Talented. Ambitious. Proud... she taught, amongst many others, NZ's three best opera talents: Kiri Te Kanawa, Malvina Major and Mina Foley, whose early careers were shaped by the determination of this small nun.
As teacher 'Sister' was a famously hard taskmaster, known not only for hitting the walls of the practice rooms with her walking stick, but who would also savagely criticise students if she thought they needed it.
Kiri and Malvina went on to forge successful international opera careers, but not Mina Foley - after a series of tragic incidents, Sister Mary Leo's first and perhaps best soprano was sent into care where she was visited constantly by her old teacher.
Scored by Kiwi composer Gareth Farr, written by Joy Cowley, Leo's Pride is a documentary that relives the life of a genuine Kiwi hero. You can stream or download the documentary here.
Production Year: 2005
Commissioning Broadcaster: TVNZ for TV One
Transmission Date: 23 June 2006
Producer: Rosemary Fullerton-Smith
Director: Yvonne Mackay
Duration: 70 mins
Outline: A documentary about New Zealand's renowned opera teacher, Sister Mary Leo . . . she taught, amongst many others, our country's three best opera talents: Kiri Te Kanawa, Malvina Major and Mina Foley.