It was a strenuous workout for young tenor Cameron Barclay yesterday.
In the Prince Edward Auditorium at Wanganui Collegiat, a 45 minute a class in technique was one of several specialist vocal classes under way at the New Zealand Opera School.
Setting the pace was renowned British vocal coach Professor Paul Farrington, with accompanist David Kelly the NBR opera's young artist of 2009.
While Barclay worked at giving his phrases the right intonation and rounded sound and his words the right operatic edge, Professor Farrington was the all-seeing,all-hearing vocal taskmaster.
As Barclay rolled his rrrrs in operatic fashion before launching into song again and again, Professor Farrington told him to imagine his nose was like a hose pipe that sprayed water (in this case breath) out on to a garden - through a reticulation system (the song).
"And it sets your larynx for the B flat you see."
School director Donald Trott told the Chronicle yesterday the school was extremely fortunate to still have the "marvellous" Professor Farrington.
When they talk about vocal coaches in the United Kingdom, his was the first name mentioned.
As well as working through Europe, Professor Farrington was now teaching at the Music Conservatoire in Tokyo along with his permanent position with the Royal Covent Garden Opera and the Royal School of Music in London.
"He really is one of the finest vocal coaches there is, and we're very fortunate to have him here. The great thing is he loves coming here."
Tomorrow at 11.30am in the Collegiate Chapel will be a special service featuring the glorious voices of all the students.
"We have made it a half-hour later than all the churches which will give people the chance to come and listen."