Opera Academy 2016

Härnösands Summer Opera Academy and Festival 2016

Explore your operatic potential this summer in beautiful Härnösand, Sweden!   In cooperation with Kashu-do Studios, Härnösands Folkhogskola offers a Summer Opera Academy that will provide the ever-developing singer an opportunity to hone in the many skill-sets required of an operatic artist in an environment that is as supportive and genial as it is focused and challenging.

The program will provide daily classes in physical fitness and mental focus, vocal technique, musical coaching, scenic interpretation, language and diction, body-alignment/muscular balancing and ensemble singing. Additionally each singer will have the opportunity to perform in daily master classes and take part in a performance of arias and scenes at the end of the program as well as a final concert with the faculty.  Pianists will work closely with singers and with our experienced piano faculty to develop their skills as collaborative pianists.


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, with particular emphasis on opera. Dates: August 8-20, 2016 (Arrival August 7, departure August 21)

The Academy offers 5 distinct tracks this year:

1. Academy Professionals

2. Academy developing Professionals (University, Hochschule, Högskola level students and young artists developing a career)

2A. Academy developing Professionals interested in Concert work and focusing on artsongs (romanser)

3. Dedicated Amateurs:  Singers dedicated to the art of singing as a hobby and wish to develop their skills in voice, theatrical skills, musical competences, languages, etc...


The different tracks are developed not so much to separate participants but rather to allow them to develop in specific ways consistant with their level of experience.  Some amateurs have real professional musicianship and competences and so we aim to treat each participant with a degree of individuality, such that each person grows further beyond where they began.

View the full brochure for more information

Legendary Tenor and Master-Teacher George Shirley Joins Us Again in 2016

 It is with the greatest joy that we announce the participation of the legendary tenor and master teacher George Shirley as our featured faculty member at Härnösand Summer Opera Academy and Festival 2015.  Arguably the finest Pélléas on record, the Grammy Award winner (Ferrando--Cosi fan tutte) literally opened the door for men of color on the operatic stage.  The first black tenor to sing lead roles at major opera houses all over the world (La Scala, Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, etc), paradoxically Maestro George Shirley's artistry transcends race.  He is a colleague beloved by his peers  and a teacher admired by his students, evoking a level of respect  that very few can inspire.

Maestro Shirley will be in residence during the entire period of the Academy and Festival  He will present master-classes and offer individual lessons.  Maestro Shirley's participation in 2015 gave us much to aspire to.  He is our "most experienced student" as he likes to call himself.  Our theme this year: "Students Always!"



We are also trilled to have the great mezzo-soprano, Gail Dubinbaum Massaro in our ranks.  Gail and her husband, the conductor/pianist, John Massaro will be in residence the entire Academy period.  She has performed both opera and concert works internationally. She has sung leading roles with some of the world’s most prestigious opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Israel Opera and L’Opera de Montreal. In the U.S., she has appeared with Opera Pacific, Detroit Opera, Portland Opera and Arizona Opera. On the concert stage, Ms. Dubinbaum has sung with the Los Angeles, Israel, New York, Boston, Cleveland and San Francisco Orchestras ... and with such renowned conductors as Zubin Mehta, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Gerard Schwarz, Carlo Maria Giulini and Leonard Bernstein. Known for her portrayals of Rossini and Mozart heroines, Ms. Dubinbaum has also distinguished herself in recital, having worked closely with the legendary soprano, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. Beginning her studies with her mother, Ruth Dubinbaum, she continued her private studies with the great German mezzo, Mme. Herta Glaz. Her credits include the Ann Arbor May Festival, Blossom Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festival, where she was also an instructor. She appeared on television in the series “In Performance at the White House” and “Live from the Met.” Her DVD recordings include “Francesca da Rimini” with the Metropolitan Opera and the “Met Centennial Gala.”Most recently Ms. Dubinbaum performed the role of Suzuki in Phoenix Opera's production of Madama Butterfly. For nearly a decade, her private studio in Phoenix has produced singers who consistently win national competitions and land leading roles with major opera companies.  Gail and her husband John Massaro are co-founders and directors of Phoenix Opera in Arizona (USA).



Application and Registration

To apply, please proceed to the application form by clicking the button below (application fee: 400 SEK). Once accepted, students will receive the link to register and pay for the course.  Application Deadline is 1 June 2016 or until all spots are filled (80 singers [Amateurs 15, developing artists 30, professionals 15, Early Music 20] and 6-9 pianists.  Instrumentalists (recorder [blockflöte], cello, cembalo and lute/guitar welcome to apply and study with our teachers).  Earlier application is better!

Video:  The application form asks for a link to a video of the applicant peforming.  This helps the faculty to have an idea of your skills and to prepare for your instruction. Once accepted students will receive payment instructions for the course and room and board. All applicants, without exception, mut provide a video. It does not need to be fancy. Can be done with a smart phone and posted to dropbox or youtube (Links will not be shared beyond teachers of the academy who need to make application decisions)

  • Singers:  Provide a video of yourself performing two pieces including one operatic aria of your choice in original language and key. Second piece maybe another aria or a song, preferably in your own language. Early music candidates, sing one 18th Century Baroque aria (oratorio or opera) and one 17th century composition.
  • Pianists: Provide a video of yourself playing a solo piece that shows the level of your pianistic skills and of you accompanying a singer in a song or aria (It is understood that pianists will have good sight-reading skills).
  • Lute/Guitar:  Provide a video with two constrasting pieces showing your proficiency with both 17th and 18th century music
  • Cembalo:  An invention by Bach and any other piece for Cembalo/Clavecin/harpsichord written in the 17th or 18th century
  • Recorder (Blockflöte):  One 18 century piece (i.e. movement of a sonata or concerto).  Another constrasting piece showing competence in 17th or 18th century music.
  • Cellist: One Bach solo partita of choice.  Another constrasting piece showing competence in 17th or 18th century music.
  • Room: All participants will reside in student apartments (double occupancy 2600, or single occupancy 3900 for 12 nights) equipped with kitchen.

    Board: Students have the option of buying their own food and cooking in their apartments or may opt for the campus food service (2 meals--Lunch and Supper  2865 SEK).  Breakfast is optional for 650 SEK

    Fees: The 2-week Academy costs 10.000 SEK (15.000 for specialized programs: Professional track and Early Music). 


    Individual Lessons

    The Academy offers individual lessons to those who cannot attend all sessions.  Experienced teachers trained in the Kashu-do Method will be available to offer vocal instruction to students of all ages and levels of experience:

    1-2 lessons: 700 SEK per lesson

    3-4 lessons 650 SEK per lesson

    5 or more lessons 600 SEK per lesson

    For more information email Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond.