NZ Opera makes new appointments to it’s Board

Carol Hirschfeld and Joanna Heslop Appointed to NZ Opera Board

New Zealand’s leading producer of opera welcomes two new board members: Carol Hirschfeld (Ngāti Porou) and Joanna Heslop (Ngāti Ruanui). Both join NZ Opera’s board at a time when opera is on an exciting journey of innovation locally and globally.

Board chair, Annabel Holland says, “Ms Hirschfeld and Ms Heslop will add significant mana to the company as it continues to deliver its hugely successful programme that expands opera’s reach to the whole of Aotearoa and global audiences, while supporting artistic excellence.”

NZ Opera General Director Thomas de Mallet Burgess says, “The appointments are timely as the organisation continues to enhance and evolve opera as an art form in Aotearoa. Opera is in transition globally – it’s an exciting time for opera in New Zealand as we honour traditional works and ways of doing things whilst exploring new ideas to grow our audience.

“Carol Hirschfeld and Joanna Heslop are welcome additions to our board. The experience and skills that they bring will support our vision to create a sustainable platform for opera to thrive here in New Zealand celebrating the diversity of our talent and the richness of our own stories.”

Ms Hirschfeld has worked in news and current affairs for more than 30 years. She has held numerous roles with TVNZ, TV3, Māori TV and RNZ, including reporter, director, presenter, producer and news executive. She is now Head of Video/Audio with Stuff.

Ms Hirschfeld says, “I admire the work NZ Opera does to showcase local and global talent and am proud to join this dynamic team as a board member. Now is a great time for New Zealand to embrace the global transition of this art form by applying our unique ability to blend tradition with creative modernity. As a board member, I am focused on contributing to the excellent work the Company is doing to make opera accessible to new audiences and build the profile of our organisation and talented performers.”

Ms Heslop is a New Zealand diplomat and former professional opera singer.

She had a 14-year singing career including as a Soloist of the Mariinsky Theatre Academy of Young Singers, St Petersburg (2004-2007); NZ Opera Emerging Artist (2000-2001); and the soloist at the Golden Jubilee Royal Edinburgh Tattoo (2002).

Ms Heslop holds master’s degrees in Music and Strategic Studies. She is currently Lead Adviser (United Nations) at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which she joined in 2008. Joanna is President of the Foreign Service Association and a member of the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Wellington Committee.

Ms Heslop says, “I understand the challenges of being a professional singer and ways the industry can support career pathways for young talent. NZ Opera offers a vital platform for young performers to grow and realise their skills, and to tell more New Zealand stories through opera. As a board member, I look forward to helping artists thrive in Aotearoa.”

NZ Opera will be rounding off a successful 2021 with its production of (m)Orpheus from September, its last main-scale production for the year. Earlier in the year, the commission of Ihitai ‘Avei’a – Star Navigator saw three sold-out performances in Auckland and The Marriage of Figaro was also a sell-out success.