Testimonials

COSI FAN TUTTE AND COSI UNHINGED! – January 2006

“I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the Cosi Unhinged. I laughed so hard and had a wonderful time. I wanted to congratulate Heidi and tell her how much I admired and was inspired by her speech at the beginning of the opera. Her belief about the vibration of singers changing the world is a beautiful and inspirational one and I really was inspired by her generosity.” – Elisa Righele, Singer & Audience Member – “The productions turned out way better than I expected, a double dose of opera (my husband Martin even enjoyed it) – we had a great time! The talent was truly impressive. Wow! And the afternoon cast – the “unhinged” concept made it really different and extra enjoyable. Amazing talent. Was a delight to see and hear.” – Trudy Redwood, IT Consultant & Audience Member

The Opera Project - Cosi Fan Tutte 2006

“I just had to write a quick note to say congratulations to all of you! I had such a wonderful time on Saturday at both of the Cosi performances. I have to tell you that as an educator and believer and promoter of arts accessibility and giving opportunity to people, I was especially impressed with the afternoon “Unhinged” performance. I DO hope that this program continues, and I hope to help promote it to even more people. Again – congratulations to all of you for such a wonderfully entertaining afternoon!” – Scott Ashton Swan, Artistic Producer, APPLAUSE! Musicals Society

CELEBRATION OF LOVE – A MOTHER’S DAY CONCERT – May 2005

“Best concert I’ve heard in years!” – Audience Member

“I go to Vancouver Opera all season, but I enjoyed this much much more!” – Audience Member

COSI FAN TUTTE – 1998

“My collaboration with The Opera Project in its debut production of Cosi fan Tutte by Mozart was one of the most satisfying musical experiences in recent memory. The young singers engaged for this production proved to be fully professional and eminently equipped fro the task, both vocally and in terms of their prowess on stage. Every one of them has the potential for a significant operatic career; I want to say further what a splendid director we had in Heidi Klassen. Given her vast experience as an opera singer and her innate instincts for the stage, she was able to give wonderful leadership and advice to these young singers. Ms. Klassen was also able to recruit a virtual army of helpers and volunteers as far as sets, costumes, marketing, fund-raising are concerned. In this way The Opera Project was able to introduce a large number of people to the intricacies of mounting an opera production, making this an “apprentice program’ at many levels. I can only hope that The Opera Project will grow and flourish.” – Howard Dyck, Conductor

“I must congratulate you on the artistic success of your production. The entire production was beautifully done… the singers worked well together and held the stage admirably. They are obviously on their way to promising careers.” – David Scott, The Manitoba Arts Council Music and Dance Officer

“I had just graduated from the University of Western Ontario when I met Heidi Klassen at the NUOVA opera summer intensive in Edmonton where she was teaching. In addition to her technical expertise, Heidi Klassen strives to cultivate a profound level of being, in herself and in her students. Since working with her I feel challenged to sing with my authentic voice, and produce sounds and vibrations that will change the world. She balances intense and energetic lessons with a generosity of spirit…and offers to her students unwavering support; in singing and in life. The Opera Project provides opportunities that are not often offered in formal training such as my role as Despina in Cosi fan Tutte. ” – Cara Brown, Soprano

“Nothing prepared me for the outstanding beauty of the opera and the fantastic voices of the cast members. Seated beside me was a friend who had spent several years in Europe. She had attended opera on numerous occasions in Italy and Britain. She had likewise attended many presentations here in Manitoba. She leaned over and told me that this was as good as anything she had ever seen on a Manitoba stage and in fact, could hold its own with most that she had seen in Europe. I had not expected anything near the superb presentation that I saw that evening. The importance of such a project is vital to the arts. Such a program where standards are set high enough to cause the participants to stretch beyond where they have been before, can only serve to raise the standard of the arts. Organizations like The Opera Project can only serve to ensure that the expectations of even the most demanding patron of the arts are not only met, but exceeded.” – Audience member – Barrister Heather Dixon

