summer singing school

Course style, shape and atmosphere

My colleagues and I are very much looking forward to returning to Cratoule. Last year was clearly a great success, and having experienced the magical atmosphere of the venue, we are eager to build further on what we all achieved. This year, we are delighted to welcome the distinguished soprano Sarah Leonard to our team of tutors which apart from me consists of Joy Robinson, Janet Haney, Darquise Bilodeau and Brian Parsons. We are fortunate indeed to be joined by gifted accompanists Grace Carter, Nigel Foster and Stephen Gutman.

The course will consist of intensive work in small groups with frequent performance opportunities in varied surroundings. Singers, tutors and venues are rotated freely to ensure as great a variety of experience as possible. There is no competitive element in the course whatsoever. Individuals, whether tutors or singers, attend in order to learn, to progress on their own journey and to help each other; sharing a mutual love of music and passion for singing. The result is a wonderfully supportive atmosphere which depends on and easily accommodates a wide range of ages and abilities amongst singers.

Singers will be welcomed on arrival with a timetable for the first three days. There will be a number of pre-set opera scenes, necessarily limited to avoid these taking over other activities. There will be no double-casting and those putting themselves forward will need to be sure they can commit to learning the music prior to arrival, as this will be a prerequisite for participation. If singers wish to be considered for a scene, please inform Janet Haney at who will coordinate opera scenes. By all means give examples of any roles for which you consider yourself suitable, purely as a guide for Janet as to your voice type. There is no pressure to partake in opera scenes, and indeed, it may not prove possible to accommodate each individual’s preferences and wish to participate.

Singers are encouraged to bring songs, duets, trios and other ensembles, as time will be designated for these.

The typical day consists of an optional morning vocal warm-up, followed by breakfast. This is then followed by two morning sessions with a break for coffee. Afternoons are free for swimming, walking, practice, sleeping etc. and there will then be two further sessions beginning in the late afternoon, leading us naturally towards drinks and supper!

There will be short informal concerts throughout the week, including a cabaret, light song evening as well as a more formal performance on the final evening at Cratoule to an audience of invited guests.

Roll on August!

Lynton Atkinson
Music Director