Wales International Academy of Voice

The Wales International Academy of Voice (WIAV), work with a select number of singers from around the world, under the directorship of the renowned Welsh tenor Dennis O’Neill CBE and artists of national and international standing.‌

The new generation of opera singers face a faster, more demanding commercial profession than in the past.

Operatic excellence was traditionally a career-long goal gradually achieved through experience in the profession, with vocal security and techniques needed to sustain long careers. In today’s more ‘instant’ world with changed dramatic expectations and requirements, artists are often cast in the most exacting roles at an earlier stage and are under pressure to succeed more quickly.

This reduces the opportunities to patiently refine talent and to carefully prepare for careers that hopefully will be long but demanding. Recognising the many excellent instituations offering expert dramatic tuition, WIAV’s raison d’etre is the provision of study concentrating on stylistic issues and advanced vocal technique. It is a centre of excellence and opportunity to prepare for the challenge of an extremely exacting and unforgiving world stage.

The Academy is not an opera studio in the conventional sense. Our approach to the dramatic goal is unusual yet traditional. The underlying ethos is the provision of a solid technique with linguistic and stylistic understanding, the basis of security in the early and most dangerous years of an operatic career.

Recognising his earlier success in the field, the newly formed University of Wales Trinity Saint David, invited Dennis O’Neill to establish an International Academy of Voice, a centre of vocal excellence and to locate it in Wales, an ideal environment justly famous as ‘the land of song’ the starting point for so many internationally successful singers.

WIAV provides a highly specialised and unique environment for a small number of exceptional singers at the early-professional stage, selected and recruited globally, to develop and polish their talent to the highest professional standards.

The best coaches, language experts and vocal technicians are complemented by visiting eminent conductors and national and international stars from the Operatic world.

The Academy provides a world-class institution within one of the UK’s leading centres of higher education and an opportunity to lead in a field in which Wales is historically pre-eminent and globally admired.

The Academy will create international alumni ambassadors, promoting the University’s reputation and its commitment to international excellence.

By virtue of its limited student intake the Academy operate an intense and personalised programme.

Most students will have already succeeded at other Universities and Conservatoires and possibly have some professional experience. WIAV seeks to complement those experiences with a programme of demanding study at a professional level.

There are thirty weeks of study and performance over two semesters, with breaks at Christmas and Easter. Students will be enrolled at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

MA Advanced Vocal Studies

Application will be by audition in the first instance.

To apply singers should send a copy of their CV and a CD recording of 2 arias or songs with a covering letter to the Academy address. If successful a live audition will then be offered.

Fee's 2014/15

UK AND EU -  £9,750

International - £14,500

Contact Details

The Director
42 The Parade, Roath, Cardiff CF24 3AD

Tel: 02920 493139

Born in Wales, Dennis O'Neill has enjoyed a long career as one of the world’s leading Operatic tenors appearing for all the leading companies of the world.

He has specialised in the works of Verdi and has sung twenty-one of his roles. He was awarded the 2005 Verdi Medal by the Amici di Verdi in recognition of his work

He studied privately with the renowned Frederick Cox in Manchester and London, in Mantua with Campogalliani and in Rome with Ricci.

He has enjoyed a long association (over two hundred peformances in leading roles) with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. His many roles have included Rodolfo (La Bohème), Duca (Rigoletto), Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Macduff (Macbeth), Gustavo (Ballo in Maschera), Foresto (Attila), Otello, Don Carlos, Radames (Aida), Aroldo, Carlo (Giovanna d’Arco), Jacopo (I due Foscari), Canio (Pagliacci) and Eleazar (La Juive).

For the Metropolitan Opera he has appeared as Alfredo (La Traviata), Rodolfo (La bohème), Radames (Aida), Duca (Rigoletto), Calaf (Turandot) Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Canio (I Pagliacci).  Other North American engagements have included Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco, San Diego, Vancouver Opera and concerts with the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Montreal, Cincinnati and Ottawa Symphonies. He has also appeared in several South American Opera houses.

A frequent guest at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, his debut in Ballo in Maschera was followed by Manrico (Il Trovatore) in a new production conducted by Sinopoli, and then  by Der Rosenkavalier, Tosca, Lucia, Simon Boccanegra, Aida and the title role in Otello conducted by Zubin Mehta. For the Vienna State Opera (Boheme, Butterfly, Turandot, Traviata, Ballo in Maschera, Trovatore).

He has performed extensively throughout Europe at Opera Houses and Festivals, including Vienna, Berlin, Bonn, Cologne, Hamburg, Mannheim, Dresden, Hanover, Leipzig, Munich, Weimar, Halle, Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris, Nice, Marseilles, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen, Zurich, Geneva, Athens,  Brussels, Antwerp, Barcelona, Madrid, San Sebastian, Oviedo, Lisbon, Porto, Milan, Rome, Bologna, Turin and at the Arena di Verona.

He has retained a close and special relationship with the Welsh National Opera, for whom he has also served as a member of the board.

Dennis O'Neill is a busy concert artist and has sung with conductors including Muti, Sir Colin Davis, Sinopoli, Rattle and Pritchard. Notable concert performances have included Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras at the BBC Proms, the opening of the Proms with Sir John Pritchard, Oberto and the Verdi Requiem at theEdinburgh Festival, Aida in Tel Aviv with Mehta, Le Damnation de Faust at the Paris Opera with Dutoit, Tosca in Cleveland with Slatkin ,the Dream of Gerontius with Svetlanov and Berlioz Te Deum with Abbado in London.