“I participated in The Opera Project’s first venture of a full-scale production of Mozart’s “Cosi Fan Tutte”… I was fortunate enough to be cast in the mezzo-soprano role of Dorabella. I cannot express how invaluable that experience has proven to be in my development as a young artist. The gift of being able to sing a full role is immeasurable to a young singer ready and eager for a challenge… I have since gone on to complete two years of Opera Performance at the Univeristy of Toronto, which has lead to my conviction of how valuable my experience with The Opera Project was.” – Colleen Skull, Mezzo-Soprano – January 2000

SOUNDS THAT CHANGE THE WORLD CONCERT – 2005

“Thank you so much, I had a wonderful night and so enjoyed creating music with everyone. My friend Cheryl can’t stop talking about how wonderful the performance was and how wonderful she thought you were. How gracious and beautiful and how you made her feel like an equal, and and and. She was so lifted by the whole event. So thank you for that. As I listened to your solo’s, I was completely overcome. You are truly one of the greatest singers I have ever heard. Living, dead, recorded, live. It is like when you are in the presence of a master, their vibration automatically lifts you because of where they resonate. You do that for us as singers. Deepest gratitude.” – Rachel Landrecht, Soprano – Concert Participant

ORPHEUS IN THE UNDERWORLD – 2002

“Congratulations are due to the artists, the director, and the supporting staff for the great performance of “Orpheus in the Underworld”. I am glad to have rediscovered TOP and only regret that I missed Amelia Goes to the Ball”. Your work with young artists is excellent and deserves to be supported. Keep up the good work! (Cheque enclosed).” – Audience member – Ms. M. L. Kuntzemueller

AMELIA GOES TO THE BALL – 2001

“Words fail me to express how much Sylvia and I enjoyed Amelia Goes to the Ball last Saturday – it was a triumph from every point of view and such a pleasure to behold, that one was truly sorry when it came to an end. I knew when we saw Cosi fan Tutte that you were really on to something with The Opera Project. You have now proved it beyond all shadow of a doubt. I look forward with great anticipation to the next production (Magic Flute?) confident that it will be yet another evening of pure delight. Enclosed is a little something to help to balance the books.” – Audience member – Professor John Wortley

“Amelia was a great and positive experience… I am totally supportive of Heidi’s efforts. She’s trying to keep opera alive by bringing it out into the community. I have no doubt that she would run another successful fringe production and that every show would be sold out again. …she’s educating new audiences and giving us ‘up-and- coming singer’s a chance.” – Nikki Einfeld, Soprano Coloratura – Chambermaid in Amelia 2001 – Now Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera

“Working with you [Heidi Klassen] as Amelia in Amelia Goes to the Ball was a wonderful and exciting experience! Your commitment to the show was incredible and you worked so hard to make Amelia the sold -out success it was. You pounded the pavement to get sponsors, sets, and anything we needed….I had another wonderful time singing Euridice in Orpheus in the Underworld and again you proved yourself to be a fantastic director/producer, and led the cast in another great production. I gained many new and exciting techniques vocally from the year I studied with you. Thank you also for the way you taught me to “just sing”….not acting and ‘showing’- just singing. I will always be grateful for your belief in me.” – Naomi Dueck Forman, Soprano

Four Stars, Says Big Brother !!! – 2001 Winnipeg Fringe Festival – “Everything about this production is impeccable, from the period costumes and set to the staging and expressive performances. Even the program is slicker and more polished than most. The singers — trained, aspiring young professionals from Winnipeg, Vancouver and Calgary — are impressive. As required, they flirt, pout, preen and posture. Opera isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but this production from Winnipeg’s The Opera Project is accessible, even to the newest of newcomers to the art.” – Linda Rosborough, Winnipeg Free Press

VIRGINIA ZEANI MASTER CLASSES – 2000

“The Opera Project is a ray of hope for Western Canadian singers.” – Comment received

“Congratulations on the successful Master Class and gala concert. Your vision, dedication and talents orchestrated a wonderful event. And now may many exciting doors open to you in the future.” – Comment received

