Winter Vocal Technique Intensive in Barcelona
14-21 December 2018
Kashu-do Opera Studios organizes several masterclasses throughout the year in idyllic settings that inspire the singer artistically and humanistically leading to technical and musical development. This year’s winter session will take place near beautiful Barcelona and features Internationally renowned pedagogue, Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond and his frequent teaching partner, soprano-voice teacher, Anna Niedbala. The intensive week will include 2 daily voice lessons, a daily coaching with the excellent Danish coach-pianist, Janus Høgfeldt Araghipour, and evening masterclasses. Additional activities include attending the new production of Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algieri at Barcelona’s celebrated Teatro del Liceu (Not included in course price) and a final concert hosted by The Conservatory of Cervera.
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.
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 teaches regularly at the Gothenburg Opera. 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 process for over 7 years, Ms. Niedbala has emerged as a talented voice teacher and director in her own right. She has recently taught and directed at Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival and several masterclasses in Sweden and Austria. 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.
But the big star is Anna Niedbala’s Tosca. An amazing lyric soprano that alternates unobtrusively between crisp heat and full strength. It really was her performance!–Allhända.se
Janus Høgfeldt Araghipour is a Danish concert pianist, conductor and vocal coach.
After earning his BA with honours at the Danish National Academy of Music he was accepted at the Szymanowski Academy in Katowice, Poland. There Janus studied with the internationally acclaimed prof. Jasinski who encouraged him to pursue a carreer as a concert pianist while also urging him to develop his conducting skills and vocal coaching.
Back in Denmark Janus was awarded the 1st prize in the Academys Soloist Competition while also winning the prize for best accompanist at ”Young Singers” three times in a row cementing his reputation as an equally adept soloist and collaborator.
In 2014 Janus became associated with London Bel Canto Vocal Studio and director Kenneth Querns-Langley and started preparing his students for auditions and recitals while also attending hundreds of singing lessons. Gradually learning the technique and approach in the tradition of Garcia, Marchesi and Lamperti , Janus started to work more exstensively as a coach preparing singers for auditions at houses such as La Scala and Covent Garden.
In 2018 Janus was invited to join the faculty at London Bel Canto Festival as artistic director along such capacities as Maestri Aprile Millo, Bruce Ford and Nelly Miricioiu-Kirk under the directorship of Kenneth Querns-Langley.
”He is a breathtaking collaborator with enormous sensitivity to the singer and his technique and musicality is simply flawless” – Maestro Bruce Ford
”Firstly, I have to say that Janus Araghipour is one of the most brilliant young pianists available. His musicality is extraordinary and his dedication to professionalism and to the development of music is exemplary. Secondly, his ear for voices is second to none” – Maestro Kenneth Querns-Langley
The class is open to serious singers of all levels (8-14 participants) The emphasis is on understanding vocal technique “globally” (i.e. how all the pieces work together to achieve a balanced organic vocal experience) and make marked improvements during the week.
Once all participants are confirmed, an ensemble will be assigned to all singers.
The course costs 12.500 Swedish Crowns (c. 1.200€ or 1,450USD) and includes lodging at Villa Torre de Mejanell, 50 minutes north of Barcelona and 10 minutes away from Cervera Conservatory, and includes transportation from and to Barcelona Airport (BCN).
Arrival and Departure
Participants should plan to arrive on Friday, 14 December (Course officially begins on Saturday 15 December) to Barcelona Aiport (BCN). We will arrange to pick up all participants at BCN. If arriving at other airports or arriving on 15th, we will make arrangements for transportation to the villa. All participants must leave the villa on the morning of Friday 21 December, as new guests will be arriving that day. Transportation will be ready to take participants to BCN.
How the Kashu-do Experience Works
Morning: Dr. LaFond has a Black Belt in Kung Fu/Tai Chi and offers Tai Chi meditation classes in the morning. It’s a good way to clear our minds and get started with positive reinforcements that influence our experience throughout the day. Some mornings, Anna Niedbala shares her experiences with Pilates.
We then have breakfast on our own before we begin the first sessions. There is time after Tai Chi to warm up. Depending on the number of participants, we may have a group warm-up so we become aware of how to prepare ourselves to sing (while the principles are straightforward, each person may need a different approach).
In Between: Before and after lunch, the participants have individual lessons with each of the teachers. Lunch is a personal time as well, but occasionally we get together and discuss technique, the business vs the art of Opera, musicianship, etc.
After the individual sessions, we take an hour break and then proceed to the daily masterclass with all the teachers together. Depending on circumstances, sometimes we will eat supper first, take a break and then do masterclasses at the end of the day.
Supper: We take turns preparing supper for each other. This is a very beautiful part of our smaller masterclass experiences.
Other: We always do our classes in beautiful, nature-filled locations. We get the opportunity to experience a beautiful walk, or hike and the teachers are available to the participants pretty much the whole time. We are here for your benefit!
Frequently Asked Questions
I have never worked with you. Will it confuse me technically? Hopefully Not! We do not seek to undo what singers have learned. Our philosophy is one of inclusion. We believe every teacher has great things to share with their students. We attempt to introduce students to their complete instrument and how the many parts of singing balance out each other. In the end, we hope the student understands the whole and how what they came with fits in.
Will studying with more than one teacher be confusing? Usually not! But if it occurs we are there to help take away the confusion. Our teachers agree on the empirical facts about vocal function and our goals are general the same. But we have different approaches, of course. We think this is a plus. A singer may hear the same information from two different sources and understands it better from one of the sources. We complement each other and we discuss the progress of every student daily.
Other questions? Don’t hesitate to ask us!
To confirm your participation, fill out the form below and pay the deposit! Should the class be full or should we feel that the course is not appropriate for you at this time, the deposit will be refunded immediately.
Deposit to confirm course participation
Please pay the deposit ($500 USD) to confirm your participation in the course! Once confirmed, an invoice will be sent for the remaining payment. In case the course is full or we decide the course is not right for you at this time, the deposit will be refunded immediately.