The 60th annual festival will run from 7 July to 10 August 2024

Note: Further profiles will be added in the coming weeks. 


Jonathan has just completed Doctoral studies at the University of Waikato with Katherine Austin. To compliment his studies in this field, he plays a wide variety of historic keyboards (harpsichord, clavichord, organ and fortepiano), and has performed on the harpsichord in ensembles in both Auckland and Waikato. Jonathan is an alumna of the New Zealand Opera School, and most recently he has joined the The Aotearoa New Zealand Opera Studio (TANZOS) team as a Performance Fellow.


Monica completed her early ballet training in New Zealand before moving to Australia to study pre-professionally at Atelier Australia. Later she moved to Europe and attended short term studies with the Royal Danish Ballet School Ecole de Danse de Supérieure de Rosella Hightower, Brussels International Ballet School and Victor Ullate Escuela where she completed her final year of study. She was the first New Zealander accepted to compete in the Vaganova Prix International Ballet Competition where she was awarded a special international prize and had the opportunity to attend classes at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Following Grand Audition, she was also invited by Yuri Fateev to attend company classes with the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia After graduation from Victor Ullate Escuela she joined the National Ballet and Opera of Ukraine and later was then offered a contract with Perm Ballet, Russia but unfortunately due to Covid was not able to commence this contract. In 2023 Monica graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance Professional Dancers’ Postgraduate Teaching Certificate, becoming an RAD registered teacher and was the recipient of Peacocke Dance Trust scholarship towards this study. She is passionate about sharing her wealth of knowledge with aspiring dancers so that their talent can reach their full potential and foster a lifelong love of dance.


MARGOT BUTTONJunior and Senior Vocal

Margot, a Mezzo Soprano, began her singing career with a performance of “Bessie the Black Cat” in Thora Lewin’s piano studio at the age of 5. The fate of Bessie in verse 4 was hugely traumatic and the performance ended in a flood of tears. She was not deterred by this tragedy however and went on to complete her MMus in Opera Performance at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee School of Music. The ‘Bessie’ experience ultimately proving invaluable as a mezzo’s onstage lot is rarely a happy one. Margot has appeared as a soloist in opera, oratorio and recital in New Zealand, Australia, England, and the USA and recorded for radio, television, and film. She worked as a professional singer, arts manager and educator in the United States for 19 years before returning to New Zealand in 2010. Margot is a former director of the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony Opera for Harvard University and the Annals of Improbable Research, Executive Director of the Vergennes Opera House, and Artistic Director for the Barre Opera House, and manager and arts-educator for Brown Bag Opera in Boston. She was also on the teaching faculties of St. Michael’s College, the Flynn Theatre of the Performing Arts, and the Monteverdi Music Schools and has guest lectured for the Opera departments of the Boston Conservatory at the Berklee School of Music and the Longy School of Music. Since returning to New Zealand Margot has appeared regularly as a soloist and is the Artistic Director and a Co-Founder of Otautahi’s Toi Toi Opera. She maintains a large professional voice studio and regularly adjudicates regional vocal competitions. She is also an examiner for University of Canterbury’s vocal performance program. Recent engagements include performing the role of the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas conducted by Chad Kelly with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, performances with Voices New Zealand, and directing A Christmas Carol by Philip Norman’s, John Davies operas Goldie B. Locks and the Three Singing Bears and Three Little Pigs, and Prince Orlovsky’s Masquerade Ball (Die Fledermaus abridged) for Toi Toi Opera and the Christchurch Arts Centre’s Summer ‘23 – ‘24 Opera Festival. Additionally, she presented recitals for CBS Music, Akaroa French Festival, and the Nut Point Gallery and was a member of the chorus for NZ Opera’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte. Margot studied voice with Lorraine Nubar, and Elisabeth Phinney in the USA, Prof. Rae Woodland of the Royal College of Music in England, and Emily Mair, New Zealand. She has been very fortunate to also coach with a number of notable artists including Dalton Baldwin, Phyllis Curtain, Dame Janet Baker, Warren Jones, Prof. George Shirley, and Cecelia Schieve. Her roles have included Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Principessa in Suor Angelica, Augusta in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Mother and the Witch in Hänsel und Gretel, Regina in Regina, Rosalinda and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus, Mrs Noye in Noye’s Fludde, and Climene in L’egisto. She is greatly looking forward to adjudicating the 2024 South Auckland Performing Arts Competition Society Inc. Junior and Senior Vocal Competitions and wishes all the competitors the very best of luck.