Emily Bolhuis, Full-Lyric Soprano – VSOS 2011 My experience this summer with Heidi Klassen can be summed up like this: Spirituality meets Vocal Technique meets LIFE. I have been craving this union between spirituality and singing in this crazy business for a long time…and I finally found someone who is willing to be “out of the closet” about it. Heidi’s teaching has guided me to the true “light” one experiences when singing brings JOY. In my opinion THIS is how one should pursue a career and if this spirituality stuff doesn’t RESONATE with you look up her Great Teacher: Prima Donna Virginia Zeani. That ought to resonate with anyone! Bel Canto is all you’re going to get from Heidi if you have the ears to hear. Thank You Heidi!
Flávio Lauria – VSOS 2011 You are a great singer and a great teacher (the best I’ve ever known). But, over all, you are a good person. You work to make your students true operatic singers. To help them, you use your experience, knowledge and feelings. You can understand us. You look inside us and see how we are singing, what we are feeling. That’s why everybody loved you in VSOS. You are still in touch with me because you know you can help me. And I know you can help me too. I will be back to Canada. I don’t know when, but I will. And I’ll look for you. In Brazil we have lots of problems (not much money, students who don’t speak English, and so on…). I’m talking about you a lot. Although we have lots of problems, I’ll keep trying to get enough students to bring you here. It would be a rare oportunity for us. Thank you for your message and for everything else. Thank you, very much, Heidi. I’ll never forget this summer in Vancouver!
Charlotte Knight – VSOS 2011 Thank you so much for the time and energy that you put in to our lessons at VSOS. They have truly changed my conception of my own voice in a way that I have never experienced before. I have never heard or felt such resonance and ease in my voice…this past year has been the hardest year of my singing life – I was beginning to doubt that my voice could go any further. Our lessons together at VSOS changed all that – it was like turning on a lightbulb! I feel very strongly that your technique is the next step that I need to take. I want to come to Vancouver to study with you….thank you again for everything.
Anna Penchuk – VSOS 2011 Thank you so much for all of your support Heidi! You have offered career-altering insight and I am so happy to have met and worked with you. Best of luck to you and I hope to see you in the future
Emily Bolhuis – VSOS 2011 I just wanted to let you know that when I get back I really want to continue working with you. Thank you for everything you’ve given me so far – the U tube, the Chi, the joy of the sound, and best of all the return to resonance concept! All of the above is so in the vortex where I know we both want to live as much as possible
Willy Miles-Grenzberg (Baritone, BMUS) - “There’s a strong sense of connection to a great singing tradition in Heidi’s teaching. She knows the real goods and she KNOWS how to show it to you.”
Frederik Robert (Tenor) – “Before meeting Heidi I was experiencing vocal problems that no-one seemed to be able to address. I needed a teacher who was technically competent and a great artist who also understood my spirit. The first time I heard Heidi sing was when I attended her Master Class at NUOVA. Her sound struck the core of my being. Since working vocally with Ms. Klassen I have been the recipient of Foundations and many professional engagements including the touring production of Die Zauberflote with the Winnipeg Symphony, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the National Arts Center Orchestra. Ottawa. Ms Klassen has a deep respect for the life of an Artist and knows what it takes to prepare, create and sustain a career.”
Heidi Muendel (Dramatic Soprano, MMUS) - “Just when I felt I had nowhere else to turn for guidance with my singing, Ms. Klassen came into my life and unleashed my voice. She facilitated the transition from mezzo to dramatic soprano efficiently and effectively all the while preparing me for the role of Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte within 5 months. The intensity of the lessons, the inspiration, and the vocal foundation found in coaching with Heidi Klassen over the years has served to build my confidence and discover an instrument beyond anything I had imagined. I was always a believer in drama first in singing, but have realized through our work together that when the voice is in alignment the soul can speak and all the emotions and vibrations that long to stir the listening ear are available to us. I am eternally grateful to Heidi Klassen.”
Opera Canada Magazine Debut Artist Kurt Lehmann – “The pivotal point in his vocal development came when he met Canadian Soprano Heidi Klassen. She gave the young tenor a firm pedagogical foundation on which to base his technique, and began to introduce him to the operatic repertoire. This unforced approach to his career has stood Lehmann in good stead.”
Kurt Lehmann (Tenor) – “Ms. Klassen has been most instrumental in recognizing the potential in my own voice and also in the development of it. I had the opportunity to be in the first cast of performers in Ms. Klassen’s newly developed The Opera Project Company providing young singers with practical stage experience. Ms. Klassen arranged my first auditions which resulted in immediate offers from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Manitoba Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa and connected me to my present Management. I have had a full time international performing career ever since, from Carnegie Hall & Dallas Opera to Montreal Opera, Italy and most major opera companies and Orchestras in Canada. Ms. Klassen is not only a gifted performing artist of the highest caliber, she is also a gifted teacher with a deep understanding of the voice and technique, with which she is able to bring forth immediate and outstanding results in her students and a leader in the development of The Opera Project.”
Leanne Page (Soprano) - “Heidi Klassen’s teaching of the bel canto technique as was taught to her by Virginia Zeani is a miracle to behold. She learned this technique through years of practical application and constant analysis. Her ability to pass this technique on to singers is unique because she has analyzed it so minutely both in theory and through her own determination to successfully apply it throughout her career. No detail is left unturned and this is what developing singers need. She says you cannot sing without ecstatic joy. This is when the sound exceeds mere acoustics to become a miracle of thought, feeling and of course sheer beauty of singing. During Heidi’s master classes, I have watched singers become absolutely connected to their sound which then exceeds itself and is in turn felt by everyone present, including the singer. It is a technique which requires intelligence but demands this ecstatic joy. As a singer new to the studio, I am excited to be learning a technique taught with such passion by a truly compassionate teacher and look forward to many ecstatic moments experienced through my own singing.”
