After 50 years renowned opera virtuoso repetiteur Bruce Greenfield has retired from the New Zealand Opera Company.

Though Greenfield retired just two weeks ago he is with the New Zealand Opera School again in Whanganui accompanying and coaching students.

"Well, I couldn't just stop. To be honest I'm still feeling quite weird about being retired. It does sound very final. ''

With a wry grin Greenfield said he will still be teaching at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington and taking private students at his inner city studio.


His home on the Kapiti Coast at Raumati was a blissful place to live, he said.

"Except for the travel in and out of the city. The sooner they finish Transmission Gully the better because then I will move my studio to my home and students will be able to come to me without too much trouble.''

Greenfield is acclaimed as one of New Zealand's greatest repetiteurs. It is a specialised field in that it means you don't simply play the accompaniment for a singer, you have had to have learned the entire score of an opera and are able to rehearse the singer or singers through the entire opera singing the other roles when required.

According to the "Schmopera" Facebook page it is important for the repetiteur to see the "forest for the trees".

"Remembering that the music in front of them wasn't written for the piano ... it may be too fast for even the best pianist ... but no one cares,'' the quote said.

Greenfield laughs, saying being a repetiteur meant a whole new skill set and was not for every pianist.

But for him it has meant a long and glorious career doing what he loves.

"And retirement is not the end for me. It just means I won't be getting as much money and I am a bit worried about how I will cope initially. I'm probably worrying for nothing.''