We’re not your traditional opera company. We believe that opera is for everyone in our community, and we've worked hard to make it something that Hawke's Bay can be proud of.

Festival Opera was born in 2013 with an ambition to bring world class opera to our local stages. Founders Anna and Sarah had met through music (both singing in the NZ Youth Choir) becoming lifelong friends in their early twenties.

The idea for Festival Opera emerged over a coffee soon after they had returned home from extended periods overseas where they had each developed their careers – Anna as an opera singer, and Sarah as a healthcare strategist. New Zealand has a special effect of making anything seem possible, and after experiencing incredible opera in Europe, the pair felt duty-bound to ensure that spine-tingling opera was accessible to the people of Hawke’s Bay.

Festival Opera is driven by the unique power of music to bring people together, enabling them to share a creative experience and interpret their own lives through the performance. Opera is a mirror – it tells the everyday stories of people’s lives, somehow elevated through sublime musical lines. Gives you goose bumps doesn’t it?

We believe that communities that have music in them are healthier of mind and soul, so we work hard to build the audiences of the future through our outreach programme, delivered in partnership with the Prima Volta Charitable Trust. Our huge team of volunteers is proof of the connection between giving your time for a community project and positively impacting wellbeing.

At Festival Opera we’re working hard to bring the whole community on the journey with us, and we look forward to seeing you at the opera soon! "

Anna Pierard

Anna Pierard

Not content with taking the stage, HB raised soprano Anna was keen to shine that golden light onto a new generation of singers, creating a new stage fit for purpose. Driving the success of the company is as satisfying as any curtain call and Anna relishes the chance to share all the possibilities that opera can offer with young singers and new audiences.

Sarah Walmsley

Sarah Walmsley

Early on, Sarah was a jack-of-all-trades, managing marketing, finances, selling programmes - whatever it took to make the seasons a success. These days she takes care of the 'back office' duties when not working in a start-up tech company or raising her future dramatic tenor (or tennis player if his father gets his way!)

Jose Aparicio

Jose Aparicio

Jose sets the artistic vision for the company and his expertise is a key ingredient in steering us to success. Jose's fun-filled approach in rehearsals means he never loses his cool in the hot seat, while his demand for excellence onstage is why our audiences keep coming back for more.

Project Prima Volta

Our partnership with PPV is changing lives through the transformative power of music. We're helping build a more resilient generation of young singers.

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