Click here for photos and biographies of the Teaching Faculty from the 2019 Singing School.

The New Zealand Singing School: Te Wānanga Toi Waiata is the original residential school for NZ vocal students. The 2019 School was led by Principals of Faculty & Curriculum Rachel Fuller, Catrin Johnsson ARAM, and Judy Bellingham, MNZM.  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.


Applications for trainee voice teachers and accompanists will open in mid-2020, for the January 2021 School.  You can also enrol as an Observer.  Further details are available here.

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2019 Principals of Faculty & Curriculum

Catrin Johnsson

Catrin Johnsson ARAM, mezzo-soprano, was born in Sweden and trained at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Awards include the prestigious Christina Nilsson Award. Catrin has lived in London for many years and has recently moved to New Zealand.  Operatic roles include the title role in The Duchess of Malfi for English National Opera, Dido Dido and Aeneas, Medoro Orlando, Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro, La Ciesca Gianni Schicchi and Dimitri Fedora for Opera Holland Park., Dorabella Così fan tutte, Carmen,  Meg Page Falstaff, Hansel Hansel and Gretel, Adelberto Ottone and Idelberto Lotario (London Handel Festival), Nicklausse Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Zerlina Don Giovanni, Second Lady (NZO) and Third Lady The Magic Flute. She is also active on the concert platform in Europe, Scandinavia, UK and New Zealand. Catrin teaches voice and stagecraft at the University of Auckland, is vocal consultant for Voices NZ Chamber Choir, and was the 2017 National Adjudicator for the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition. In 2018 she was awarded an ARAM from the Royal Academy of Music in London.

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 in London. As an experienced vocal accompanist, répétiteur and coach, Rachel has worked at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, at Opera Kristiansund and Opera Nordfjord in Norway, and also with leading British opera companies including Diva Opera, London Festival Opera and London Opera Players. She has accompanied some of the world’s finest singers including tenor Keith Lewis and has worked as a regular accompanist and coach for the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. Rachel has performed as recitalist in leading concert venues such as The Queen Elizabeth Hall and St.Martin-in-the-Fields.

Rachel is an Artist Teacher at the University of Auckland where she teaches collaborative piano and is a vocal coach and accompanist.  Rachel is also a highly sought-after chamber musician and has recently collaborated with cellists Ramón Jaffé, Edith Salzmann and Yelian He as well as violinists Leo Phillips and APO concertmaster Andrew Beer.

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.

“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