The New Zealand Opera School is regarded as one of the top destinations for the dedicated study of opera, attracting the cream of the crop in vocalists from around the world. This two-week intensive school taking place on the Wanganui Collegiate School campus in Whanganui, New Zealand, sponsored by the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, covers everything from voice lessons to foreign language pronunciation to stage direction, offering a holistic curriculum that prepares students for lives as professional artists.
This year, current SFCM student Isabella Moore ’17 attended the School, which took place January 9–22. However, Moore was not the only representative from the Conservatory who made their way overseas; SFCM Voice Chair César Ulloa was on faculty at the School—one of the two Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation International Vocal Faculty tutors asked to teach this year. The prestigious position was offered directly by legendary soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
“I met César over ten years ago when I sang the title role in Vanessa with John Matz, one of his students, in the lead tenor role,” says Te Kanawa. “Naturally I was very interested in his voice and of course asked who his teacher was to be told it was César. From that moment on I have followed his career and heard about the students that he has taught. He has made a significant difference to so many students which was one of the reasons I suggested his invitation.”
At the program this year, Ulloa was able to bring his expertise to an international student body comprised of fast-rising stars, including one of his own students.
“This year’s New Zealand Opera School was my fourth time attending the school and by far, my most favorite!” says Auckland native Isabella Moore. “It was extra special having my teacher César there as one of the main tutors. I had the opportunity to have voice lessons and master classes with him as well as having coaching sessions with some amazing coaches. My time at the school was invaluable and I know all the students who attended feel the same. I have learnt so much working with César at SFCM, but getting to spend time with him back home in New Zealand was awesome and I feel very lucky. I have already recommended the school to other Kiwi singers wanting to pursue a career in opera.”