undefinedSarah Parkin

Learn to sing your opera arias with your whole self. The tutors will explore ways of integrating heart, body, mind, soul, imagination, personality and physicality into your performance.


Resident: £509 Non-Resident: £388 (25% off for under 27s) Code: 23/357

Booking for Members opens at 11am on Tuesday 16 May, 2023

Non-Member and online booking opens at 11am on Tuesday 13 June, 2023

For details on how to become a Member to take advantage of early booking, see here.

What is the course about?

Madeleine Holmes (soprano, voice and yoga teacher) and Thomas Coltman (baritone, pianist and vocal coach) join forces in this course to offer participants their experience of working on operatic repertoire. A truly holistic approach that takes account of the individual singer, will focus on how to ‘embody’ your singing, exploring physicality, creativity, character, imagination, performance psychology and vocal expression. By putting your opera arias into the performance space both as an individual, as well as in some group work to enact arias as if in scene, participants will be able to take their communicative power as singers to a whole new level. Participants should bring 3-4 opera arias that they have learned in advance, preferably from memory, and which are technically secure, in order to make the most of this approach.

Tutor website: https://www.madeleineholmes.com/

What will we cover?

Warm-ups, vocal technique, acting, movement, communication, characterisation, repertoire choices.

What will we accomplish? By the end of this course you will be able to…

It is always obvious when a singer has worked on their singing in a physical space (on stage or otherwise). Having pushed the boundaries of their experience by exploring different options of performing their chosen arias, participants will return to all performance situations (concerts, the opera stage, exams or otherwise) with a new freedom of expression and confidence. On the final afternoon we will perform a selection the arias in a final sharing that consolidates and celebrates the discoveries made.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

There is no specific level for this course, however we ask that participants are able to perform their opera arias preferably from memory (without score). That said, the environment will be non-competitive and supportive, valuing all participants at whatever level they present. A shared love of this special repertoire is the most important thing!

How will the course be taught, and will any preparation be required?

Participants will work in a group format throughout, so that all participants can sing to and listen to all the others on the course and also help in creating scenes in the space. Creative input from participants will also be welcome, and peer feedback will be guided by the tutors. Participants should bring 3-4 opera arias that they have learned in advance. Typically, the time will be divided between morning 'masterclass' style sessions, afternoon movement / acting / individual coaching sessions and evening sharing sessions of opera or lighter (operetta, musical theatre or American songbook) repertoire.

Will music be provided in advance of the course?

Participants choose 3-4 of their own arias in any style and learn them in advance of coming on the course. Please inform the office of your chosen repertoire at least two weeks before the course, and send an electronic copy of the music, in the same edition and key you will be performing in, complete with any markings for the pianist, as well as a hard copy for each tutor when you arrive on the course. This is an important part of preparing for the course and helps maximise everyone's time and enjoyment of the learning process. If you are unsure about your choices, please consult your own voice teacher, and if unsure where to find copies of the music, please contact the office in advance, so that they can direct you to sources online or in libraries, including Benslow's own. Duets and trio suggestions are welcome, subject to available voices, should participants wish to collaborate in this way.

Is there anything I need to bring?

Your music (see above), a pencil or few, and comfortable clothes and shoes that you can easily move in!

What previous participants said about this course…

“Maddy and Tom are two of the best tutors I have ever had on these courses. Their energy, dedication to each and every one of us, and their knowledge and professionalism was superlative. PLEASE book them again as soon as possible and put my name down to attend."

"Madeleine and Thomas were really inspiring... Very thought provoking and stretching in a friendly way."

"I have learnt a lot about vocal technique. Maddy is encouraging and understands a singer’s complex needs.”

"Excellent tuition and group learning. Many of the participants are also very experienced. Everyone is very supportive. Fun. Good group dimension."

“Maddy is a wonderful tutor and very well-liked by all she teaches; indeed all she meets. As a singer herself, she knows of all the problems singers experience and can hone in immediately on individual needs. She is positive, uplifting, indeed inspirational, with high standards and constructive, understandable ideas for improvement, including excellent technique exercises. It is a privilege to be taught by her.”

"Their input was fresh, sympathetic. Be brave, Madeleine and Tom will support you all the way."