In the eight years of its operation, HSOW has become one of the most popular summer opera workshops in North America, regularly drawing hundred of applications for young performers. We have never advertised the programme — our growth has taken place entirely through word-of-mouth. Read what a few of our participants and audience members have had to say about the programme:
Performing my first operatic role in such a safe and supportive environment like this was simply the best thing that could've happened to me. I loved HSOW.
HSOW managed to put together a group of folks that supported each other from the get go. I never felt inhibited or fearful or sheepish. It is this kind of environment, full of goofyness and abandon, yet grounded by a big helping of heart and humility, that allows opera to reach magnificent heights.
While I may not be an out-and-out opera buff, I am eternally grateful to Halifax Summer Opera Workshop for introducing me to the delights of some accessible works over the past few years. And as of now, their latest production, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, has risen to the top of my “favourites” list.
Kate Watson (reviewer for The Coast)
Learning that I could take on a role like Hoffmann has given me enormous confidence artistically. I feel as if many hurdles in front of me have been suddenly removed, and I owe this to the confidence placed in me by the artistic directors and my colleagues at HSOW. This I will never forget.
HSOW provides an incredibly nurturing environment; full of sparkly, positive energy. I have never felt so comfortable to express and explore my way through this beautiful art form.
Thank you for clearly creating an environment in which all the singers were able to grow in their own time and on their own vocal/dramatic schedule and thank you for presenting a production of such deep thought and musical style.
Voice Teacher in audience for Hoffmann
HSOW is an opportunity to safely explore your artistic abilities. It is a chance to grow and find yourself as a musician. Most of all, it's an opportunity to perform some really great works, and have a great time doing it.
(Spalanzani, Andres, Cochenille, Piticchinaccio (2011)
I would come back any time. The atmosphere is so supportive, everyone is on your side. I learned and grew so much as a singer and performer and I can't wait to come back!
(Nicklausse (2011), Vera Boronel (2008))
As a returning HSOWer, I didn't think that it could get any better than my first experience, but it DID! I feel like I learned even more this year. The environment is extremely supportive, so much so that you feel encouraged to take risks, to explore and to reach higher towards your goals even during performance. I am really grateful to HSOW for creating this artistically satisfying and personally enriching program for aspiring opera singers.
(Queen of the Night (2011), Morgana (2010))
HSOW was one of the most magical experiences in my lifetime! I can't think of a time more than at HSOW that my acting, singing and performance skills were so nurtured, fostered and appreciated. No matter how big or small your part in the production, you get all the personal one-on-one attention from the directors you could possibly need or want to better your craft.
As a 'young artist' (well over) 30, I found it nearly impossible to find a summer program that would accept me. HSOW is one of the few - if not the only one - that welcomes the blossoming talent of those not just in their twenties. I am so grateful that they saw potential in me when other programs didn't.
Mrs Gleaton, 2010
The people of HSOW are not just extremely talented they are always amazing people to work with. The stage experience is like no other.
Elder Gleaton (2010), Nika Magadoff (2008), Monastatos (2007)
Honestly, I have no idea how HSOW does it. This is one of the best programmes I have attended, and it has the smallest budget! It is a true gem, Nina has created summer opera magic in Halifax.
Mrs. McLean (2010)
"HSOW was the best thing that happened to me musically speaking this entire year. It rekindled my flame for opera because of its nurturing and encouraging environment. The creative team(s) were so supportive that I feel I grew more musically in one month than I had through the majority of the school year. Thank you so much!"
"Overall I had an amazing time at HSOW! I loved the supporting atmosphere and the wonderful talent, both on staff and in the participants. I would definitely do it again!"
"Thank you for continuing to produce excellent opera in Halifax! I was happy to be able to see both shows this year. Little Women was thoroughly enjoyable, with many superb performances and great musical and stage direction. The Opera Excerpts program was lively and varied and imaginatively staged. I really enjoyed watching the young casts of both these shows who did such a great job."
2009 Audience Member
HSOW has taught me so much and provided such a supportive environment for me to really explore the opera and what it takes to be the kind of performer they want you to become. Thank-you for this great opportunity and I hope I get to come back in the future!
It was really great to get to work with professionals I don't see day to day at my school. I felt like I learned and grew a great deal as a singer and actor.
Vera Boronel (2008)
HSOW provided a safe and encouraging environment for me to experiment and push myself for the best results.
HSOW is a wonderful organization which provides young students the opportunity to explore their creativity and talent in a safe environment for an extremely low price. I am extremely pleased to have been part of the program and I am proud to have been part of the production.
"HSOW provides young singers with the opportunity to learn a full role. This is incredibly valuable, especially when they are able to do so in such a supportive atmosphere."
"It was a most enjoyable experience!"
First Spirit (2007)
"I will always treasure the memories of the wonderful people that I met and collaborated with, the directors and coaches that encouraged and supported us, and the many incredible moments we all had together- inside and outside the rehearsal space!"
Third Lady (2007)
"My sincere thanks to the 2007 HSOW faculty and staff for their guidance, support, and encouragement. The experience was invaluable. You honed my skills and allowed my creativity to flow, though sometimes to excess. What moments we made. What memories we now share."
"Everyone in the program was very positive and supportive - it was a very comfortable and entertaining place to put together a solid production."
'A unique training opportunity to explore a new role in a new opera in a friendly and professional learning environment'
Ottavio (2006), Tamino (2007)
"HSOW is an extraordinary opportunity to develop and hone one's performance skills - working with a dedicated and inspiring team of directors and with supportive and professional colleagues all working together to make the best performance possible in an intense and exciting few weeks."
Commendatore (2006), Sarastro (2007)
"HSOW gave me a huge confidence boost. Being able to perform an entire role in such a supportive environment was deeply educational and rewarding. The audiences in Halifax were just lovely, and it was a pleasure to work with the other participants."
"I gained so much from doing this course I can't imagine how you did it! I am so grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and the support and encouragement I received throughout the workshop really made me feel like I was accomplishing something great. I cannot thank you enough!"
"This was a wonderful opportunity to meet other musicians from around the globe and to work with a brilliant staff!"