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Opera stars teach master classes, perform at Loyola

In+her+master+class+inside+Nunemaker+Hall%2C+Irini+Kyriakidou+instructs+vocal+performance+junior+Emilie+Tolley+in+performing+her+operatic+arias.+Kyriakidou+covered+how+to+arrive+at+more+clear+vocals+to+achieve+a+preciser+sound.+Photo+credit%3A+Tasja+Demel
In her master class inside Nunemaker Hall, Irini Kyriakidou instructs vocal performance junior Emilie Tolley in performing her operatic arias. Kyriakidou covered how to arrive at more clear vocals to achieve a preciser sound. Photo credit: Tasja Demel

In her master class inside Nunemaker Hall, Irini Kyriakidou instructs vocal performance junior Emilie Tolley in performing her operatic arias. Kyriakidou covered how to arrive at more clear vocals to achieve a preciser sound. Photo credit: Tasja Demel

In her master class inside Nunemaker Hall, Irini Kyriakidou instructs vocal performance junior Emilie Tolley in performing her operatic arias. Kyriakidou covered how to arrive at more clear vocals to achieve a preciser sound. Photo credit: Tasja Demel

Jamal Melancon

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Irini Kyriakidou, the classically trained Greek soprano and international opera star, engaged Loyola students and area residents with a master class that offered coaching and training tips on performance and musical presentation to opera singers.

Kyriakidou and international opera star tenor Bryan Hymel A’01 were both expected to teach free master classes on Loyola’s campus before kicking off performances this year in Loyola’s Montage Fine and Performing Arts series on Sept. 9. Loyola Assistant Professor of Voice Dreux Montegut plans to accompany them on piano.

Montegut said most of Kyriakidou’s training and experience comes from European opera houses, but she sang with the New Orleans Opera Association here during the 2014 production of “Carmen”.

When asked in a phone interview about her initial thoughts on teaching and performing at Loyola, Kyriakidou said she and Hymel were thrilled.

“Bryan had spent many wonderful years at Loyola as a student,” Kyriakidou said.

She said that there’s a music family in New Orleans, and that having a home in the city is a long way from her native country, Greece.

“I never thought that I would leave and have my house somewhere so far like New Orleans,” Kyriakidou said.

In her own learning experience, Kyriakidou recalled how she encountered both opportunities to attend master classes by talented singers and compete in international competitions during her studies at the Maria Callas Conservatory of Athens, Greece. The conservatory hosts the International Maria Callas Grand Prix music competitions, which Kyriakidou said features a diverse jury panel for opera.

“It’s an international jury panel that is composed of directors, opera casting directors, singers and sometimes agents.”

During these voice competitions, Kyriakidou said some guests would come teach master classes at the conservatory like she taught at Loyola. Kyriakidou attended the master classes of singers Gundula Janowitz and Christa Ludwig.

“She (Gundula Janowitz) would give master classes and one of the most amazing things that I got from her and Christa Ludwig was their own experience about interpretation, presentation and how you sort of present what you are saying.”

Kyriakidou explained that master classes are not about improving one’s technique in the given time, but about learning what one can from people that are out in the field and are studying their profession, as well as working.

“Sometimes we are so into what we think is good enough. You need a third ear or third eye,” she said.

According to Montegut, junior Emilie Tolley and sophomores Emma Mountcastle, Haley Whitney and Mary Cloud were among the student vocal performance majors that participated in Kyriakidou’s master class.

“The students presented operatic arias for Ms. Kyriakidou to coach,” Montegut said. “It was an opportunity for our young singers to work with a singer of international experience to work on performing operatic arias.”

Kyriakidou said that she thought all the student singers had “amazing sensitivity” to the music. She acknowledges herself as a romantic because her parting advice to those who want to succeed as opera singers is to keep going.

“It’s so personal,” Kyriakidou said. “Singing is something with your own body, your own instrument. If you love it and you want to do it, then just go and do it.”

An Evening with Irini Kyriakidou will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 9 in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall, located in Loyola’s Music and Communications complex. Kyriakidou will perform in the city again with the New Orleans Opera Associaton on Oct. 7 and Oct. 9 in the production of “Don Giovanni.”

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About the Writer
Jamal Melancon, Senior Staff Writer

Jamal is a mass communication senior with a focus in journalism. Before serving on The Maroon as the Senior Staff Writer, Jamal worked as the Worldview...

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