Singing definitions to help with your application:

 What is ensemble singing?

  • An ensemble is a duet, a trio, a quartet, a quintet and sextet – or something even bigger, from a stage work. It is not a chorus.
  • In an opera ensemble there is only one voice to a part, and that voice is a particular character. In Music Theatre ensembles there may be several voices to a part.
  • It is important that each singer can hold a part on their own, and have learned it sufficiently thoroughly to be able to do this.
  • An Ensemble therefore cannot function if one character /singer is absent

Ensembles at the Singing School
As part of your application, you will be asked to choose which genre of ensemble you would like to be a part of – opera, musical theatre or oratorio.  If you are accepted into the School, you will be emailed the music of an ensemble piece according to the genre you selected and you will be assigned a character within this ensemble.  You will need to learn your assigned character’s part very well BEFORE arriving at the Singing School. You will also need to bring along a simple costume for your ensemble character.  The best ensembles will be chosen to be performed at the Singing School’s final night Gala Concert and Prize Giving.

What is massed chorus singing?

  • A chorus or large-scale number from an opera or musical theatre work.
  • The music is taught by the Music Director, learned thoroughly and memorized quickly by the students
  • The Stage Director then takes over and sets the chorus on stage
  • This can involve a lot of sitting around while formations, stage placings, characterisations etc are worked on and finalized
  • Not everyone may be moving during the entire chorus, although they will be on stage and acting for the entire length of the chorus.
  • This is the method performance companies use when working with large chorus numbers
  • Prepare for a bit of sitting around. The end result will be worth it.

What is a Master Class?

  • A Master Class is a ‘singing lesson in public’. The tutor will teach you for approximately 30 minutes, and a pianist is provided to play the accompaniment for you. Other students, and members of the public may be observing the tutor teaching and the student learning. Unless invited to make comments, they will be silent.
  • For the purposes of the Singing School timetable, the term Master Class also encompasses the Language classes and the Ensemble rehearsals.
Connect at New Zealand Singing School - photo by Mat Boutet