Testimonials for the Mastery of Singing Course - 2017
Christina Kent - MMus, professional singer, voice teacher
"The Mastery Course has been tremendously helpful in accelerating my growth both as a performer and as a teacher. It has been wonderful to be part of a community of talented singers eager to understand true technical and artistic freedom and willing to go on the journey of discovery together. I have learnt so much from observing each participant find their own “voice” alongside the guidance and tremendous insight of Heidi Klassen. This course served to clarify and embolden me to move to new heights in my singing and teaching."
Camilla Shi - BMus, professional singer
"The Mastery Course has been an irreplaceable experience. It’s a rare opportunity in which every facet of technique, performance and artistry has been explored, loved, and understood, with concise and articulate instruction from Heidi. I feel reinvigorated and inspired by everyone’s progress. Seeing and hearing every participant’s journey throughout this course has given me a new outlook and comprehension, as well as appreciation, for the amount of intricacies that go into finding this coveted ease in one’s true, pure beauty of sound. I feel more confident in my knowledge after this class."
Alexandra Hill - MMus, professional singer
"Heidi Klassen’s Mastery Course has been a fantastic opportunity to challenge my skills, both as a performer and a pedagogue. Heidi encourages the exploration of ideas, encourages participation from participants and observers alike, and helps singers to finely tune their ear to the subtle nuances of refined resonances. I have learned so much about my own understanding of the voice through this course and I highly recommend it to any singer who seeks to gain clarity and simplicity about the often mysterious, temperamental, unnecessarily complex, and well hidden instrument that is the human voice.”
Bonnie Dodds - BMus, professional singer, voice teacher
"As a singer who has had a singing career, who teaches voice, and who has studied with many wonderful voice teachers, I finally found someone who is able to complete the process of vocal freedom, arriving at the authentic best/most beautiful/most resonant sound. Not only can I pass it on to my students, but I can die happy that I have finally found my true voice! It is a challenging process but so simple at the same time. If only I had discovered her teaching sooner!!! If you want to witness the magic of bel canto singing, you really need to make it a priority to audit these classes and to hear the beautiful singing. Prepare to be transported to somewhere amazing!"
Sylvia del Valla Garcia - Singer, Spanish Guitar, Yoga Instructor
"Having completed Part 1 of the Mastery Course I am excited to share what was experienced here. Heidi masterfully guided us to discover for ourselves, how these concepts when understood, and applied correctly, can bring about a freedom and joy like never before. Repetition was the key and by the 8th week I felt confident that I understood the technique and its potency. Now when I perform, concepts apply themselves naturally - not all the time- but enough where I can honestly say (drum roll please) I am experiencing ecstatic joy! PART 2 ECSTATIC EXPRESSION awaits us! I can’t wait!"
Rachel Scott - MFA, BA, MSci, Published Author
"The clarity of Heidi’s teaching and her depth of knowledge have brought my understanding of singing to a new level. She makes sophisticated technical ideas simple, accessible, and repeatable. A master!"
Elisa Rolston - BMus, A.R.C.T, Music for young children
"I have learned a lot of things from Heidi Klassen that I have never heard before and I have been taking voice lesson since 1991. The techniques I have learned have really freed up my voice as well as finding deeper and darker resonances than I have heard from my voice before. The techniques have taken a great deal of concentration in order to learn, but once my body and mind caught on to the technique, the physicality of singing became a lot easier and puts a lot less stress on the vocal passages. I think I learned so much more from a group situation than just in private lessons because it helps to hear the same technical principals from a variety of voice types. I think my learning curve was definitely increased by the class setting. I also really appreciated the online videos of the course because I could then go back over the classes, hear the same information again and retain more of the information. I highly recommend this class for anyone looking to go further with their voice."
Alicia Tao - Lyric Coloratura Soprano
“Heidi is the best vocal teacher I have ever met. I have worked with her less than one year and she totally changed my voice! Now I am very happy and confident with my warm and flexible voice! She has a super, specifically technical system and it works efficiently. Every minute in her lesson I feel excited for my big progress in my vocal technique. I am the lucky one that learned the real bel canto from her! Thank you, Heidi.”
Erica Sofrina - California; Published author FENG SHUI, Singer
"To be able to watch Heidi take these singers through each step of her profound teaching and to see and hear their remarkable improvement both as performers and teachers of her technique was truly an experience of a lifetime! And now I have all 8 sessions of Part 1 to continue to play and learn from for years to come! Thank you Heidi for making this available to auditors. I can’t imagine why anyone who is serious about learning to sing would not take advantage of such a gift!"
"I am a beginner singing student and very much enjoying my lessons with Christina Kent (participant). I am so happy that she invited me to audit Heidi’s classes. I was amazed at how much I Iearned as an auditor, watching Heidi’s already highly skilled students apply her teachings right in front of me, with her fun and masterful guidance, bringing out such beauty in a wide variety of voices and repertoire. It was a joyful experience. Thanks for the learning and I would recommend it to anybody interested in singing and performing."
