What an occasion it was on Monday night enjoying acclaimed and much loved New Zealander Dame Malvina Major take the New Zealand Opera School's one masterclass this year.
The audience loved her and hung on her every word which were often funny along with her acute criticisms and beneficial advice for the four young students.
It is no easy feat for a young singer to stand on a stage, sing an aria, then be stoic as they are helped publicly to sing it again with improved changes.
The auditorium at Whanganui Collegiate School was once again a capacity event filled with Whanganui music lovers who applauded throughout with gusto.
Dame Malvina had the audience literally in the palm of her hand.
With fine accompanist Bruce Greenfield, each of the four students; tenor Sid Chand, mezzo soprano Alexandra Woodhouse-Appleby, bass Morgan-Andrew King and soprano Te Ohorere Willams sang and for most their nerves were visible.
But these nerves soon dissipated as the astute and warm Dame Malvina delivered encouragement even giving notes' on each singer to their tutors who were in the audience.
This delighted the audience and the tutor who was being advised.
During Morgan-Andrew's aria Dame Malvina compared him to a young Inia Te Wiata.
"But you are better. You have a remarkable voice," she said.
Though she praised the students, she was also a stern mistress.
She emphasised throughout how integral it was to become the character of each aria.
"Don't just sing it… be that person. Keep the colour in your voice and get your head away from just doing the music.''
She laughed when she said that before every performance she would take two hours at least to immerse herself into the character of the opera she was about to sing.
"My family would see this change and were always amazed when I came home and was myself again.''
Dame Malvina also extolled the virtues and talents of the young New Zealand opera singers overseas.
"When I am overseas I am constantly asked 'why is it New Zealand produces so many fine young voices?'
"I love to hear the praise heaped on us and I don't really know the answer apart from maybe it's our Scottish heritage, our fine young Māori voices and of course our extraordinary young Polynesian singers. New Zealand is featuring very strongly on all the world's opera stages it makes me so very, very proud."