Simon spent several days with the young singers of the newly formed TANZOS ( Te Pae Kōkako -The Aotearoa New Zealand Opera Studio) in early April and gave two public masterclasses with them.
On their Facebook page, TANZOS gave the following report of the visit:
"..We are all still recovering (and pinching ourselves) after an incredible week with Sir Simon Keenlyside at TANZOS. The man, the legend, the artist....and such a kind-hearted and fun gentleman as well as a magnificent artist and singer. It was a week of joy, aroha, star-struck wonder, beautiful singing, manaakitanga and just a bit of silliness....
Simon gave our TANZOS students two public masterclasses at Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and Gallery and Christchurch Town Hall, as well as two days of individual sessions, both with TANZOS singers and singers from outside the programme so the opportunities were there for a wider group of people. This is something that is very important to us at TANZOS - we're here to benefit the larger opera and arts community here in Aotearoa!
Simon was fighting laryngitis (hardly surprising given that this was his first break from performing for lord knows how long) but refused a day off as he wanted to give everything of himself to help our rangatahi and BOY did they get a lot out of it! The moments when he did feel able to demonstrate were spellbinding.
Additionally.....Simon's extraordinary wife, ballerina Zenaida Yanowsky (23 years as a principal ballerina with the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House and now coachig there!) gave our singers a MOVEMENT CLASS! Talk about luxury casting! As anyone who knows Zen will attest, you couldn't find a warmer, gentler soul to put star-struck young opera singers at ease before a class. We were in rapture.....
We finished in Ōtautahi Christchurch with a presentation of taonga for Simon and his whānau and a farewell...."
Information about TANZOS
Simon also gave a masterclass at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts and Gallery, University of Waikato, Hamilton, on 04 April.