Frederik Robert – Tenor, professional singer
"After many years of study with Heidi Klassen, one of Virginia Zeani’s prized pupils who has mastered the technique, I had the great honor of studying this year with Virginia Zeani herself, one of the few remaining authorities on bel canto singing as it was taught in the great era of Pertile and Gigli. Had it not been for my studies with Ms. Klassen I could not have received so much benefit from the experience which was a dream come true.”
Fabiana Katz -Mezzo, MMus conducting and professional singer
“Her approach to vocal technique is natural, organic, holistic, and focused on the release of tension and effortlessness of the support system."
Willy Miles- Grenzberg -Baritone, professional singer
“There is a strong sense of a great singing tradition in her teaching. She knows the real goods and knows how to show it.”
Charlotte Knight - Soprano, professional singer
“You have truly change the conception of my voice…I have never felt such resonance and ease in my voice….it was like turning on a light bulb.”
COSI FAN TUTTE AND COSI UNHINGED! – January 2006
Trudy Redwood, IT Consultant & Audience Member
“I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Cosi Unhinged. I laughed so hard and had a wonderful time. I wanted to congratulate Heidi and tell her how much I admired and was inspired by her speech at the beginning of the opera. Her belief about the vibration of singers changing the world is a beautiful and inspirational one and I really was inspired by her generosity.” – Elisa Righele, Singer & Audience Member – “The productions turned out way better than I expected, a double dose of opera (my husband Martin even enjoyed it) – we had a great time! The talent was truly impressive. Wow! And the afternoon cast – the “unhinged” concept made it really different and extra enjoyable. Amazing talent. Was a delight to see and hear.”
Scott Ashton Swan, Artistic Producer, APPLAUSE! Musicals Society
“I just had to write a quick note to say congratulations to all of you! I had such a wonderful time on Saturday at both of the Cosi performances. I have to tell you that as an educator and believer and promoter of arts accessibility and giving opportunity to people, I was especially impressed with the afternoon “Unhinged” performance. I DO hope that this program continues, and I hope to help promote it to even more people. Again – congratulations to all of you for such a wonderfully entertaining afternoon!”
CELEBRATION OF LOVE – A MOTHER’S DAY CONCERT – May 2005
“Best concert I’ve heard in years!” – Audience Member
“I go to Vancouver Opera all season, but I enjoyed this much much more!” – Audience Member
COSI FAN TUTTE – 1998
Howard Dyck, Conductor
“My collaboration with The Opera Project in its debut production of Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart was one of the most satisfying musical experiences in recent memory. The young singers engaged for this production proved to be fully professional and eminently equipped fro the task, both vocally and in terms of their prowess on stage. Every one of them has the potential for a significant operatic career; I want to say further what a splendid director we had in Heidi Klassen. Given her vast experience as an opera singer and her innate instincts for the stage, she was able to give wonderful leadership and advice to these young singers. Ms. Klassen was also able to recruit a virtual army of helpers and volunteers as far as sets, costumes, marketing, fund-raising are concerned. In this way The Opera Project was able to introduce a large number of people to the intricacies of mounting an opera production, making this an “apprentice program’ at many levels. I can only hope that The Opera Project will grow and flourish.”
David Scott, The Manitoba Arts Council Music and Dance Officer
“I must congratulate you on the artistic success of your production. The entire production was beautifully done… the singers worked well together and held the stage admirably. They are obviously on their way to promising careers.”
Cara Brown, Soprano
“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. The Opera Project provides opportunities that are not often offered in formal training such as my role as Despina in Cosi fan Tutte.”
Audience member – Barrister Heather Dixon
“Nothing prepared me for the outstanding beauty of the opera and the fantastic voices of the cast members. Seated beside me was a friend who had spent several years in Europe. She had attended opera on numerous occasions in Italy and Britain. She had likewise attended many presentations here in Manitoba. She leaned over and told me that this was as good as anything she had ever seen on a Manitoba stage and in fact, could hold its own with most that she had seen in Europe. I had not expected anything near the superb presentation that I saw that evening. The importance of such a project is vital to the arts. Such a program where standards are set high enough to cause the participants to stretch beyond where they have been before, can only serve to raise the standard of the arts. Organizations like The Opera Project can only serve to ensure that the expectations of even the most demanding patron of the arts are not only met, but exceeded.”
Colleen Skull, Mezzo-Soprano – January 2000
“I participated in The Opera Project’s first venture of a full-scale production of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”… I was fortunate enough to be cast in the mezzo-soprano role of Dorabella. I cannot express how invaluable that experience has proven to be in my development as a young artist. The gift of being able to sing a full role is immeasurable to a young singer ready and eager for a challenge… I have since gone on to complete two years of Opera Performance at the Univeristy of Toronto, which has lead to my conviction of how valuable my experience with The Opera Project was.”
