Sarah-Jane Rennie



Lyric Soprano, Christchurch, NZ.








Toi Toi Opera – Suor Angelica & Elegies The Great Hall, The Arts Centre, Christchurch. Reviewed by Garth Wilshere Toi Toi Opera is a new small Christchurch company set up by the enterprising Margot Button, and husband and wife Alex Robinson and Kathrine Doig. This was their frst venture, an interesting combination of Puccini’s one-act opera Suor Angelica with various bits and pieces of English music, Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad (1912), sections from Vaughan William’s 1936 Dona nobis pacem, and a scene from Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (1946). Pulling all these strands together was director Sara Brodie. As we know from the New Zealand Opera School Brodie is a master at staging diverse things coherently.

Here the over-riding theme was World War One. Puccini’s nuns were transformed into WWI nursing sisters, and this worked very well. The opera was sung in Italian, but the conceit was that this was a story being told by a recuperating soldier (Philip Nordt). He popped up in the scene every now and then to tell us what was happening, and this device worked very well and although it could have been intrusive it wasn’t. The performance began with the opening movement of Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem movingly sung by Margot Button, before we were introduced to the wounded soldier, who then introduced us to the opera. The star of the opera was Sarah-Jane Rennie as Angelica.

Although a little tentative to begin with her performance grew to a huge emotional and musical climax. It was the most moving production of the opera I’ve experienced. Lisa Falconer made an imposing and impressive Princess. All the smaller roles were well taken, with the Monitress of Tara Martin, Sister Genevieve (Katherine Doig), Mistress of the Novices (Louisa Pilkington), and the Abbess of Raemon Greenwood making important contributions. The chorus singing was excellent throughout.

Lakme- Delibes. Garden Opera Company. Hamilton Gardens Festival. 18th February 2005.Sarah-jane Rennie gave a beautifully convincing performance throughout, especially in her Bell Song aria where her father uses her as exotic bait. Her voice soaring to the heights…’- Andrew Buchanan-Smart.

Idomeneo- Mozart Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber 29th July 2004 . Auckland Opera studio and Auckland Chamber Orchestra.Sarah-Jane Rennie made Elettra’s continuous rage real- Heath Lees NZ Opera News.Sarah-Jane Rennie as Electra gave a lovely performance, her expressive voice and mannered acting conveying the psychological elements of an obsessive and destructive stalker’.- John Daly-Peoples National Business Review.

Opera in Concert: Verdi Auckland Town Hall. July 21st 2004 with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Sarah-Jane Rennie would not have left one heart untouched with Violetta’s ‘Addio del Passato’’-William Dart.Sarah-Jane Rennie captured the emotional drama of Gualtier Malde from Rigoletto with a sensuous voice’- John Daly Peoples NZ Business Review.

Orfeo & Euridice- Gluck 9th December 2002- Auckland Chamber Orchestra. Amor was a rather Capricious, wilful Messenger of Love. Sarah-Jane Rennie caught just this and gave us some lovely, graceful singing in her ’Gli sguardi trattieni’. William Dart NZ Herald.




Cirriculum Vitae



Sarah-Jane holds a Bachelor of Music Performance in Voice from The Victorian College of the Arts and a Diploma in Performing Arts (Opera) from the School of Music (Auckland University).



She was a 2002 Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist and a Freemasons’s Opera Artist for NZ Opera.



Sarah-Jane’s Operatic roles include Amor-‘Orfeo and Euridice’ (Auckland Chamber Orchestra) Micaela (Wanganui Opera), Pamina (Opera Factory), Lakme-Lakme (Garden Opera), Elettra - ‘Idomeneo’ (Auckland Opera Studio) Orphan(Der Rosenkavalier) La Madre-Madama Butterfly( NZ Opera), Belinda-


Dido and Aeneas(Opera Club), Suor Angelica-Suor Angelica (Toi Toi Opera). Her cover work for NZ Opera includes Leila-The Pearl Fishers, Donna Anna- Don



Her concert work includes Jenkins ’Cantata Memoria’ Nelson Civic Choir, Mozart ‘Exultate Jubilate’ and Bach St John’s Passion with CBS.


“Simply Divine’ and ‘God Save the Queen’s’ with The Jubilate Singers, Verdi in Concert with the APO, The Lloyd Webber Requiem and The Messiah with the CSO, CBS and Mid Canterbury Choir. ‘Kiri and Friends’ APO recorded for TV, CD and DVD.



She has toured for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webbers’ the Really Useful Group and played the Carlotta Alternate for the Phantom of the Opera Australasian tour 2008-09 and the World tour 2013-16. She sang in ten cities across the Pacific, Asia and Europe.



Recent Performances include ‘A Night At The Opera’(Christchurch City Choir) and headlining for The ‘Off Centre Festival’ at the Christchurch Arts Centre.



Sarah-Jane regularly works with Sharolyn  Kimmorley and Glenn Winslade (Sydney).









Performances On Video (Click On Title)




La Boheme at Off Centre Arts Festival March 2023, Christchurch, NZ


Suor Angelica at Off Centre Arts Festival, March 2023, Christchurch, NZ.








Contact Sarah-Jane



Mt Pleasant, Christchurch, New Zealand 8081.