Today’s post features the first spotlight on a member of this year’s CLA France family. I checked in with Temple Hammen, a soprano from the United States (she is also from my home state of Virginia!) to see how she is enjoying the CLA experience thus far.
Why did you choose to attend CLA?
Last year, I started coaching with Glenn, who told me about the program. When he invited me to come to France, I knew that I couldn’t say no to the opportunity to immerse myself in French repertoire and language. I felt and understood that this would be the best next step for me in my career as a young artist.
What has been your favorite moment so far?
I have loved getting to know the other singers, and the one time that we’re all together is meal time. The first dinner that we had at the chateau was so beautiful and very memorable to be all together. You could see the excitement and joy in everyones eyes. Since then, the times that we meet at meals are special because we are able to relax. It is so simple, yet so great for all of us to gather as a group.
What is one important thing that you have learned already?
For me, the linguistic exposure has been the most impactful and important aspect of the experience thus far. I feel like I can already look at a piece of music and more easily and clearly speak the French text. This is extremely important because as a classical singer, I must develop clear diction to be the most effective performer I can be.
What has been your biggest traveling faux pas?
If you had a chance to read the first blog post about a girl losing her bag on the train, that was me. I was on the train coming from Bordeaux to Bergerac with two other singers in the program, and I left my seat to use the restroom. I left all of my belongings behind. I started to leisurely walk back to my seat when I heard the two girls yelling to tell me that our stop was here and I had to get off the train. I noticed that they had retrieved my belongings, so I ran off and immediately the doors closed. Once I gathered myself, I noticed that they had forgotten my suitcase, and it was still on the train. Immediately, I panic. All of my gowns and clothes for the entire month were in that suitcase. I was able to get a train conductor’s attention. She called over to the conductor of our departed train and has asked them to pass the suitcase to an incoming train in the opposite direction. (I must mention how appreciative I am of the kind and punctual French train staff.) After a stressful half hour, my suitcase was delivered to the platform of the incoming train…the connection worked! I was beyond relieved, and I made such great friends with the conductor who truly saved the day! I am very thankful.
What are you most looking forward to in the program?
I am looking forward to my French improving and becoming more innate within my singing and personal life. The venues in which we are going to perform look beautiful, and I’m very much looking forward to performing in them. I am also so thrilled to be connecting with the other singers and coaches in so many ways and developing wonderful long-lasting relationships. Everyone has been so lovely, and I can’t wait to grow together even more!
Where will you be after the program?
I will be beginning my Masters degree in Voice at Mannes in the fall, studying with Diana Soviero. CLA has already been a great spring board into the next step of my vocal studies.