Big-city stress brings opera boss back home

By Lin Ferguson

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SOUTH OF CHAOS: New Zealand Opera School director Donald Trott enjoying the quieter climes of Whanganui. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
SOUTH OF CHAOS: New Zealand Opera School director Donald Trott enjoying the quieter climes of Whanganui. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

Endless traffic, motorists taking insane risks running red lights and being forced to use public transport have driven Donald Trott out of Auckland.

The New Zealand Opera School founder and New Zealand Opera School Foundation Trust director has moved to Whanganui after becoming disenchanted with the country's biggest city.

"The frustration of living in Auckland has become just too difficult," he said. "I have been using public transport for five years; it's absolutely pointless driving anywhere there. I walk everywhere, take buses and trains because taking your car is pointless."

Mr Trott had been thinking about moving back to his hometown for the past two years but since taking the plunge earlier this year and selling up, he has suddenly noticed a surge of people trying to leave Auckland and move south to the regions.

"When I said I was moving, it's as though everyone I told wanted to leave as well.

One man even asked me where Whanganui was, so I've printed out maps and handed them out."

Mr Trott, together with two businessmen both living in Whanganui, one who also moved here from Auckland, are setting up a commercial business hub on the top floor of the Waimarie Building next month.

"I have an IT man from Auckland coming in to set me up completely with the best technology. I will be running the NZ Opera Foundation Trust and the NZ Opera School from there.

"The other two men will be operating their own businesses.

"It's a very good arrangement in a very nice space."

The NZ Opera School's Wanganui Opera Week is held annually at Wanganui Collegiate School, and is now in its 22nd year. Mr Trott said it had more than made its mark globally, with New Zealand opera singers gaining the attention of overseas companies.

For example Sol3 Mio - Samoan brothers Pene and Amitai Pati and cousin Moses Mckay - are opera school graduates. The Pati brothers are singing with the San Francisco Opera Company, which boasts one of the world's best singing tutors, Cesar Ulloa.

"Cesar has agreed to teach here at the opera school in January, which is just tremendous."

Mr Trott said: "Business will be here in a town that is charming and friendly, and I'm looking forward to it.

"No more Auckland, no more big city for me."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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