Winter Bel Canto Intensive


Winter Bel Canto Technique Intensive in Nyland's Courthouse-- 4-10 March 2018

Kashu-do Opera Studios, organizes several masterclasses throughout the year in idyllic settings that encourage the singer artistically and humanistically leading to the Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival.  The second masterclass of the season is a Bel Canto Intensive featuring  Internationally renowned pedagogue, Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond, soprano-voice teacher, Anna Niedbala and Conductor-pianist, Brandon Eldredge. The Bel Canto Intensive gives the singer the opportunity to understand Traditional Italian Vocal Technique by anlayzing Old School Concepts with respect to current (New School) research.  The intensive week will include, morning group warm ups using the Vaccai Exercises, daily voice lessons and evening masterclasses. The Bel Canto Intensive will concentrate on Italian Repertoire. Kashu-do (歌手道):  The Way of the Singer is a philosophy of vocal artistry developed by Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond.  In short, it is a process that opens the developing singer to the awareness of the many elements that must be mastered in order to achieve true competence as a vocal artist.  


After the Fall 2017 "Intensive" participants wanted to know directly afterwards when they could sign for the next course.  It is here!!!  






Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond has been active as a pedagogue for over 30 years and currently advises over 100 active professional opera singers throughout Europe and lovers of singing throughout the world.  His  studio locations include Vienna, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Berlin and Gothenburg. He is also the artistic administrator of Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival since its inception four years ago. He also teaches a full operatic curriculum at the Opera Studio at Härnösands Folkhögskola in Sweden. "Despite his enormous technical knowledge at the forefront of vocal pedagogy, his teaching is clear and easy to understand, perceptive and constructive, demanding and individually flexible. In addition to his musicality, his immense talent for languages and his patience he is,  in a friendly but firm way, both a model and a fundamental support along the way for each singer who wants to improve. I would recommend Dr. LaFond at the highest level to anyone who wants to work seriously and consistently with one of the world's best voice pedagogues"--Nadine Weissmann, dramatic mezzo (Bayreuth Festspiele, Teatro del Liceu, Komische Oper Berlin, etc…)


Anna Niedbala has appeared as a mezzo-soprano at Sarasota Opera, Baltimore Opera, Chicago Opera Theater and Minnesota Opera and recently made her European debut at the Salzburger Landestheater in the soprano role of Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito. Having worked with Dr. LaFond and the Kashu-do method for over 5 years, Ms. Niedbala is emerging as a talented voice teacher and director in her own right.  She has recently taught and directed at Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival in Sweden. She teaches privately in Dortmund, Germany.  "Anna Niedbala has both large and dark tones for the expansive role and makes clear both the vulnerability and hurt of the scorned [Vitellia]; moving and truthful in  true Mozart style" -Salzburger Nachrichte


Brandon Eldredge is a versatile conductor and pianist from the United States dedicated to connecting stage and orchestra. Currently living in Härnösand, Sweden, he works training and mentoring young opera singers as well as serving as conductor for the choir for the Härnösand Folkhögskola’s Kapellsberg Opera Studio. There he has musically led and conducted from the piano such productions as Tosca and Turandot and will also lead Orphée aux enfers this coming spring. An experienced opera coach, Mr. Eldredge also spent time in Germany on staff at the Universität Siegen and worked for Theater Bonn as a repetiteur for productions of Madama Butterfly and Die Zauberflöte in their 2016 season.


As an orchestral conductor, Mr. Eldredge has led such distinguished orchestras as the Bohuslav Martinů Philharmonic Orchestra in Zlin, Czech Republic, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Rochester, New York, and the New Symphony Orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 2015, he was a contender in the Antal Doráti International Conducting Competition in Budapest, Hungary. He also serves as the principal conductor of the Rainbow Symphony Cologne in Cologne, Germany.

