New Artistic Directors for NZ Singing School 2021

We are pleased to announce that Christine Douglas and Mark Dorrell have been appointed as Artistic Directors for the 2021 New Zealand Singing School.

The NZ Singing School was established over 35 years ago in Napier, New Zealand and is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It offers a summer school intensive for young, emerging talents to explore both classical and music theatre singing styles and cross-over. The experience has been described by students as life-changing.

Christine Douglas takes the role of Artistic Director – Classical. She is an established soprano, singing teacher and opera director from Sydney, Australia who is passionate about developing the next generation of singers. Christine has been a popular opera director at the last five Schools.

Mark Dorrell takes the role of Artistic Director – Musical Theatre. Mark is a highly experienced Musical Director, conductor and freelance pianist who has worked extensively in London and is now based in the Wellington region of New Zealand. He has also been a regular teacher at the School.

The new Artistic Directors will work together with the NZ Singing School Trust to set the direction of the summer school 6 -16 January 2021. The school attracts around 80 students. A number of concerts are held in Napier and Hastings during the school, showcasing the students and some of the tutors.

“We are pleased to have such experienced and inspiring people as Mark and Christine on board, as we set a new course for the Singing School for 2021. We have some exciting changes planned for the next school to make the students’ experiences even better,” says NZSS Chairman Helen Walker.

Christine Douglas’ outstanding operatic career saw her perform extensively with Opera Australia, all the state opera companies and symphony orchestras in leading principal roles, including in La Bohème, Carmen and The Merry Widow. She has also directed for Opera Australia and Opera Queensland, and has performed in musical theatre productions including Sweeney Todd.

Christine studied with Dame Joan Hammond at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), and is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University holding a Master of Music Studies (Vocal Pedagogy). She is also a member of ANATS – The Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Christine was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to explore best practice in opera training in the UK and USA. On her return to Australia she founded Pacific Opera, the Sydney-based young artist development company which now has alumni singing in opera houses around the world. She has directed numerous operas for Pacific Opera and currently serves on their Board as Executive Vice Chair. Christine Douglas has a thriving private singing studio in Sydney.

Mark Dorrell is “passionate about the training of young voices across the vocal spectrum”. Since relocating to New Zealand from London in 2007, Mark has worked for NZ Opera, NZ Symphony Orchestra, Toi Whakaari, Orpheus Choir of Wellington and was, for many years, on the full-time staff at the NZ School of Music at Victoria University of Wellington.

Mark originally hails from rural Worcestershire, England, and studied at Cambridge University, the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio.

After four years on the music staff of Scottish Opera, he moved to London in 1991 where he conducted the original London productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, Assassins and Passion. He has conducted shows at the National Theatre and has worked with some of the great stars of theatre and music including Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, and Judi Dench. He had a period directing musical theatre in Bermuda. He then held the position of Head of Music for ARTS-ED in London, one of the UK’s leading musical theatre colleges.