Giving a master class in Montreal

Yesterday it was my pleasure to lead a master class for the young singers of Montreal Opera’s training program. I asked that they present themselves as if they were auditioning for me and then I would offer feedback regarding their “audition” and then also work with them in detail on the repertoire. The time went by so quickly. The students are of a very high quality, young professionals on the verge of bursting onto the professional stage. Some of them are performing small roles in Montreal Opera’s current production of Rigoletto which I am conducting. We discussed a variety of issues as each one of them had slightly different challenges. We addressed such issues as:

    singing pure vowels which assists with tuning challenges,
    breath control and support,
    tension issues such as pressing down on the larynx,
    clenching the jaw,
    forgetting to lift the soft palate and creating space,
    focussing on allowing the voice to spin and float on the support,
    pronunciation and diction issues such as taking advantage of voiced consonants and lengthening double consonants in Italian,
    as well as various ideas for musical interpretation.

The students are very clever and quite advanced so we were able to see results very quickly and in some cases rather dramatically. I’m convinced we will see many of them on the professional stage very soon. The students are very fortunate to have the support of the terrific coaches and staff at Montreal Opera. Bravi tutti

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