GENERAL PRAISE

“Ms. Klassen has been most instrumental in recognizing the potential in my own voice and also in the development of it. I had the opportunity to be in the first cast of performers in Ms. Klassen’s newly developed The Opera Project Company[1997/98 - Eisenstein, Rudolfo, Ferrando], providing young singers with practical stage experience. Ms. Klassen…arranged my first auditions which resulted in immediate offers from the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Manitoba Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa and connected me to my present Management. I have had a full time international performing career ever since, from Carnegie Hall & Dallas Opera to Montreal Opera, Italy and most major opera companies and Orchestras in Canada. Ms. Klassen is not only a gifted performing artist of the highest caliber, she is also a gifted teacher with a deep understanding of the voice and technique, with which she is able to bring forth immediate and outstanding results in her students and a [leader] in the development of The Opera Project.” – Kurt Lehmann, Tenor

“The pivotal point in his vocal development came…when he met Canadian Soprano Heidi Klassen. She gave the young tenor a firm pedagogical foundation on which to base his technique, and began to introduce him to the operatic repertoire. …This unforced approach to his career has stood Lehmann in good stead.” – Article on Debut Artist Kurt Lehmann – Opera Canada-1999

“We as young performers got a taste of what it was like to be a professional and had the opportunity to be directed by a seasoned professional opera singer in Heidi Klassen. I was impressed by the quality of the production. It also exposed the art form to a whole new audience in a setting that is non-threatening. What Heidi accomplished was amazing – I would recommend the experience to anyone. It looks great on a resume! As a result of my role in Amelia, members of the Manitoba Opera Association were able to see my live performance. This is much better then an audition.” – Soprano Naomi Dueck Forman – Amelia 2001 and Orpheus 2002

“I have been a student of Ms. Klassen for 6 years. Her input and influence on my musical development has gone far beyond mere technique and interpretation of repertoire. She has used her influence and position as a world class singer to open many doors for me. She has introduced me to various mentors and teachers, arranged auditions and traveled with me to build my confidence. It is out of this passion for her students’ careers that the idea of The Opera Project was conceived and will continue to grow. Despite the rich culture that Winnipeg offers, the opportunities for young singers to gain knowledge and experience in opera is limited. There is an understanding that to gain this experience one must leave for larger centers such as Toronto. Not having unlimited financial resources, it is difficult for me to move out east to attain the necessary experience. Another option is to be part of the ensemble programs already established but the spaces in such programs are limited. The Manitoba Opera Company has tried to support young singers by offering small compramario roles. And I am grateful but the opportunities are limited. That is where The Opera Project can fill a void.It is designed to give young singers a chance to develop lead roles. Through The Opera Project I have sung the roles of Adele , Musetta and Despina.” – Melinda Enns, Soprano – 1997

“It was at my first lesson with Ms. Klassen that I knew that this was “the woman who knew what it takes” to not only draw out my talents, but develop me into a successful and formidable artist. During the 5 years under her guidance I have participated through The Opera Project in the 2000 Virginia Zeani Master Classes, as Opinion in Orphee aux Enfers and Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte. My career achievements in competitions, scholarships prizes, and debuts in professional roles are certainly credited to Ms. Klassen’s instructions. Most recently I was the only Western Canadian singer to represent Canada at the Queen Elizabeth Music Competition in Brussels, Belgium where an enthusiastic critic wrote, “an exuberant Canadian mezzo-soprano…shows herself comfortable in all the registers, bursting precision and engraves resonance.” With Ms. Klassen’s high recommendation, I was engaged by the Manitoba Opera and the Edmonton Opera in the role of Mercedes in Carmen. Singing the title role of Cenerentola in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with the Vancouver Opera Touring Ensemble, proved my vocal technique and stamina which carried me through the 6 month engagement with 2 shows a day. Much of what I have learned from Ms. Klassen’s studio as well as the experiences I have had with her opera company has inspired my confidence in my own ambition to sustain a career.” – Maura Sharkey, Mezzo-Soprano, MMus

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