HSOF Voice Teacher Survey
History of HSOF
The Halifax Summer Opera Festival was founded in 2005 as a pay-to-sing program to help give voice student interested in opera a chance to learn and perform an entire role in an opera from standard repertoire. We grew from one opera in 2005 and 2006 to two and then three operas a season, running in repertory. Our standard model has been to offer participants roles in double-cast, fully-staged and costumed productions accompanied by piano with a conductor, stage director, vocal coach, stage manager. The program offers masterclasses, extra public performance opportunities and extra classes ranging from acting to movement. A pared down program allows us to offer it at a reasonable rate, which has been important for me. We also give quite a bit of scholarship money. We are a registered charity in Canada.
Ethos and Goals
As a singer myself, I knew when I founded HSOF that I wanted to offer a practical, supportive, friendly and collaborative environment for young artists to be supported to make choices and to get to the next level, whatever that was for them at their current point of development. Opera performance, as you know, has lots of moving parts, and you really have to do it to get better at it. You don’t know that you can do a major role, for example, until you do a major role! For beginners, just getting on stage and dealing with the basics of stagecraft, work environment and theatrical etiquette is very valuable. We have no age limits because we know singers develop at different rates.
In 2020 and 2021 we, of course, had to cancel our planned seasons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While looking forward to 2022 we wanted to reevaluate the pay-to-sing industry, its continuing value to your students and what we can contribute to their development before announcing plans. If there ever was a time to pivot, this is it!
Some of our concerns are:|
- What do singers need in a post-covid world? Shorter programs? Very specific programs? Art Song Programs? Operas with orchestra? Scene study?
- How can a summer program support your student’s development?
- How to deal with the dearth of male singers applying to programs everywhere.
.Would you consider filling in this brief survey? We know that you care passionately about the development of your students as people and as artists. We don’t want to keep doing the same old thing if that’s no longer relevant to today’s performers.
Thank you so much for any thoughts you’d be willing to share!