Classical Voice Canada
By Kira Braun
Classical Voice Canada podcasts will feature a new Classical Vocal artist each week, wherein we will discuss their favourite Classical genre(s), experiences, and career trajectories, and listen to one of their recordings. The recordings may be professionally done, or may be done as semi-professional or home-based recordings, as is the new norm we have gravitated to due to COVID-19.
We hope that Classical Voice Canada will introduce you to new artists that you should be watching for in the future!
We hope that Classical Voice Canada will introduce you to new artists that you should be watching for in the future!
Episode 16 with Guest Jennifer Taverner, Soprano
Jennifer Taverner is a Toronto born and raised Soprano who comes from a family of musicians. She was educated at Laurier University and also at the Glenn Gould School, in addition to which she has become a Registered Holistic Nutrition Practitioner. Jennifer enjoys a wonderful career as a singer, and also works as a consultant who can help other singers (and anyone who would like to work with her!) with issues arising from digestion that may cause problems with vocal delivery. We chat today about her musical beginnings, and a few of her mentors and teachers ~ Ann Cooper Gay, Victor Martens, and Stephanie Bogle, to name a few! Jennifer also takes time to speak to us about the many concerns of a singer when it comes to diet and performance, and we hope that some of her pointers may be of help to you. You can reach out to Jennifer at High Note Health (www.highnotehealth.ca) and also, please do follow her on Instagram and Facebook! Her posts are informative and delightful! Jennifer has also graciously shared a free booklet with Recipes that will reduce Acid Reflux... something every singer should have in their pocket! https://highnotehealth.ca/refluxrecipes/?fbclid=IwAR1AqNP4da3roue_nndJU0jyvtF_yBKgcxx4cwzQNNMo0xfd9UnnxmGeQqw As with all of our guests, Jennifer has a piece she would like to share with us ~ join us today ...and you will be glad you did, as you'll have a chance to hear her sing Musetta's Aria "Quando M'en Vo" from Puccini's "La Bohème". She was born for this role!
January 09, 2021
Episode 15 with Guest Madison Ryley Arsenault
For the second episode in our Wellness Series, I am so pleased to introduce Madison Ryley Arsenault to you! A classically trained Mezzo-Soprano, Madison is also a certified Yoga instructor, and she has found a way to tie together her knowledge of singing and the physiology of the voice, with that of the movement, stretching, and focus that yoga can bring us. Join us today as we chat about Madison's education at Western University, her musical background and some of her performances, as well as her journey toward becoming a Yogi. This Virgo likes structure, and she certainly found it when she visited a school in India where Yoga first began. Through the 10 Principles of Yogic philosophy, Madison shares her knowledge with kindness and support, when she coaches her clients toward Vocal Empowerment. We hope you will enjoy this episode and that it will perhaps inspire you to explore yourself more deeply, and to let out a liberating, soulful sound. You have permission!
November 07, 2020
Episode 14 with Alison Jane Taylor, Soprano & Alexander Technique Teacher
Welcome to our 14th Episode! This is the first in our Wellness Series and I am delighted to introduce you to Alison Jane Taylor, an Alexander Technique expert and a Supervised Student of Gestalt Therapy, as well as a wonderful singer and artist! We get into some details about what it means to understand what is happening inside and outside of our bodies when we sing, (or play our instruments) maintaining a healthy posture, and mindset! Alison is a very gentle soul, her presence is soothing and encouraging. She is a wonderful example of a singer finding ways to help other singers, with absolute purity of heart. Alison is able to find supportive words and ways to help us ~ "My tools are my own compassion and experience". We talk about the demands of being a musician, that expectation of perfection and what we can do with it, and ways in which she has helped people move from a place of fear or anxiety to a place of confidence. After all, if we have such wonderful gifts to share, what are we so afraid of?! Join us today on this first step into the journey of exploring our inner selves and finding ways to associate our essence with our artistry.
October 31, 2020
Episode 13: Introduction to The Wellness Series
This short podcast is an introduction to the upcoming series of discussions that I will be having with various experts and practitioners in the area of vocal health. I'll speak to an Alexander Technique expert and someone who is studying Gestalt Therapy, (Alison Jane Taylor) to a yoga enthusiast who built a business around Yoga for Singers, (Madison Ryley Arsenault/Yogapella), a Nutrition expert (Jennifer Taverner), and a Life Coach and Counsellor, (Paula Wickberg) What do they have in common? They are ALL singers. They have all found a way to become educated in specific ways and to share with other singers, for our health and well-being. I hope you will join us as we embark on this journey of discovery and help for any singer who may need it.
October 24, 2020
Episode 12 with Guest Lyndsay Promane, Mezzo Soprano
Lyndsay Promane is from the Town of Aurora, just a bit North of the big city. A High Lyric Mezzo Soprano, she grew up in a very musical family and found her way quite circuitously to the world of classical voice ~ but once she did, she fit in perfectly! After graduating from U of T with a Bachelor's Degree in Music and then attending Opera School, Lyndsay has been very busy with her craft, and is an established performer of Art Song, Contemporary Music, Oratorio, and Opera. She takes us through her early days as a student, shares some tidbits about wonderful Masterclasses & Workshops she's attended, tells us about mentors who have influenced her, and describes her own path toward teaching and mentorship. Having performed in two operas now, with the COC Chorus, Lyndsay shares a few of those highlights with us as well. She knows that 'life is not going to stop and wait for you' and is excited to be undertaking something new in a mentoring role, speaking to & workshopping with young singers this coming year with her suggestions for bringing variety to one's professional profile. In addition to this, she is a mentor with Opera in Reach, a group that is striving to make a difference in the opera world, in terms of inclusivity and accessibility. Lyndsay feels it is so important to be able to "speak about racial and civic justice in way that is eloquent and respectful, and accurate", and Opera in Reach is certainly achieving this. Her favourite book? Well, you'll have to listen to find out... and you'll just have to agree that she is not bossy at all, but rather, a very articulate and intelligent person! And when you hear her warm voice singing a heavenly Mahler piece, you will agree, that her voice certainly matches her thoughtful and engaging personality. Lyndsay has brought us Mahler's "Urlicht", accompanied by pianist Rachael Kerr. Lyndsay will be performing with The Linden Project on October 24th, a collaboration with Jeremy Ludwig, along with pianist Erica Reiman. Don't miss SPIRITS, HAGS and HEXES at 8:15pm on the 24th. You can find it on Facebook on the Linden Project's page! Boo!
October 17, 2020
Episode 11 with Guest Fabián Arciniegas, Tenor
Tenor Fabián Arciniegas joins us today from Cobourg ON, where he makes his home with his wife and two children. Fabián is a charming and animated person and his joie de vivre shines through in speaking with him! Fabián tells us about his journey from Cali, Colombia to Canada, where he continued his voice studies at U of T in their Opera Performance program. It's interesting to know that he started out wanting to sing Rock & Pop music! He went from a Baritone to a Tenor and this in itself was a journey as well. Fabián has a voice studio in Cobourg, where he says he absolutely loves teaching. When asked whether he sings to live, or lives to sing, his reply is not surprising ~ "Even if I cannot sing for people, I would have to make noise for the rest of my life!" Rest assured, he is making that noise every day, even if his children might think it's too loud! A Tenor with the Canadian Opera Company chorus, Fabián is waiting like many others to return to the stage when it is safe to do so. Fabián has recently collaborated with Iranian-Canadian composer Saman Shahi, bringing the song cycle "Orbit" to life, as part of the CD "Breathing in the Shadows". Today we share the 2nd piece of this song cycle, entitled "Another Coffee". While we discussed sharing all three pieces, I decided at the last minute to only share this one... because you really need to get this CD and hear it all for yourself.
October 10, 2020
Episode Ten with Guest Stephen Bell, Tenor
Meet Canadian-Estonian Tenor Stephen Bell! Originally from BC, he makes his home now in Toronto. Stephen is a long time member of the Canadian Opera Company Chorus, but that's not his only gig! This multi-talented person performs as a soloist, has recorded a few CDs, and has an entrepreneurial spirit that will inspire you. Stephen takes us through his time at UBC where he obtained his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Opera Performance, and then along into some tidbits about his early experience on the stages of some of the most beautiful halls in Europe. He is not too shy to tell you what he'd still like to achieve with his voice (we all should be more honest with ourselves), and oh! ~ how to bring your best self to whatever project you are working on...by leaving your day and your troubles in a bag at the door. In addition to his singing, Stephen founded Coffeeshop Creative, a website design & development team, geared towards artists! This has since branched out into something even bigger, and he has now added videography and incredible drone captures to their services, doing work for construction companies, financial firms, realty, and more! Stephen's love of cinematography continues to grow and he is adding to his reel every day. Watch for his recent collaboration on the short film "Klaun", coming soon to the public eye! Stephen's choice of music to share with us today is a recent recording done just before COVID hit. Recorded by Ryan Harper, and with Brahm Goldhamer on piano, he is pleased to present Schubert's "Gute Nacht", the first in the song cycle Die Winterreise, by Schubert.