He has given recitals at Covent Garden and La Monnaie in Brussels and concerts as far afield as Sao Paolo in Brazil, Moscow, St Petersburg, throughout Australia and performed in concerts before members of the Royal families of Sweden, the United Kingdom, Norway, Spain and for the late Pontiff, John Paul the Second.

Dennis O'Neill's own television series for the BBC were enormously popular (the accompanying recording went to the top of the classical record charts) and he subsequently completed a three part televison series on Caruso. 

His many recordings include solo albums, videos of Der Rosenkavalier with Solti, Die Fledermaus with Kiri te Kanawa conducted by Placido Domingo, Macbeth with Sinopoli, and Mefistofele from San Francisco.  Recent releases include La fanciulla del West (Slatkin on BMG/RCA), Verdi's Requiem (Colin Davis on BMG/RCA) and with Simone Young for ABC, Tosca, La bohème, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Trovatore, Aida, Turandot  and two solo discs of operatic arias, an anthology in three discs of Italian Songs b Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi.and a recital of the songs of Liszt.

He has visited the Sydney Opera House where he has sung performances there of Cavelleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Tosca , Otello, and Il Trovatore. Other recent appearances include Otello in Hamburg, Brazil and Munich, Aida in Munich and Dresden, Ballo in Lisbon, La Gioconda in concert for ENO, Turandot at the Met and Covent Garden, Ballo in Rome, Aida in Munich and Catania, Norma in Barcelona and a tour of the Verdi Requiem with La Scala and Muti, and The Dream of Gerontius in Munich with Mehta.

Dennis O’Neill was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Opera and many other acknowledgment include the prestigious honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music. (Hon.R.A.M) and the Order of St.John.

He is deeply involved with the education of the younger generation of Opera Singers, having given masterclasses throughout the World, specialising in the Italian repertoire and bel canto technique. He is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Royal Opera’s Young Artist’s Programme, and is a frequent adjudicator at international singing competitions. 

We are pleased to announce that Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is our Honorary President and contributes to the teaching programme.

WIAV has always been supported by internationally acclaimed artists from home and abroad, who include singers, coaches, professors and conductors. Our regular tutors are complemented by these artists who visit when they are required and are available. Notably we enjoy the strong support of our Honorary President, Dame Kiri te Kanawa who visits for masterclasses.  

Wales International Academy of Voice are very fortunate to have a network of Friends who are keen to help and support our singers. The Friends Society aim to help provide updates on academy news and concerts, as well as helping to raise funds to support the Academy and those students who may need financial assistance for their studies.

Membership of WIAV Friends gives you the opportunity to support some of the worlds finest young performers and to contribute to their success. Membership also offers the following advantages:

  • Advance booking for all UK WIAV concerts
  • Opportunities to attend Friend's events and social occassions
  • Invitation to selected closed masterclasses
  • Discounts for selected concerts

The cost of membership is currently under review.

If you are interested in becoming a Friend then please download the Application Form and return to the membership secretary.

Post to:
Membership Secretary
Friends of WIAV
42 The Parade
Cardiff, CF24 3AD

Book Tickets

To book tickets for any of our advertised events please click on the 'Buy Tickets' link or to book 'pay on the night' tickets call 02920 359396 between 9am-4pm.

February 2014

  • Art Song Recitals - 3rd/ 4th/ 6th February 2014

March 2014

  • Gala Concert - 26th March 2014

April 2014

  • Cor Penlclawdd - 5th April 2014
  • Denbigh Council - 5th April 2014

May 2014

  • Radyr Music Festival - 16th May 2014
  • Spring Gala - 23rd May 2014
  • Concert Recitals - 28th May 2014 TBC

It is a great honour for me to be appointed the Director of this new and exciting course, designed to nurture young talent, and prepare them for Advanced courses and an Opera Career. It also targets the more mature talented singer, eager to improve vocal & dramatic skills and gain confidence on stage.

The singers will be coached by an International Visiting staff of Conductors, Coaches & Directors, and will work on Opera Scenes, Audition arias, Ensemble work and Performing skills. An opportunity not to be missed… we hope to see you there soon!

Patricia O'Neill - Director

Key Elements 

  • Developing the voice and tackling Vocal problems
  • Strong Emphasis on Ensemble work
  • Course features weekly Acting and Performing Training
  • Audition technique
  • Preparation of Staged Opera Scenes for Performance
  • Master Classes by International Performers at regular intervals throughout the course.
  • Language coaching
  • Camera recording facility
  • Individual coaching

Typical Timetable

  • 10.00-11.00 Warm-ups & vocal technique class
  • 11.00-12.00 Approach to an opera score, rhythm training & ensemble work
  • 12.00-13.00 Audition aria class
  • 13.00-14.00 LUNCH
  • 14.00-15.00 Drama & performing skills
  • 15.00-16.00 Preparation of scenes for concerts
  • 16.00-17.00 Language skills / Analysis on camera / Movement

Individual Coaching

On Master classes weeks , timetable determined by the Maestro

Cost of course

£485 a term (payable per term)

Cheques payable to University of Wales Trinity Saint David - Wales International Academy of Voice


  • Patricia O'Neill - Vocal Coach/ Scene Director

Music Staff Repetiteurs

  • Ryan Wood
  • Julie Sims
  • Sian Davies
  • David Thomas

Visiting International Staff

  • Dennis O'Neill C.B.E - International tenor
  • Emmanuel Siffert - International Conductor (Switzerland)
  • Antonio Gabriele - International Conductor (Spain)
  • Helen Field - International Soprano
  • Gail Pearson - International Soprano

For further information

Patricia Wheatley

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