Janel Snider (Soprano) - “Over the past five years under Heidi’s guidance and support, my vocal skills have skyrocketed. Using her technique, my sound is grounded and I have total control over my voice. Heidi not only teaches one how to sing, but passes on the skills needed to overcome vocal challenges as they arise. She has fully prepared me to enter the world of professional music, confident that I have the knowledge to succeed. It has been an honor to work with Heidi Klassen.”
Melanie McTaggart (Soprano, BMUS University of British Columbia) - “I thought I knew how to sing before I started taking lessons with Heidi Klassen. Then I started my lessons with her and realized that there was so much more to singing then I thought. Heidi helped me really understand the technical side of singing while bringing out the full color of my voice. I come out of every lesson feeling like I have learned something new and amazing.”
Jennifer Ashley (Dramatic Mezzo, Diploma in Jazz Studies, Jazz Guitar, Capilano University) - ”In the 3 years I have studied with Heidi Klassen I have improved dramatically. With her unique technique and approach to teaching, I have learned much quicker with her than with others. Her sensitivity to the music is accompanied by a sensitivity to each individual student making it both a pleasure to learn the music and to work with her.”
Peter Alexander (Baritone) - “When I think back on my journey these past few years I become filled with love, adoration and reverence for the gifts you have imparted!
Bonnie Dodds (Mezzo Soprano) - “I was an experienced singer when I started studying with Heidi. I felt limited in my singing ability. After a short while with Heidi, I realized that I had no vocal limitations. Her teaching approach has given me the technical ability and confidence I need to sing whatever I want to sing. Also…in all my years of observing and participating in master classes. I have never experienced such a positive atmosphere and such remarkable results!”
Melissa Howell (M.Mus, Vocalist/Voice Instructor) - “Soprano Heidi Klassen is a gifted teacher who is extremely technically proficient and knowledgeable but one who also teaches the whole person. I am amazed at the change in my voice through using her techniques, particularly in the area of vocal fatigue. I can now sing for hours with little or no fatigue. I have a thorough understanding of what it means to truly support the voice and achieve resonance. Thank you Heidi!”
Jane Perrett (Soprano) - “I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to be studying the art of singing with Heidi Klassen! She has taught me to sing in a place where there is freedom and spin and crystal in the sound. But more importantly she has taught me to understand how to create this incredible sound with consistency. She is a true inspiration to me!”
Fabiana Katz (Mezzo–Soprano, MMus Choral Conducting Univ. of Cincinnati, Vocalist, Voice Teacher, Conductor) - “Ms. Klassen gave me a new lease on singing! She shook the cobwebs off my old technique and taught me how to really feel what was going on in the throat and mouth mechanism, which is where most tension resides. Her approach to vocal technique is natural, organic and holistic and focused on the release of tension and effortless use of the support mechanism. Ms Klassen is a terrific musician and singer, but she is also smart, witty and extremely perceptive, chief ingredients that make for a fabulous teacher.”
Cara Brown (Soprano, MMus) - “I had just graduated from the University of Western Ontario when I met Heidi Klassen at the NUOVA opera summer intensive in Edmonton where she was teaching. In addition to her technical expertise, Heidi Klassen strives to cultivate a profound level of being in herself and in her students. Since working with her I feel challenged to sing with my authentic voice, and produce sounds and vibrations that will change the world. She balances intense and energetic lessons with a generosity of spirit and offers to her students unwavering support; in singing and in life.
Maura Sharkey (Mezzo Soprano, MMus) - “It was at my first lesson with Ms. Klassen that I knew that this was the woman who knew what it takes to not only draw out my talents, but develop me into a successful and formidable artist. During the 5 years under her guidance my career achievements in competitions, scholarships prizes, and debuts in professional roles are certainly credited to Ms. Klassen’s instructions. Most recently I was the only Western Canadian singer to represent Canada at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Brussels, Belgium where an enthusiastic critic wrote, ”an exuberant Canadian mezzo – soprano… shows herself comfortable in all the registers, bursting precision and engraves resonance.” Singing the title role in Rossini’s Cenerentola with the Vancouver Opera Touring Ensemble, proved my vocal technique and stamina which carried me through the 6 month engagement with 2 shows a day. What I have learned from Ms. Klassen’s studio as well as the experiences I have had with her opera company has inspired my confidence in my own ambition to sustain a career.”
Naomi Dueck Forman (Soprano, MMus Boston) - “Working with you as Amelia in Amelia Goes to the Ball was a wonderful and exciting experience! Your commitment to the show was incredible and you worked so hard to make Amelia the sold –out success it was. You proved yourself to be a fantastic director/producer, and led the cast in another great production. I gained many new and exciting techniques vocally from the year I studied with you. Thank you also for the way you taught me to ‘just sing’…not ‘acting and ‘showing’- just singing. I will always be grateful for your belief in me.”
Melinda Enns (Soprano) - “I have been a student of Ms. Klassen for 6 years. Her input and influence on my musical development has gone far beyond mere technique and interpretation of repertoire. She has used her influence and position as a world class singer to open many doors for me. She has introduced me to various mentors and teachers, arranged auditions and traveled with me to build my confidence. It is out of this passion for her students’ careers that the idea of The Opera Project was conceived and will continue to grow.”