In the spring of 2018, I was invited to give a Master Class and individual voice lessons to the young artists at l’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Having been a member of this Young Artists Program in the nineties, I was very touched by the invitation.
In 1998, after ten years of studying voice, with a Masters Degree in my pocket, I was enjoying a busy calendar of solo gigs, while teaching voice and being a bass section lead in multiple amateur and professional choral ensembles. I was also working as an accompanist for pop and classical singers, a job that I had been doing on the side from age 16 to 30. But that year, I made the decision to stop the multi-tasking approach and to really focus on my opera career. It was my true passion and I wanted to give it all my energy and attention. It was a huge leap of faith for me! Fortunately, I was blessed and lucky, and my hard work has paid off. I have had the privilege, good fortune and happiness to enjoy a full time opera career for the last 22 years.
In all honesty, back to that day in 1998, I believed that I was done with teaching, that I had said it all. My words were that if ever in a million years I was to return to teaching music and voice, it would have to be through mentoring a new generation of truly talented classical singers at a high level.
Well, life has of way of listening to what we think and say.
In 2018, following my mentoring with l’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, I was overwhelmed by the pleasure and satisfaction that it had brought my way. I was humbly sharing my thoughts and experience with a generation of artists who were focused, talented and working hard at their craft. It thrilled me to witness their growth during these fun working sessions! Fond memories of working alongside my mentors Robert Savoie, Joseph Rouleau and Richard Bradshaw came back to me with great warmth. I knew in my core that it was my turn to give back.
Then I started to receive requests from some of the most talented and promising young singers in Canada, seeking professional advice, guidance, mentoring and feedback. The mentoring wheel was truly starting to turn.
To add to this new, evolving and exciting mentoring chapter of my life, last year I was invited to give two Master classes at the University of Toronto, which were well received and for which I got very positive comments and feedback. These classes were followed by an invitation from Wendy Nielsen, University of Toronto and COC Ensemble Voice Teacher to be guest Music Instructor for two of her students at UofT this semester. Meanwhile, soprano Nathalie Paulin, UofT Lecturer/Voice Teacher invited me to teach her UofT French Mélodie and Advanced French Diction Classes while she was away on a singing contract out of the country.
And so it goes… I find myself slowly finding my way back into a pair of slippers that I truly thought were put in a drawer forever. Teaching and mentoring are making themselves a place back into my life once again, telling me that it is the right time to share some of the tools, thoughts and pearls of wisdom that I was so generously given, the right time to be sharing with a new generation of singers my most precious life and career experiences.
This new chapter on my artistic journey is humbling, organic, unforced; it flows through me with ease, joy, light and love. I am calm, energized and confident about it, and it is all good. I am also thrilled to be given these opportunities to give back while I am still enjoying a rich and active singing career. I like the balance that it creates in me.
I feel blessed and I am curious to see how this new life chapter will evolve.