Bordeaux Part II: Recitals

“Wee” in Scotland, “Voila” in France, and banjos in hell:  what you’re likely to hear an aweful lot of, in each of these three places.  Never to over state, the Scots say wee constantly, even if they don’t mean wee, as in “wee dram of single malt”.  Voila is sort of “there it is”, or “here you go” which apparently needs to be said after everything they point out to you.  And banjos?  Just like everyone else, musicians who don’t go to heaven end up in hell;  forced to listen to banjo day and night.

With that, I went to a vocal master class (the next closest thing…..)  There is a music festival in St. Emilion called Vino Voce, and it hosts concerts and masterclasses every summer, many of which are at Soutard  Chateau (where we bought one of our Grand Cru’s).  The final masterclass just happened to be at 3pm at the Chateau.  Irene Kudela is a mezzo soprano with cred.  Her gig is L’Atelier Lyrique de L’Opera in Paris and she has sung Carmen, Butterfly, and Mozart Requiem to name a few.  Students come to the festival, and at this offering, had the chance to be coached by Irene at the Masterclass.  This day’s class was on diction:  Slavic diction no less.  So not only could I not understand the aria, I couldn’t understand the coaching either!  However, music is music and as she worked with the student, you could hear marked improvement eg shape your vowels this way, drop your tongue more quickly off of that consonant, project out of your forehead, and typical vocal utterings and instructions such as those.  Big voices, big arias and I wish Grandma would have been there to translate!  Here is a shot of the masterclass with the first student off to the right and Irene in red:IMG_1345.jpg

Libourne is the officially the town where our apartment is located.  We ventured into town and found an organ and cello recital at the local church.  So of course, we decided to go.  Instruments in these big 18C churches always sound very cool and this was no exception.  The program was:


The concert series was:


The organ loft and somewhere up there, the cellist:


Apologies for the blurriness.  Finally, one more shot of St. Emilion and were off to Part III, lunch at a Michelin star restaurant.



Author: euro916

I am a college professor in the music department of Utah State University. I will start my sabbatical on May 1, 2016 and plan to document the year's experiences in this blog. The sabbatical consists of musical endeavors in Europe/UK for 3 months, and half a semester as guest artist in a couple of California universities. Thanks for following!

5 thoughts on “Bordeaux Part II: Recitals”

  1. I especially liked the story of the master class and the photos overlooking vineyards. But I have a question. Some years ago the author of this blog sent me a joke the punch line of which was that trombones were the instrument of hell, not banjos, Gary Larson aside.

    limestone edifice
    towers over vineyards–


    1. Hi Nadine! Thanks for your comment. We were thrilled to be able to watch Irene Kudela work with the vocal students at the Festival. And what a pristine location! The wine; exquisite! Todd


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