Hanli Stapela leads the Classical Voice programme at the University of Pretoria. As a student she studied voice with Hantie Prins, piano with Philip Levy, harpsichord with Wim Viljoen and organ with Elma Britz. She later completed a BCom Marketing Management degree at the University of Pretoria and was the first person to obtain a DMus Performing Arts degree, specialising in singing, from a South African university, namely North-West University.
Hanli Stapela is one of South Africa’s foremost sopranos. During her years as principal soloist at the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT) she performed a long list of operatic roles, including Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Violetta (La traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto), Manon, Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly), Mimi (La Bohème), Marguerite (Faust), Pamina (Der Zauberflöte), Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Countess (Le nozze di Figaro) and many more. She has sung with all the major orchestras in the country, performing works such as Beethoven Symphony no 9, Mahler Symphonies no 2 & 4, Vier letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss and numerous oratorios and masses. Many of her performances were presented as television broadcasts and her recordings are often played on national radio programmes. During the past two decades she had been the recipient of several awards for performance excellence, including two Vita Awards, South African Airways award for overseas studies and the Opsa (Opera South Africa) prize. In 1998 she moved to the United States of America, where she performed widely and also started to teach.
Since her return to South Africa she has been teaching at the Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Kwazulu-Natal. In 2011 she accepted a full-time lecturing position at the North-West University and in 2012 returned to the University of Pretoria as lecturer in Classical Voice and Vocal Methodology. She regularly acts as examiner and adjudicator at universities, competitions and eisteddfods and still performs regularly.