CLA Blog

Reflections: CLA France 2018

A snapshot of the countryside by the chateau.

A snapshot of the countryside by the chateau.

Reflections:  CLA France 2018

Life is loud.  In the city, working a graduate program, running errands, the daily stuff of life, it is all part of a rhythm.  I am thankful for all of it, because the routine is part of happiness and a life as a singer.  We are always up and moving, meeting new people, acquainting ourselves with new repertoire, blending backgrounds to make some good music.  

I was down in Charleston recently for a series of performances during the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.  We did a send-out concert at the beautiful Mepkin Abbey, a place rich with musical history.  The leading monk there was a career organist and pianist before turning to monastery life.  On the way back to our cars, we walked down the pathway lined with live oak trees. One of us commented on how quiet such a life would be.  No technology, no connection to the outside world — just the work.  Folks go on meditation retreats to have this great escape.  A place to reset, a haven.  In the life of an artist, we rarely get the chance.

When I woke up today, I opened my window out to the Dordogne hills.  Other than the birds singing, the occasional distant car driving down the country road, and the voices of the 10-12 singers that have come here to the chateau, it’s just us.  There is still the intensity of learning all the new repertoire, but the hassle is gone.  Food is provided, we don’t have to go anywhere (only to go for morning jogs next to the cow pastures...)  It is a retreat, and there is nothing but the language, the music, and the landscape.  

June 6, 2018


Sitting down with John Hunter, Chairman of the Board

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Maria Miller, Development Coordinator for Classic Lyric Arts, Inc. sits down with John Hunter, Chairman of the Board, to discuss his CLA experience.

MM:  How did you become involved with CLA?

JH:  A few years back, Glenn Morton, the artistic director for CLA, asked me to attend a planning session in the home of one of our board members. I agreed based on the wonderful experience my daughter had at CLA. I thought it would be a good thing to lend my support and experience in strategic planning for the private sector.

MM:  What has been most gratifying about being involved with this program?

JH:  Indeed the most gratifying thing has been to watch CLA grow as an organization and influence the artists who attend our programs. When I see artists developing careers in opera who are able to discuss how their time in France or Italy changed the trajectory of their work, it’s really exciting.  I think the focus on language and culture is an important differentiator for CLA. The native instructors who specialize in the understanding of certain composers and what their intent was for each word that is expressed is truly unique. More importantly, for the artist who has not been brought up in the countries where opera began, the opportunity to understand the culture and language at a deeper level is unique and invaluable.

MM:  Any favorite moments?

JH:  I’m always excited to hear the artists perform during the November CLA gala. Last year's gala, in particular, was very exciting because of the diversity of the group and the way in which the voices combined to present a deeply moving performance.

MM:  Ten years have flown by.  What’s ahead?

JH:  I think we’ll provide CLA with a platform to increase its visibility in the USA with opera lovers and young artists. Increasing performance opportunities in the states and exposing others to CLA through master classes given by our wonderful instructors will be a couple of ways we’ll achieve this.  We will put a strong emphasis on increasing our funding for deserving artists to attend the programs in Italy and France.