe. As the evening unfolds popular opera arias and duets will be presented for your pleasure by talented young singers – Katherine McIndoe; soprano, Madison Nonoa; soprano, Filipe Manu; tenor and Jonathan Eyers; baritone.
  • After dinner guests gather in the Lodge Room for drinks, a selection of New Zealand cheeses, petits-fours, tea and coffee. All the performers will also join guests at this time.


  • From 7.30am – Full country breakfast is served for guests to enjoy at leisure.
  • 11.00am – Check-out and departure from Huka Lodge.

Applications for the New Zealand Opera School are now open

The New Zealand Opera School is thrilled to call for applications for its 2016 School which will once again deliver an unparalleled professional development opportunity for New Zealand’s rising operatic stars.

Returning to the teaching team by popular demand will be world-renowned baritone Håkan Hagegård, one of two international tutors with whom students will have the opportunity to work.  The second, a stunning stage performer and accomplished teacher, who comes to New Zealand for the first time, will be announced shortly.

Håkan, who is particularly known for his brilliant performance as Papageno in Ingmar Bergman’s film adaptation of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, is now a highly sought after teacher, working with many of the world’s most important operatic institutions. Alongside the international tutors in an exceptional line-up of New Zealand tutors and coaches will be Isabel Cunningham, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Terence Dennis, Bruce Greenfield, Luca Manghi, Sara Brodie, and guest tutor, artist-in-residence and New Zealand star tenor, Simon O’Neill. 

Student places for the School, which will take place 4-17 January 2016 at Wanganui Collegiate, will be strictly limited to 22. With competition expected to be high, students are encouraged to get started on their applications early to maximise their chances of securing a place.  Applications close 31st August 2015. 

Click here to apply for the 2016 school.

Renowned baritone, Håkan Hagegård, joins 2015 NZ Opera School teaching team

Håkan Hagegård

Håkan Hagegård

The New Zealand Opera School is delighted to announce the appointment of Håkan Hagegård, one of the world’s finest baritones, to its teaching staff for the January 2015 school.  He joins a stellar line-up of tutors and coaches including Paul Farrington, Isabel Cunningham, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Terence Dennis, Bruce Greenfield, Sara Brodie and New Zealand star tenor Simon O’Neill.

The addition of Hagegård, whose participation is supported by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, follows the reluctant withdrawal of Dennis O’Neill who is unable to travel to New Zealand this year for health reasons. Dame Kiri personally assisted in the search for a suitable replacement.

“I am very excited to assist in bringing Håkan to the New Zealand Opera School. I have known him for close to 40 years as a performer and as a friend. His singing has always been of the highest level and now he is passing on all that skill, stage experience and advice to the next generation.” Dame Kiri said.

Hagegård is one of the world’s finest baritones, particularly renowned for his brilliant performance as Papageno in Ingmar Bergman’s film adaptation of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. Now a highly sought after teacher, he works with many of the most important institutions in the operatic world.

The school is also delighted to welcome Simon O’Neill as guest tutor and 2015 artist-in-residence, and Sharolyn Kimmorley, Australasia’s foremost operatic repetiteur and coach. O’Neill is at the height of his career and will bring a wealth of advice for young singers entering the profession. Kimmorley is in great demand internationally and will be known by many from her recent involvement in the preliminary rounds of the prestigious Lexus Song Quest.

With such an impressive staff line-up, competition will be strong for the 22 places at the 2015 school, which will take place 5-19 January 2015 at Wanganui Collegiate. Students are encouraged to get started on their applications early to maximize their chance to secure a place. 

Click here to apply for the 2015 school.