Click here for photos and biographies of the Teaching Faculty from the 2017 Singing School.

The New Zealand Singing School: Te Wānanga Toi Waiata is the original residential school for NZ vocal students. Led by Principals of Curriculum & Faculty Rachel Fuller, Catrin Johnsson and Judy Bellingham, the teaching team is divided across two different work streams.

The vocal discipline of opera and classical training is progressed by the highest quality vocal tutors and professionals from opera companies and music schools from around the world.

The confidence and quality of musical theatre performance is progressed by the highest quality vocal, acting and stage-craft tutors and professionals from musical theatre companies and music schools around the world.


The School has limited places for trainee tutors and accompanists. In 2017 there were two spaces for trainee vocal tutors and two spaces for trainee accompanists.

Applications for the 2019 NZ Singing School will open mid-2018.

There are no fees to be a trainee, and accommodation and meals are provided.  However, you must pay for your transport to and from the School.

In the meantime, please like our Facebook page to keep up to date with the New Zealand Singing School: Te Wananga Toi Waiata.


2019 Principals of Curriculum & Faculty

Catrin Johnsson

Catrin Johnsson was born in Sweden and trained at the Royal University College of Music, Stockholm and the Royal Academy of Music, London.  Awards include the Christina Nilsson Award, Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize, Flora Nielsen Prize, Michael Head Prize, Katie Thomas Prize, and the Minnie Hauk Prize. Her operatic roles include the title role in The Duchess of Malfi for English National Opera, Medoro in Handel’s Orlando for the Åmot Opera Festival in Norway, and various roles for Opera Holland Park and the London Handel Festival. Catrin made her debut for NZ Opera in their 2016 production of the The Magic Flute as Second Lady.  In concert she has performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and St John’s, Smith Square in London. Catrin is a Performance Teacher in Voice at the University of Auckland, is vocal consultant for Voices NZ Chamber Choir and is the 2017 National Adjudicator for the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition.

Rachel Fuller

Rachel Fuller studied at the University of Canterbury with Diedre Irons; and went on to gain her Masters in Piano Accompaniment from the Royal Academy of Music. As an experienced vocal accompanist, répétiteur and coach, Rachel has worked at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as well as Opera Kristiansund and Opera Nordfjord in Norway, and with British opera companies including Diva Opera, Opera della Luna and London Opera Players. She has accompanied some of the world’s finest singers including tenor Keith Lewis.  She has been a regular accompanist for the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and is currently vocal coach for their Young Artist Programme.  Rachel is also a highly sought-after chamber musician and has recently collaborated with cellist Ramón Jaffé, violinist Leo Phillips and cellist Edith Salzmann.

Judy Bellingham

Over 33 years, the New Zealand Singing School has given students the opportunity to learn more about the art of singing, to develop their own skills and to move on to continue their musical study and career. The School’s vision is to give students the confidence to move forward and it does this through the excellent tuition offered, the experience of multiple music genres, and the learning and performance opportunities that take place in a supportive peer environment.

The School has gained a reputation for being a valuable training ground for New Zealand singers, who go on to pursue success at national and international competitions, and to gain entry to opera schools and advanced music colleges overseas. I am excited by the successes our students have gone on to achieve. I invite you to partner with the School in its continuing programme to foster and cultivate successful New Zealand singers, who shine on the world stage.

“It has been suggested that not enough depth is able to be achieved when a school offers such a wide range of activity. Actually it is the combination of music theatre with opera which so impresses me. With the melding of both operatic singers with a strong contingent of musical theatre performers there are added opportunities for performers of both genres; the musical theatre students are able to improve the standard of their vocal abilities by observing the vocal discipline that opera requires and conversely; the operatic performer becomes much more aware of the importance of the need to develop their theatrical skills.”

Conal Coad
Conal CoadInternational Vocal Coach and Opera Singer, 2013

“To witness shy, often insecure, (and sometimes overly cocky) teenage and young adult singers (and even a fair number of mature participants) arrive on Day One – full of hopes, fears, expectations, and often bewilderment – who then gradually grow over the short period into confident, outgoing, motivated, and disciplined performers is a truly inspirational experience for me and, I’m sure, for all my fellow tutors.”

David Harper
David HarperUK: International Vocal Coach 2013