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  • Writer's pictureShiri Magar

Opera Singer REACTION: watching a video of my 1st main role performance… 13 years ago!!

What was my voice like in college? How was I as a baby student soprano on stage?

I found the DVD of my FIRST MAIN ROLE PERFORMANCE EVER! I sang it 13 years ago when I was a student at The Boston Conservatory (BoCo).

After recording and editing my REACTION VIDEO to that performance - in some bizarre and magical way I found out this week that the head of our amazing voice department at BoCo is retiring.

And so, in honor of that sweet and super meaningful period in my life.. I am dedicating this video to two AMAZING WOMEN who shaped me as a singer, as a musician, as an artist, and as a human being:

Dr.Rebecca Folsom, or as I call her; Dottore - My voice teacher for the first 10 years of my singing journey as a college student and a young professional, and Patty Thom, the legendary Head of Voice Department at BoCo.

I remember my audition to the Boston Conservatory so clearly! It was freezing outside - especially as an Israeli arriving in snowy Boston for the first time in her life.

The air was dry, and the excitement beyond words…

A beautiful old building… it was warm inside, and the energy felt just right.

I entered the audition hall (concert hall) and was received with the most encouraging smiles, jokes, a lovely humidifier to moist the dry air, and a cozy - non- distance atmosphere.

I sang my first aria.

And then Patty asked: “What else would you like to hear?” She addressed the panel, but probably from being so nervous I thought she asked me - what else would you like to sing?

So I immediately replied: “I would like to sing Schubert.”

Everybody laughed, and I sang my Schubert lied.

Dr. Folsom taught me everything about my voice, mentality, and how to sing on stage.

Patty taught me how to walk on, carry myself and.. be on stage.

Dr. Folsom was my guide, vocal and spiritural mentor, encourager, and educator. I have endless memories of meaningful voice lessons, deep conversations, warm encouraging hugs, as well as some tough love when needed.

She encouraged me to give a sung lecture about Fanny Hensel Mendelssohn in a big conference in Washington during my studies. She and Amy, her partner, drove me all the way there and back to Boston. On the way we talked about God:)

My Dottore was with me in Italy - guided me step by step, and held my spirit and hand when I sang my first Violetta there. She created this opportunity for me - to sing my very first Traviata. She aligned my voice and taught me how to align my voice. She very gently and persistently helped me to pull myself up from bad experiences.

She taught me how to warm up every day before rehearsal when I sang my first professional main role.

A burst of sweet memories is gushing in me.

This is just the tip of the ice.

Patty Thom is the face of our voice department.

Patty was very open minded and allowed me to finish both my Bachelor and Master’s degrees in 5 years instead of 6.

Her door was always open to us, the students.

She gave me the opportunity to sing in a master class with Shiley Emmons, which I will remember forever.

We had a weekly Vocal Performance Class with Patty. This is where I learned soooo much about how to be on stage both mentally and physically.

Patty had deep conversations with us about our paths, our thoughts, fears, expectations…

Patty came to ALL of our concerts, but I mean - ALL OF THEM! Her presence and her radiant laughter in the hall meant THE WORLD to us - we would not start the show without her.

It felt to me that Patty had in heart each and every one of us. She was always so supportive and kind to me.

My five years at BoCo were one of the best time periods in my life! I owe so much to this school and to my educators there. It is so important to set strong foundations at school that will give you the tools to walk an opera career path.

I get so emotional as I write these words.

My experience in college was extremely meaningful.

Watching myself perform 13 years ago on that stage with all the beautiful settings and costumes, and the wonderful orchestra - took me back in time, and I am filled with awe and eternal gratitude.


A Baroque Comedy

April 2–5, 2009

The Boston Conservatory Theater

Music by Georg Friedrich Händel

Libretto after Niccolò Minato and Silvio Stampiglia

Conducted by Beatrice Jona Affron

Directed by Sally Stunkel

Set Design by Janie E. Howland

Costume Design by Sue Slack

Hair and Make-up Design by Rachel Padula

Lighting Design by John R. Malinowski

Photography by Eric Antoniou

Serse: Beth Lytwynec

Romilda: Kristen Lassiter

Atalanta:Shiri Hershkovitz Magar

Arsamene: Caroline Tye

Amastre: Lauren Lyles

Elviro: Matthew Stansfield


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