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Voices in harmony

The third edition of the music festival ‘Da Capo Sammelan’ kicked off on October 15. And October 16 will see noted soprano Patricia Rozario along with pianist Mark Troop and violinist Mika Nishimura live in action. NT BUZZ caught up with Patricia to learn more

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

For the past few years soprano singer Patricia Rozario with her husband pianist Mark Troop through their initiative Giving Voice Society has been training people all over India in opera singing. “Having come to India to teach, I also needed to create opportunities for my students to perform around the country,” she acknowledges. It was with this thought in mind that she approached Srinivas Dempo three years ago with an idea of having a music festival. And Da Capo Sammelan was born. “The plan was also to have a concert at international standards to make people aware of what level our students could reach,” she says. Having done two editions already, this time around the festival has expanded to have two consecutive concerts while also giving a platform for young Goan instrumentalists in the age group of 10-15 to perform.

“It struck me that 10-15 years was a good age group for young music enthusiasts to help them develop and give them a platform to showcase their talent on a regular basis. And if they take to music then we’ve got some really good players who will grow and be the performers here in Goa and in India,” explains Patricia.

The initial plan was to approach six schools in Goa and get a composer and singer to work with young enthusiasts every month to create a music piece themselves. But being a new idea, schools were a little hesitant to take it forward. It was then that Patricia decided to work with young solo musicians instead and the audition for the same witnessed a good response with 25 young Goan pianists and violinists in August. 10 youngsters – 5 pianists and 5 violinists were finally chosen with musician Ingrid Anne Nazareth onboard to accompany them. The youngsters underwent a two day intensive training session with Patricia, Mark and violinist Mika a couple of days before the concert on October 15 to help them get to the next level.

Apart from the young Goans, a few singers who are a part of the Giving Voice Society also performed on the first day. “It will be 10 years in December that we have been coming to India to teach and things have been developing nicely. After our recent opera at the Royal House in Mumbai, we now have an invitation by a company in England to bring our project there. Prior to this, they will be sending a conductor and director to work with the singers. I am in the process of getting funding for this project,” says Patricia.

As for the October 16 concert, Patricia is especially looking forward to perform a song ‘Six Seasons’ by Indian composer Vanraj Bhatia. “This song is actually a Sanskrit text which the composer has translated into English and it is a nice mix capturing the mood of each season in India. It also has a certain witty aspect to it. It uses a lot of raag elements which can be tricky for the piano and the harmony too is Indianised. I have performed this song in Canada and Australia and people have loved it. I am now trying to get the music published,” says Patricia.

The show which is organised by Vasantrao Dempo Education and Research Foundation has Cidade de Goa as the hospitality partner.

(The concert will be held at Kala Academy today at 6:30 p.m. it is open to all)

NT BUZZ chats with the four singers from the Giving Voice Society who performed on the first day of the concert

Over the last few years, the Giving Voice Society has seen the emergence of an abundance of singing talent. Among these are Rahul Bharadwaj, Anushka Coutinho, Shreya Naik and Anoushka Pokhare who showcased their singing prowess on the first day of Da Capo Sammelan. The singers performed four operatic arias based on love and laughter. For the fourth tune they were joined by the young Goan musicians for the Hippoppotamus song.

Interestingly two of them, Rahul Bharadwaj and Shreya Naik, began their singing journey with Hindustani classical music. And they admit that Indian singers have an advantage over the West owing to their ability to enunciate certain words and sounds which the West find difficult. Another massive difference, they state is that Hindustani classical music is sung with a chest voice. “Western classical music is sung entirely from the body plus we don’t use a mike,” says Rahul, who got into opera in 2005 and began singing professionally in 2010. Shreya on the other hand did her first master class in Western classical music in 2013 with Patricia Rozario and Mark Troop and fell in love with it.

The interaction with the audience during the performance also differs between Indian and Western classical music. “In Indian classical music, you are in touch with your universe or your god while performing; the audience interaction is just coincidental. In Western however the intention is the performance, you are speaking to the audience,” he says, while Anoushka adds that the performance is also for the composers of the tunes and with the others who are singing alongside. “It’s almost like a drama and you are acting out a character as each song or poem has some sort of story behind it,” says the young singer who began learning singing first at A R Rahman’s institute in Chennai before she learnt about opera singing and chose to pursue it.

The improvisation in the two forms of music also differ. “The way we approach improvisation in Western classical music is somewhat limited as compared to Hindustani and Carnatic music. Infact Hindustani and Carnatic are based a lot on improvisation. In Western this is limited to the parts where other musicians are not playing with you,” says Rahul.

Their pet peeve however is that not many young people are giving opera music a chance and listening to it. “People think opera is boring but in fact it is beautiful. You just need to come and watch a performance once to understand it,” says Anushka, who incidentally hails from Goa and took to opera singing in 2015.

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