for a day

Five years after being honored during the Convocation at McGill University, Nana returns to give a master class to students of the Faculty of Music. On May 20, 2018, 170 people gather at the Elizabeth Wirth Music Building. Among them, students relatives, members of the University and of Montreal’s Greek community. Nana also has her guests: her tour team as well as several friends.

On this occasion, Nana didn’t come to present a lecture course with reference books. But rather to share her musical background that allows her to observe and advise. She is assisted by Maestro Stefano Algieri, a famous tenor and singing teacher at the Schulich School of Music. The pianist, Louise Pelletier, accompanies the two sopranos, the tenor and the barython who interpret two classical pieces each. Nana listens to them carefully. Then she congratulates them and encourages them to continue. She speaks first in French, then in English.

Like at school, Nana gets up to speak to all the students. She begins by referring to Plato who said that music is a moral law. This means that when we decide to devote ourselves to it, we have to respect it and it will bring us benefits. Like them, Nana has studied classical singing. That's why she recommands them to make the most of their studies to learn and develop a discipline they will maintain their whole life. It is essential to have a good stage presence. But you have to remain yourself and not lose your soul.

From left to right: Jonah Spungin (baritone), Ryan Nauta (tenor), Jessica Burnside (soprano) and Elie Manousakis (soprano).

However, this did not prevent her from following the advice of more experienced singers and to question herself. For example, in her early years, she blamed herself for not having become an opera singer. But Maria Callas told her : «It's not important what you sing. But why you do it and how».  And, before performing a song, Nana had to make sure that she understood the meaning. That's why her poet, Nikos Gatsos, took a long time before writing for her. If the students are honored to have sung for her, they are also impressed by her charisma, motivated by her words and inspired by her success. All that is worth a training.

The ambassador of Greece, Mr. Dimitris Azemopoulos, who attended the concert at the Maison symphonique the evening before, delivers the closing speech. He is proud of his compatriot and only has good words for her. In his opinion, Nana always wanted to improve in everything she undertakes. She is an example for the world and these young people who want to become professional singers. About her, he formulates a very touching sentence: «Your voice reflects the brightness of your soul, the light of your heart». Nana, moved, lowers her head for a while before being warmly applauded by the audience. To thank her for her presence, the Dean, Mrs. Brenda Ravenscroft, gives her a gift; a beautiful scarlet scarf she wears immediately.

The class is followed by a reception in the lobby where guests have the opportunity to exchange with each other. After taking official photos on the stage, Nana joins them. She talks with many and accepts to take a souvenir picture with them. A few times, she apologizes for not being a teacher. As I am one, I tell her that teaching is not just about pedagogy and knowledge. It is also necessary to work without textbooks to deliver our experiences. And, that's what she did.

I am pleased for being able to attend this event. Now, I know what a master class is. I have seen how Nana is appreciated by the university community and how she can bring to young performers. I also had the pleasure to meet Mr. Azemopoulos. We will keep in touch. And what a hapiness to spend the afternoon with my friends : Marie-Claude, Luciano, Yannick, Philippe and Pili!

Program: Standout singer Nana Mouskouri appears in Schulich masterclass (May 24, 2018) Masterclass with Maestra Nana (May 25, 2018) Nana Mouskouri Masterclass (June 2018)