SOUNDS THAT CHANGE THE WORLD CONCERT – 2005
Rachel Landrecht, Soprano – Concert Participant
“Thank you so much, I had a wonderful night and so enjoyed creating music with everyone. My friend Cheryl can’t stop talking about how wonderful the performance was and how wonderful she thought you were. How gracious and beautiful and how you made her feel like an equal, and and and. She was so lifted by the whole event. So thank you for that. As I listened to your solo’s, I was completely overcome. You are truly one of the greatest singers I have ever heard. Living, dead, recorded, live. It is like when you are in the presence of a master, their vibration automatically lifts you because of where they resonate. You do that for us as singers. Deepest gratitude.”
ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD – 2002
Audience member – Ms. M. L. Kuntzemueller
“Congratulations are due to the artists, the director, and the supporting staff for the great performance of “Orpheus in the Underworld”. I am glad to have rediscovered TOP and only regret that I missed Amelia Goes to the Ball”. Your work with young artists is excellent and deserves to be supported. Keep up the good work! (Cheque enclosed).”
AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL – 2001
Audience member – Professor John Wortley
“Words fail me to express how much Sylvia and I enjoyed Amelia Goes to the Ball last Saturday – it was a triumph from every point of view and such a pleasure to behold, that one was truly sorry when it came to an end. I knew when we saw Cosi fan Tutte that you were really on to something with The Opera Project. You have now proved it beyond all shadow of a doubt. I look forward with great anticipation to the next production (Magic Flute?) confident that it will be yet another evening of pure delight. Enclosed is a little something to help to balance the books.”
Nikki Einfeld, Soprano Coloratura – Chambermaid in Amelia 2001 – Now Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera
“Amelia was a great and positive experience… I am totally supportive of Heidi’s efforts. She’s trying to keep opera alive by bringing it out into the community. I have no doubt that she would run another successful fringe production and that every show would be sold out again. …she’s educating new audiences and giving us ‘up-and- coming singer’s a chance.”
Naomi Dueck Forman, Soprano
“Working with you [Heidi Klassen] 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 pounded the pavement to get sponsors, sets, and anything we needed….I had another wonderful time singing Euridice in Orpheus in the Underworld and again 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.”
Four Stars, Says Big Brother!!! – 2001 Winnipeg Fringe Festival
Linda Rosborough, Winnipeg Free Press
“Everything about this production is impeccable, from the period costumes and set to the staging and expressive performances. Even the program is slicker and more polished than most. The singers — trained, aspiring young professionals from Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary — are impressive. As required, they flirt, pout, preen and posture. Opera isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but this production from Winnipeg’s The Opera Project is accessible, even to the newest of newcomers to the art.” –
VIRGINIA ZEANI MASTER CLASSES – 2000
“The Opera Project is a ray of hope for Western Canadian singers.” – Comment received
“Congratulations on the successful Master Class and gala concert. Your vision, dedication and talents orchestrated a wonderful event. And now may many exciting doors open to you in the future.” – Comment received
“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[1997/98 - Eisenstein, Rudolfo, Ferrando], 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.” – Kurt Lehmann, Tenor
“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.” – Article on Debut Artist Kurt Lehmann – Opera Canada-1999
“We as young performers got a taste of what it was like to be a professional and had the opportunity to be directed by a seasoned professional opera singer in Heidi Klassen. I was impressed by the quality of the production. It also exposed the art form to a whole new audience in a setting that is non-threatening. What Heidi accomplished was amazing – I would recommend the experience to anyone. It looks great on a resume! As a result of my role in Amelia, members of the Manitoba Opera Association were able to see my live performance. This is much better then an audition.” – Soprano Naomi Dueck Forman – Amelia 2001 and Orpheus 2002
“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. Despite the rich culture that Winnipeg offers, the opportunities for young singers to gain knowledge and experience in opera is limited. There is an understanding that to gain this experience one must leave for larger centers such as Toronto. Not having unlimited financial resources, it is difficult for me to move out east to attain the necessary experience. Another option is to be part of the ensemble programs already established but the spaces in such programs are limited. The Manitoba Opera Company has tried to support young singers by offering small compramario roles. And I am grateful but the opportunities are limited. That is where The Opera Project can fill a void.It is designed to give young singers a chance to develop lead roles. Through The Opera Project I have sung the roles of Adele , Musetta and Despina.” – Melinda Enns, Soprano – 1997
“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 I have participated through The Opera Project in the 2000 Virginia Zeani Master Classes, as Opinion in Orphee aux Enfers and Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte. 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.” With Ms. Klassen’s high recommendation, I was engaged by the Manitoba Opera and the Edmonton Opera in the role of Mercedes in Carmen. Singing the title role of Cenerentola in Rossini’s La 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. Much of 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.” – Maura Sharkey, Mezzo-Soprano, MMus