February 1, 2019

Music Department hosts internationally acclaimed singers for visit

The UW-Superior Music Department hosted internationally renowned opera singers Mark Calkins and Cynthia Lawrence. The duo lead a voice master class, observed teaching, and shared professional advice with students.

The UW-Superior Music Department hosted internationally renowned opera singers Mark Calkins and Cynthia Lawrence. The duo lead a voice master class, observed teaching, and shared professional advice with students.

Mark Calkins and Cynthia Lawrence lead a voice master class, observed teaching, and shared professional advice with students

On January 24 and 25, the University of Wisconsin-Superior Music Department hosted two internationally renowned opera singers. This husband and wife duo of Mark Calkins and Cynthia Lawrence lead a voice master class, observed teaching, and shared professional advice with students of the music department. 

“I have known Cynthia and Mark for over 20 years, and respect them highly as professionals in our demanding field, as well as supportive friends and colleagues,” said Vicki Fingalson, Associate Professor of Voice and Opera Workshop. “Last semester they requested to observe some of the teaching done in the voice division at UWS as a part of a sabbatical research project, and offered to do a Voice Master Class and student discussion while here. Cynthia was on campus 10 years ago and gave a Voice Master Class at that time as well."

Lawrence, a Soprano, has performed frequently in concert with the late Luciano Pavarotti, and at the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Washington National Opera, Paris Opera, among others, and is currently Endowed Professor of Voice and Opera at UK-Lexington. 

As a Tenor, Calkins has performed at Opera De Nantes (France), Dublin Grand Opera (Ireland), Cologne Opera (Germany), The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chautauqua Opera, Castleward Opera (Northern Ireland), Minnesota Opera, among others, and in Broadway touring productions of Phantom of the Opera. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Berea College in Kentucky. 

“Having studied privately with both Cynthia and Mark, I knew that this would be an incredibly exciting opportunity for our student musicians at UW-Superior,” said Fingalson. “While on our campus, they generously worked with three voice majors in a Master Class that was open to all students, and also shared their professional journey and perspective with all of our music majors and minors in a Guest Musician Discussion.”

 For students, this marked an opportunity to receive feedback from professionals known around the world – even if the initial response was a bit fearful.

“When I was informed that I was singing in a Master Class for them I was initially terrified, because I had never done a Master Class before and I knew both of their reputations as incredible artists,” said Maria Puglisa, a senior double majoring in biology and vocal performance. “Master Classes are a unique opportunity to perform for a master in your craft and receive feedback from them, all with an audience present. I was nervous for a while, but they were both incredibly kind and down-to-earth people that made the experience very pleasant for me and those watching.”

For Puglisa, a native of Duluth, Minn., the experience will remain a lasting memory.

“I learned a lot about singing from them, but also a lot about staying true to yourself and making sure you love what you are doing,” said Puglisa. “I had a great couple of days with them. I only wish that they could've stayed longer.”

The UW-Superior Music Department hosted internationally renowned opera singers Mark Calkins and Cynthia Lawrence. The duo lead a voice master class, observed teaching, and shared professional advice with students.

The UW-Superior Music Department hosted internationally renowned opera singers Mark Calkins and Cynthia Lawrence. The duo lead a voice master class, observed teaching, and shared professional advice with students.

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