Before pursuing an operatic career Mr. Eldredge developed his professional foundation in the United States. As assistant conductor for both the orchestra and the choirs at The College of New Jersey, Mr. Eldredge led rehearsals from the piano and podium for multiple seasons. During this time, he assisted in the US premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas’s Sieben Klangräume (2005), a piece contrasting seven contemporary sound spaces with the unfinished fragmented movements of Mozart’s Requiem. In 2013, Mr. Eldredge made his debut as an opera conductor in central Illinois with Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, leading the production from conception through performance. Furthermore, in 2009, he performed Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto as soloist with the College of New Jersey Orchestra.

Mr. Eldredge studied piano at The College of New Jersey and holds a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Illinois. His conducting teachers and mentors include Donald Schleicher, Larry Rachleff, Mark Gibson, Neil Varon, Kenneth Kiesler, and Gustav Meier.



Application and Registration:

To apply, please click on the "Go to Application Form" button at the bottom of this page and follow directions (application fee: 400 SEK).  Once accepted, students will receive information about payment and confirming their participation in the course. Application Deadline: 1 March 2017 or until all spots are filled (10-16 spots)

Participants will receive:

  1. A voice lesson every day
  2. Participation in daily masterclasses
  3. Short seminars on specific subjects
  4. Morning Tai Chi
  5. Round table discussions on technical issues
  6. Recital by participants on Saturday, 10 March, 2017
  7. Recital by the teachers (Date to be announced).


The 1-week Workshop costs 8.000 SEK

Room and Board:

 Participants reside in simple guest rooms (shared bathroom and shower in the hall) at the Courthouse (double occupancy for a symbolic fee (suggested 200 SEK per night—7 nights, 4-10  March (Arrival  4 March, departure 11 March) 2018. A kitchen is available if participants wish to prepare their own meals  In previous classes participants took turns in groups of 2 to cook for each other creating a really genial atmosphere.  A convenient supermarket (ICA-Rosen) is nearby. Dallas Pizza offers a variety of common dishes at very reasonable prices.  Hola Folkhögskola nearby will be on break but their kitchen will be open.  They provide excellent lunches.  If participants wish more prestigious accommodations it is possible to book double or single rooms at Sandslåns Hostel nearby (participants would be transported back and forth between their accommodations and the Courthouse.

Who should apply:

The course is open to singers of all levels.  Singers are treated individually commensurate with their level of experience (Maximum 10 participants). Click on the application button below to apply. Once accepted  payment information will be provided.

Travel to Nyland:

By car or by bus: The E4 travels from south to north through the High Coast.  From E4 take route 90 towards Kramfors and Lunde and follow signs to Nyland. Daily busses from Stockholm to Kramfors with The busses are of a high standard.

By train:

By air: Kramfors (Höga Kusten) Airport is at a 5  minutes distance from Nyland.  There are direct flights from Stockholm-Arlanda, Those traveling from outside of Sweden should arrive at Arlanda and then to connect to Höga Kusten Airport. 

For traveling advice assistance and other details, contact: Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond:


Enjoying Nyland’s peaceful environment: 

The picturesque  little village of Nyland borders the Ångerman River leading to the Baltic Sea.  It offers lovely walks by the water as well as hikes in the nearby hills and forests—As with all Kashu-do Workshop settings, Nyland provides an environment that inspires artistic work.

Nylands Tingshus (Courthouse), a former municipal courthouse is home to Kashu-do Opera Studios, Courthouse Music and other artistic entities under the umbrella of the company iOpera AB. Managed by celebrated Swedish Composer, Fredrik Högberg and international voice pedagogue, Jean-Ronald LaFond, “The Courthouse” has become synonymous with artistic activity.  The superior acoustics of the the “Courtroom” (turned into a concert hall), equipped with high definition recording equipment (including a green screen) makes it a popular destination for recording projects.




Commentary from participants of the previous Intensives:  

"The price is too low for the amount of information we got!"

"I found myself in this course.  The quiet, peaceful environment almost charms you to surrender and experience your true self!"

"Dr. LaFond and Anna Niedbala are a seamless team.  One takes over where the other one pauses.  It's as if they read each-other's minds and the student's inner thoughts together! They teach the student, not just the voice!

"(Pianist-coach) Brandon Eldredge is a conductor-pianist with a profound wealth of information. A very special musician!

"I want to work with these three people whenever the opportunity presents itself!"