September 26, 2020
Episode Nine with Guest Maureen Batt, Soprano
Soprano Maureen Batt hails from Fredericton, New Brunswick, and has since made her home in Halifax N.S. In this Episode, Maureen shares with us a little bit about her educational background, and how important she felt the aspects of Theory and Music History have been for her. If you are considering a Masters Program in Music, Maureen has a lot of insight here. From this, to her working relationship with Soprano Erin Bardua, we learn how Essential Opera was formed, and how this group has progressed! Maureen has created some exciting projects over the last while, and there is more to come! We speak about her Recital Series, entitled "Crossing Borders" and her choice to pair Canadian Compositions with those of other countries' composers; from there, she explains her labour of love (and fierce determination!) to create her first Album, "Lady of the Lake", and what it was like to undertake such a complex project. She is a singer who often commissions new works! Maureen has words of wisdom about Grant Writing ~ she is the QUEEN! And finally, tells us about her upcoming second Album, and 2 new Operas coming up with Essential Opera. Maureen shares a beautiful recording with us which has not yet been released... she is featured on Iranian-Canadian composer Saman Shahi's upcoming Album "Breathing in the Shadows", and sings a piece entitled "The Girls are Still Laughing". This evocative poetry is by Nigerian-Canadian poet Titilope Sonuga, whose first collection of poems won the 2011 Emerging Writer Award of the Canadian Author's Association. Pianist Tara Scott accompanies Maureen.... you'll want to hear more, and you can! This Album will be released on September 25th!
September 12, 2020
Episode Eight with Guest Beste Kalender, Mezzo Soprano
Turkish-Canadian Mezzo Soprano Beste Kalender has gained international recognition in a very short time, for her voice and her stage presence, and she has much more to offer! Mysterious, convivial and intelligent; you’ll be taken with her the instant you meet her. Beste chats with us about her early years in Turkey, and what got her excited about Opera singing. Her destination as a singer was chosen early but not solidified until she also explored Psychology... but a few wonderful experiences along the way helped her to recognize that it was music that would fulfil her. In Beste's words, "What we do must be done with love, friendship, support, and humour", and I couldn't agree more. We chat about how essential it is to truly be part of a team when we are working on a production, and how important it is to always lift others up along the way. Her insights are valuable, in particular what she feels the balance is between learning the music and understanding the character, when developing an operatic role. Recently, she appeared in Koerner Hall, in a tribute to Composer Patricia Morehead ~ in a safe, socially distanced format, this was an opportunity to make live music once again! Coming up this November, Beste will step onto the Koerner Hall stage once again, this time in a performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Not only a celebration of Beethoven, but a celebration too, of BIPOC artists, all lead by a wonderful artist.... tune in to hear who is spearheading this performance! Tickets are available now and are limited!
September 05, 2020
Episode Seven with Opera In Reach
Meet my guests, Andrew Adridge and Daevyd Pepper. Together, they have brainstormed and set in motion an incredible initiative surrounding Opera, and how to make it more accessible, especially to our youth, and in a welcoming and safe environment for all. Their aim is to provide education and to build a fire in the belly of young people about Opera, about how creative they can be (There should be no limits on that!), and how even if one has never been exposed to Opera before, all are welcome to explore and learn ~ with expert guidance along the way, in the form of Mentors. Have a listen to find out what their programming is all about, how they intend to REACH people and keep them engaged, who they are working with on their Mentorship Team, and who some of the Partners are that are helping to make their vision possible. This is an extremely important outreach on behalf of an entire industry ~ one that continues to be downplayed and that has now suffered some very hard strikes due to COVID. It's not only important to engage new audiences, but to find and nurture the FUTURE of Opera itself. Opera In Reach makes Canada one of the leaders in its unique approach. Listen and then if you can, please support Opera In Reach ~ at www.operainreach.com ~ their DONATE button is LIVE now!
