Announcing the 2017 NZSM Opera

The New Zealand School of Music will present The Cunning Little Vixen by Leoš Janáček in July.


The opera will feature NZSM classical voice students performing alongside the NZSM Orchestra conducted by NZSM senior tutor Kenneth Young. The production, presented in the Hannah Playhouse, will be directed by Jon Hunter, and designed by Owen McCarthy and Glenn Ashworth.

The Cunning Little Vixen is based on a comic-strip story and was developed into a compelling reflection on the cycle of life and death by Leoš Janáček. The two worlds of the opera—the human and the animal—are sharply differentiated and director Jon Hunter explores the contemporary intersection of these two worlds. The Vixen bridges the industrial and natural worlds, with the other animals reminiscent of the ‘invisibles’ at the fringes of society—factory workers, cleaners, homeless and street kids.

NZSM Head of Voice Dr Margaret Medlyn says NZSM’s practice of presenting full-length repertoire opera with students working alongside a professional creative team is unique in the country.

“Once the students have learnt and developed the framework of the music and the meaning of the text, they really experience the joy of ‘letting go’, of creating, and trying different things on stage,” says Dr Medlyn.

The role of the Vixen will be performed by Pasquale Orchard who is in her Honours year of study for a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance, under the guidance of Jenny Wollerman and Margaret Medlyn. Pasquale has performed in various productions in the Wellington area and has received numerous awards. At the Wellington Aria Final she was awarded the Rokfire Cup for the Most Outstanding competitor and at the Dame Malvina Major Wellington Regional Vocal Competitions she won the Raymond Memorial Trophy and the 18 and under 21 vocal solo scholarship.

Director Jon Hunter is experienced in working with young singers. He is an NZSM Artist Tutor, teaching acting and directing performance with the classical voice programme, and is Senior Acting Tutor and Voice Specialist at Toi Whakaari:  New Zealand Drama School. He has directed a series of successful productions including Riders to the Sea by Vaughan Williams, and Chip and his Dog by Menotti. Jon was Artistic Director of the theatre company In the Shape of a Square from 2004 – 2007.

Tickets are on sale now through Hannah Playhouse.

What: The Cunning Little Vixen
When: 7.30pm Friday 28 and Saturday 29 July, 2.30pm Sunday 30 July
Where: Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Terrace
Tickets: Hannah Playhouse website