Foundation’s support crucial for aspiring singers at Waikato

The Dame Malvina Major Foundation was established in 1991 to help talented young performing artists to achieve their potential by providing financial assistance, performance opportunities and professional guidance, supporting them to prepare for professional careers.

The Foundation is one of the leading funders of Te Pae Kōkako – The Aotearoa New Zealand Opera School (TANZOS), which launched in 2022 at the University of Waikato to provide intensive, career and performance training to New Zealand’s brightest young opera stars. TANZOS will provide training from national and international tutors, and opera students will travel to residencies in New Zealand and abroad. It is the first programme of its kind in New Zealand to combine academic rigour with immersive industry training.

TANZOS is led by international opera singer Madeleine Pierard, who is the University’s inaugural Chair in Opera, a philanthropically-funded role named in honour of Dame Malvina Major.

David Jackson, chair of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation

David Jackson, chair of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation, says the University’s opera studio is a long-held vision of Dame Malvina, and the Foundation is proud to be lending its support by funding places for students on the programme.

“Dame Malvina has long wanted to see New Zealand’s young opera stars trained in-country, without having to face the large costs and family separations caused by having further training overseas before joining the industry.

“To that end, we are delighted to be supporting our young, talented singers to succeed in what can be a very challenging industry.”

Five promising singers will be chosen from across the country for the immersive Master of Music programme in Advanced Opera Studies, commencing 2023, under which TANZOS will sit and where students will gain the skills and experience necessary to undertake an international performing career.

Celebrating Dame Malvina’s legacy

Dame Malvina
Dame Malvina Major

Dame Malvina Major has a long association with the University of Waikato as a Senior Fellow and Honorary Associate in Music, and during her decades of involvement with the University has taught and supported many of New Zealand’s most successful opera singers.

To further acknowledge her career and contributions, the University will work alongside Waikato Museum to archive Dame Malvina’s paperwork and recordings, alongside some of her performance gowns.

If you would like to further support students with incidental travel and audition costs, please donate here.