Spotlight on: Laurelle Jade Froese Brittany Alyse Photography

Spotlight on: Laurelle Jade Froese

Jenna Simeonov
I don’t think I’ve met many young singers who work as hard as mezzo-soprano Laurelle Jade Froese. The Winnipeg native is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where I heard her as the hilariously uppity Florence Pike in Joel Ivany’s production of Albert Herring. Laurelle has sung at Saskatoon Opera, Highlands Opera Studio, and she just finished a season with Vancouver Opera as a Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist. She’s currently looking forward to starting her own voice studio in Winnipeg. Laurelle chats about Strauss, spirituality, and “getting it right.”

1. Why do you sing, and why are you pursuing it professionally?

I sing because I can’t not! From the time I was really young I was fascinated with how the voice works, the different colors you could get out of it and the musicianship involved. To me, when I’m singing well, I feel like I am being a conduit for something far greater than myself, and I love the journey this pursuit takes us on!

Why I’m pursuing singing professionally is a very different question, and one that I’ve struggled with at various stages in my life. In a nutshell, I am pursuing singing professionally because I believe that classical music has such communicative power and potential for inspiring others. There is a spiritual - or holistic - aspect of this art form that has the ability to make us better people, and that potential is worth fighting for and pursuing wholeheartedly.

2. What does “good singing” mean to you? What does it feel like when you achieve it?

Good singing to me is unhindered vocal expression. When the technique is simply serving the text and music, and the singer is a vessel for the composer’s work.

As a musician I believe it’s my number one job to be digging further into this idea of unhindered expression. It’s so exciting because it really does take you to very deep places within yourself musically, personally, intellectually, physically, to even begin to do this. When I am singing with some sort of understanding of this it feels like I am singing into the fullness of my being. I feel simultaneously like a communicator for the music I am sharing and away from my individual identity, but at the same time my soul is full and I feel like I am living into the fullness of my self. It’s a very spiritual experience for me. It’s a journey that never stops and is so interconnected.

Undoubtedly this will sound all a bit cliché- but I have no idea how else to explain it!

3. What do young singers need to do more of? What should they do less of?

Wow- this is a big question! Everyone’s journey is so different. For me, I needed to live more and not become consumed with getting everything “right.” I was eager to learn. I loved, and still do, being a student, but I needed to relax a lot more and not be so consumed with how I measured up with others. It was so important to me to be taken seriously as a musician that I put everything in boxes and tried to tick off a huge, long, overwhelming check list. Not the most creative way to go about anything in the arts! I would probably make an ideal accountant if I didn’t love music so much! Ha!

So for me it was, and still is, finding a balance between being a student and filtering through people’s advice, and letting go and living life and connecting with others in many different levels. Wow - I sound fun! But I needed to have more fun and relax a bit. For some people it’s the opposite problem. I think everyone probably struggles with this balance in one way or another.

4. Do you have a “bucket-list” role that you’d like to sing? Why?

I think if I had to pick only one composer whose music I could sing, it would be the music of Richard Strauss. I would love to sing Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) professionally at some point. I love the huge sweeping vocal lines that Strauss writes, the harmonic language is absolutely amazing, and I do love singing in German.

5. How do you explain your job to non-music folks?

I still haven’t figured this one out completely. It’s tough, because simply stating you’re an “opera singer” just feeds into so many other questions, and so you may as well give them a bit better understanding right off the bat. I’m a performer. I’m a musician. I’m a teacher. I do a combination of performing and teaching to make a living these days and so I normally go with something along those lines. I juggle a few hats in the arts community. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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