NZ Opera School student Cecily Shaw decided to take six months off from her masters studies in music and vocal performance at Waikato University last year and delve into life.

"Well I've always studied. I was an only child growing up and I actually decided that I really needed to get out in the world and work and get experience of the world like other people do."

The young mezzo soprano had grown up in Stratford where her mother was the music teacher at St Mary's Diocesan secondary school.

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Cecily said she was about 11 when her love of opera developed.

And though she loves it with a deep abiding passion her 6-month break from the rarefied atmosphere of classical music had been fantastic, she said.

Her real life experience meant she took a part-time job at a childrens community musical school in Hamilton.

"First of all I didn't really know anything about children at all...actually I was bit scared of them."

But working with mostly 9 and 10-year-olds teaching them singing and how to play simple instruments like the drums, had been very fulfilling, she said.

Setting up a choir teaching them various folk songs and rhyme rounds had been great fun, she said.

"I learnt such a lot about children. Though I'm pleased to be back at opera school again I want to finish my masters this year and maybe work with children again."

Cecily said teaching children as a career would never be her thing but that spending time with such young students had been very worthwhile.

She's delighted to have been accepted back into the opera school for the second time and is looking forward to meeting up with fellow singers from last year.

"Being at the school is so fulfilling."

Suyen Rae
Suyen Rae

Suyen Rae is excited and thrilled to be an opera school student at the 2018 NZ Opera School.

"I have so wanted to come to the school for the last three years."

However, being awarded a two year scholarship to the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore had put the NZ Opera School on hold.

"I had wonderful tuition in Singapore and I loved it but I really wanted to be home in New Zealand to study.''

The young soprano is now at Victoria University studying with acclaimed tutor Jenny Wollerman.

"I am very inspired by opera and I love to sing."

Being accepted into the opera school means her singing horizons will be expanded in the right way, she said.

"To really learn how to come to one with your character in an opera, to understand completely what you are singing and to be inspired."

Suyen, of Spanish and Chinese heritage, said singing was the absolute love of her life.

"I could never imagine doing anything else."

Everyone is nice. I love it."