August 29, 2020
Episode Six with Guest Jonelle Sills, Soprano
Recently noted as one of CBC's Top 30 under 30 to watch out for, and with a stunning voice, Soprano Jonelle Sills tell us about her formative years in school...and we talk about how she moved naturally into the professional performance world as soon as she graduated. Most notably, she has performed with Against the Grain, and was part of the Ensemble in their production of Kopernikus that won a DORA award. Her belief, and outlook on life is genuinely refreshing and she is taking steps wherever possible to bring awareness to the arts world on how important inclusivity and diversity is - not just on stage, but behind the scenes too. She is a Mentor with the newly formed OperaInReach and tells us a bit about that, as well! She shares with us a recent performance which takes a few steps away from the conventional, blending a beloved hymn with an indigenous beat and song. She is not afraid to venture away from the norm!
August 22, 2020
Episode Five with Guest Daniella Theresia, Mezzo Soprano
Daniella has traveled far and wide and has only recently made Toronto her home. Her studies in Amsterdam, Israel, and in the US have created a treasure of a voice, and her bubbly personality shines through in everything she does. Her favourite reminder is that we should always "sing how we cry, and how we speak, and how we laugh", to find our authentic voice. Her most recent endeavours include a CD of Art Song entitled "The Eternal Feminine" with pianist Suzanne Yeo, and together, the two have begun a Podcast of their own, where they discuss the female composers of art song, poetry, and art that have always taken second seat...but who truly deserve to have their place in the canon of musical history. Daniella also shares with us plans for an ensemble effort of three singers, who, along with Suzanne, will bring us a daring, fun, and inspiring digital performance, coming up on September 5th. Don't miss DIVAS FOR HIRE! You can find their event information on Facebook!
August 15, 2020
Episode Four with Guest Natalya Gennadi, Soprano
Today's Guest is Soprano Natalya Gennadi, a smart, funny, and sensitive artist. Born in the Ukraine, Natalya shares with us some of her experiences as a young choral singer, and how she later chose her path to become a soloist, after completing a Linguistics Degree in Moscow. She shares her tips on Auditioning, along with her thoughts on how Classical music can and should become more accessible to young people, and also a little bit about her journey in preparing the role of Oksana G with Tapestry Opera ~ a very difficult subject matter that provided challenges and growth. Finally, Natalya explains the music that she would like to share with us, and its connection and meaning to her. I shed a tear right in the interview and I think you had better have some Kleenex handy. Please enjoy her live performance of "Pohaslo sontse lasky i tepla" by Yakiv Stepovy (The Sun of Tenderness and Warmth), with pianist Lisa Tahara. Natalya is represented by Domoney Artists.
August 08, 2020
Episode Three with Guest Taras Chmil, Tenor
Taras joins us from Toronto and takes us on an insightful journey about what it means to be prepared, and, how he manages the demands of being not only a member of the Canadian Opera Company Chorus and an IT Specialist, but also those of being a dedicated husband and father. From a musical family, Taras tells us how his path led him from beginning studies as a composer, to finding his true calling as a vocalist. Welcome, Taras!
August 01, 2020
Episode Two with Guest Meagan Reimer Larios, Mezzo Soprano
Meagan hails from Winkler, Manitoba and grew up in the Mennonite Choral Tradition. Have a listen to find out about how we are connected through our Mennonite roots, and, what Meagan has to say about her love for the text in the music, (and especially Recitative!) her experiences in Germany, and another genre of music that she loves to sing! We'll hear a small clip from Ah, Fuggi il Traditor, Donna Elvira's Aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni, and because it's a pretty short clip, a full Aria: Deh! Tu Bell'Anima from Bellini's "I Capuleti e I Montechhi" (Romeo and Juliet), of course with a beautiful Recitative to start!
July 25, 2020
Episode One with Guest Kristina Maria Agur, Mezzo Soprano
Today's podcast will introduce you to Canadian Estonian Mezzo Soprano Kristina Maria Agur. She is a vivacious and engaging person who now resides in Vienna, Austria, where she is currently a member of the Vienna State Opera Chorus or Wiener Staatsoper. We are so excited to bring Kristina to you as our very first podcast guest on Classical Voice Canada! Kristina has shared an Aria with us, accompanied by pianist Pantelis Polychronidis ~ please enjoy our discussion and her rendition of Massenet's Aria " Va! Laisse Couler Mes Larmes", from the opera 'Werther'.
July 18, 2020
Introduction to Classical Voice Canada
Classical Voice Canada podcasts will feature a new Classical Vocal artist each week, wherein we will discuss their favourite Classical genre(s), experiences, and career trajectories, and listen to one of their recordings. The recordings may be professionally done, or may be done as semi-professional or home-based recordings, as is the new norm we have gravitated to due to COVID-19. We hope that Classical Voice Canada will introduce you to new artists that you should be watching for in the future!
July 15, 2020