Male singers looking into learning an operatic role or two to perform this summer may want to check out the Atеlίεя S Summer Vocal Academy in Querétaro, Mexico, featuring productions of Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi. Some of the faculty that will be working with the singers in the program include Stuart Graham, Claudette Denys, Ewald Hekking Sloof, and François Vaucher.
I'm going to contact Atеlίεя S Artistic Director Stuart Graham this morning to see which specific roles are still being filled and then update this post. Here's what Stuart has already said about the program:
One could think that Queretaro is an unlikely place for this kind of summer program considering the multitude of resources one finds in Mexico City or other places such as Guanajuato or Puebla. But, the opportunity presented itself quite unexpectedly and as I became familiar with the cultural "goings on", I quickly decided that this is the place to be.If you need to contact Atelier S you can either fill out this contact form or email them directly at atelier.s [at] sympatico dot ca.
My good friend for the past 18 years, Dr. Ewald Hekking (originally from Holland) has been a long time member of the faculty as a teacher/co-ordinator and researcher in the Linguistics Department of the Universidad Autonoma de Queretaro. I mentioned to him this idea of a summer program that had been floating in my head for the past 18 months and he thought it was a wonderful idea. And, to add to the fire, he mentioned that Queretaro and its university was really the destination of choice for many of the European Universities to send their students for spanish immersion during the summer months as Queretaro had acheived a very strong reputation for the quality of its language education.
As for the cultural and musical side of things, the resources are many here and with the help and partnership of the Faculty of Fine Arts of UAQ and Atelier S is finding itself fully enabled physically and morally. The choice of Queretaro as a destination instead of Mexico City was not a difficult choice, in as much as we do finish the showcase with the final week of performances in several venues throughout Mexico City. Queretaro is just a short 3 hour drive straight north of Mexico City on the edge of the Sierra Gorda mountain range in the central plains of Mexico. Even thought the city has quickly grown in economy and population (now 750 000 people) it maintains that very small village feel and really is a most important cultural centre in Mexico as this is the birthplace of the Mexican Revolution back in 1810. Aesthetically, it is very rich in colonial spanish architecture and is now fully protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to my website's "Mexico at a glance" page will show the photographic proof of the beauty. (http://atelier-s.org)
A question I have been asked often is: "Mexico in the summer? What are you thinking?!" Yes, Queretaro does get warm (daily highs in the 30'sC). Pretty much the same one would suffer in a good old prairie summer in Canada. But, being in the middle of the desert, one does not suffer the humidity and it will cool off to a frisky 5-10C at night. The stone and brick houses and buildings do keep very fresh during the heat of the day, and one would find that the city really comes alive once the sunsets and everyone goes out to eat in the many plazas and listen to the mariachis or local jazz combos playing in the bandshells of each park.
Yes, there are the courses to take and the hours of rehearsal to achieve, but I fully anticipate the participants of Atelier S in Queretaro to get out and enjoy the flavours and generous spirit of Queretaro.
Stuart has kindly informed me that there are still a couple of openings for pianists for the program in Queretaro. In addition, Atelier S are looking to double-cast both shows, and are still accepting applications a number of roles with the exception of Lauretta in Schicchi. Those singers performing small roles will also be given recital opportunities in Queretaro. Atelier S have also changed their application guidelines and are accepting worldwide applicants rather than just Canadians. It looks like there will be 6 performances of the opera, including one at the Palacio Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Contact info is just above this update.