top of page
Frances Wilson - Auckland Opera Studio



Born in New Zealand, Frances won a Royal Schools of Music Scholarship to study Piano and Accompaniment at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

After studying there for five years she stayed on at the college to teach for a further five years.

During the same period, she was very active in the concert field performing regularly in such venues as Wigmore Hall and The Percell Room.

She returned to New Zealand in 1975 on a small business endeavour but consequently took up a position at the Adelaide Conservatory as their official Accompanist.

She was sequested back to New Zealand in 1979 to become chief Coach and Repetiteur for the then National Opera Company, under the directorship of Raymond Hawthorne. She held this position with the Company in its various forms for a period of 10 years.

In 1987 she formed “Operacorp” a company set up to showcase the talents of young singers with a “tongue in cheek” reference to the comings and goings of the 1987 commercial sector.

This Company presented 3 or 4 Operas in the Upstairs of the Mercury Theatre and the Town Hall Concert Chamber, notably including productions of “Sour Angelica” and “Riders to the Sea”.

During the late 80’s her emphasis moved from coaching to teaching and technical development.

In 1990 she moved to the United States, which by this time had become well known as the retirement centre for all the great Italian singers of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

In 1991 she became assistant to the great Virginia Zeani and her equally famous Husband Nicola Rossi Lemeni. She worked at Indiana University Bloomington, in this capacity for 2 years. During this time, she obtained a Greencard as a person of Special Merit in the field of Bel Canto Singing.

In 1993 she and her husband moved to New York where she set up her own private studio as a freelance teacher. During this period, she continued to conduct masterclasses whenever returning to New Zealand eventually cofounding the Whanganui Opera School (now known as the NZ Opera School) acting as is Musical Director and Tutor for a period of five years.

With the Illness of her mother she returned to New Zealand to live in late 2001 at her mother’s request. Consequent to this she and her husband Stephen took over her Mother’s Business and turned it into a 5 Star Luxury Hotel, rated by Conde Naste as one of their 100 Best Hotels in the World for five to six years running.

During this time, Frances maintained her Number one interest in teaching and advancing the talents of young aspiring Opera Singers. Apart from her private tuition she did this by forming the Auckland Opera Studio, a Charitable Trust Foundation, she ran as director from the Hotel “Mollies”, regularly showcasing her young singers with evening appearances at the Hotel but also mounting full stage productions of Operas at venues such as The Town Hall Concert Chamber and The Mercury Theatre. These included Idomeneo, 7 Deadly Sins, Clemenza di Tito, Cosi fan tutti, Julio Cesere, La Sonnambula, and Lucia di Lammermoor.

In 2016 apart from her busy teaching Schedule, she has already staged an Open-Air Concert at her Omaha Property for 400 people to raise money for the travel expenses of young Singers. She is also preparing for a production of Handel’s Oreste to be semi-staged with an early Music Ensemble: NZ Baroque, later in the year.

It is Frances’ aim with all of her undertakings to give “break through” opportunities to emerging New Zealand talent. In many cases, it’s by providing singers with first roles in an Opera with Orchestra, being professionally staged, directed and reviewed.

bottom of page