Hammerdal Stagecraft Intensive 26 October-2 November 2019

Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond and his frequent teaching partner,  soprano-voice teacher, Anna Niedbala present regular vocal seminars throughout the year.   They are joined by coach-pianist-composer, James Jenkins, for the 8-day Stagecraft Intensive in Hammerdal, Sweden. The course will include the following activities on a daily basis:

9:00-11:00 Fundamental Stage Techniques and Theater Games

11:00-13:00 Voice Lessons and Musical Coachings

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:00 Scenes Preparation

16:00-16:30 Break

16:30-19:30 Staging Arias

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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…)

Dr. LaFond has staged Don Giovanni, Macbeth, Tosca, A Hand of Bridge, Der Schauspieldirektor, his own opera, The Fall, and dozens of operatic scenes programs. He has taught stagecraft for opera singers at Utah State University, University of Florida and Härnösands Folkhögskola.

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, Germany and Spain.  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 Nachrichten.

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

James Jenkins is an active collaborative pianist, vocal coach, and composer. A former resident of the Washington, DC area, James has performed in many of Washington’s most prestigious venues, including the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Arts Club of Washington, Smithsonian Institution, National Gallery of Art, the Embassy of Luxembourg, the Strathmore Mansion, and the Washington National Cathedral. He was also the pianist for the award-winning Thomas Circle Singers from 2007-2012, during which they premiered works by American composers Gwyneth Walker and Blake Henson. From 2012 to 2015, as a resident of central Ohio, James worked with numerous professional organizations including Opera Columbus, Opera Project Columbus, the Carpe Diem String Quartet and Columbus Dance Theatre, and was a freelance pianist and vocal coach at The Ohio State University and a staff accompanist for Ohio Wesleyan University. During the summers of 2015-2018 he was an accompanist and vocal coach at Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival in Härnösand, Sweden, where he had the pleasure of accompanying the legendary tenor George Shirley in recital. During the summers of 2007-2009 he accompanied and assisted distinguished artists and conductors in workshops at Westminster Choir College, including singers Julianne Baird and Elem Eley, and conductors James Jordan, Weston Noble, Joe Miller and Bruce Chamberlain. James especially enjoys composing art song. His song set The Living Root was premiered at historic St Margaret’s Church in Annapolis, MD in 2011 and selections performed in 2015 at the Alba Music Festival in Italy. Mr. Jenkins received his M.M. in collaborative piano from the University of Maryland, College Park and his B.M. in piano performance from Stetson University. James currently accompanies the Westberg Ensemble and coaches at Framnäs Folkhögskola in Northern Sweden.

The class is open to 10 singers maximum. The emphasis is on stagecraft for opera singers.

The course costs €780. Lessons will take place at the Church in Hammerdal and other locations in town. The course will conclude with a performances of scenes and arias.

Arrival and Departure

Participants should plan to arrive on Friday 25 October 2019 (Course officially begins on the morning of 26 October). Final performance will take place in the afternoon of Saturday 2 November. Departure 19:00 on 2 November or after.

Lodging: Participants are responsible for their own lodging.

Camp Route 45: Offers very reasonably priced lodging with available kitchen!

For more upscale lodging, the Hotel Åsgården offers single and double rooms.


To apply for participation, fill out the form below (Video link not necessary, but helpful)! 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.  Upon acceptance, you will receive an invoice to be paid immediately to assure confirmation of your participation.

After submitting the application, please click here to pay the deposit (half of the course fee)! Look under the category Masterclasses and Intensives! Deposit deadline September 30, 2019. Rest of payment due October 15, 2019!