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About our Studio

After years of singing all over the world, all of a sudden everything came to a grinding halt during the pandemic. We found ourselves at home with oceans of time and decided to give teaching a try. To our surprise and delight we discovered that we enjoyed it immensely! Soon enough we launched our first workshop in our home in The Hague, working 3 days with 8 young singers on their repertoire and technique and had a wonderful time. This was only the beginning. A few months later in the summer of 2021 our first Summer course took place in the French Pyrenees, a tremendously satisfying experience.  Now, almost three years  and several workshops/ courses later, we are on a mission to share all our experience and knowledge with those who want to benefit from it.

The story of Eva...

After my first singing lesson at the age of 16,

I listened to a recording of Renata Tebaldi and a dream was born:

 I wanted to become an opera singer at all costs. Exploring the world of opera led me immediately to singers from the past like Guiseppe di Stefano, Mario del Monaco, Franco Corelli,  Iva Pacetti, Claudia Muzio just to name a few.

I became completely obsessed with these miraculous voices full of emotion. This was the time before YouTube, so there was al lot of searching in record shops and discovering, which took all my time.

 

My voice was as difficult to master as a wild horse and I felt that technique was a mystery that was only unveiled to a select few.
I was so lucky to meet my teacher, James McCray at the age of 24 through Frank van Aken, my singer friend who later became my husband. James was a real tenor who had sung a variety of roles from Trovatore to Tristan and was obsessed with the same sort of singing we were. 
We started work and the development was unbelievable. I went from not being able to sing over a "G" to singing the complete role of Tosca for a competition (and winning the role!) in a few months.

 

Jim had studied with Mario del Monaco and Dr Stanly in NY and we did very simple exercises that helped free my voice completely.
I sang more Tosca’s and Cavaleria Rusticana at the age of 25.

 

Soon I felt, I needed more development and contacted the great verismo soprano Iris Adami Corradetti. I had read an interview with her in my favorite book “ the Last Primadonna’s” by Lanfranco Rasponi. She was a master of verismo, the music style I loved most of all. Her dedication to her art was so inspiring. It was unbelievable to meet someone who had worked with Toscanini, sung with Chaliapin and Aureliano Pertile, the great singers from the past. It was a whirlwind of inspiration. It led me to Bliss Johnston, a coach who played the piano for madame Corradetti and had worked with Sutherland and Pavarotti as an assistant conductor of Richard Bonynge.

We worked hours, weeks, months to find  more delicate singing, more release and style. I was insatiable, asked colleagues for advice and learned to sing "piano" from Wiebke Goetjes, a great singer and herself a student of Cristina Deutekom.

 

At the same time, I started working on the mental side of it all with hypnotherapy and lots of mental exercises to gain confidence and find peace. 
Then my auditions all of a sudden were successful. I started in Stuttgart as a Walküre and sang Don Carlos at the Komische Oper. It all took off from starting on a contract in Stuttgart where I stayed for 6 years. The rest you can read in my bio!

 


After years of singing all over the world, all of a sudden everything came to a grinding halt when Covid happened. We found ourselves at home with a lot of free time. We had never had time to teach but now we thought it would be a nice idea to stay busy and inspired. 


It was a great discovery that teaching and sharing knowledge is extremely satisfying.

To see the lights go on in a singers eyes when they feel a change and improvement is wonderful. And to hear a voice freeing up and see someone’s confidence grow is actually very moving.
I would love for singers to find this freedom, to realize singing technique is not a mystery but a craft you can learn. I would like to share all I learnt from conductors, colleagues, directors. And also to help with the mental side to deal with fears, confidence, inspiration, mindset.


Frank and I have followed the same path of inspiration.  Our lives have been exclusively about singing and music. Frank's enormous record collection has been a huge inspiration to us both (and nearly causing hernia every time we move to a new place) not to mention his knowledge that is incredibly extensive, thanks to countless of hours of listening to the greatest singers and artists ever recorded. 

...and Frank

As a boy soprano between only girls, i started singing in the local church, not knowing that it would be the greatest passion of my life, first  as a singer and now also as a teacher.
  
My first singing lessons started when i was 18 years old, with Maria van Uden/Boxe in Hilversum.
One year later my new teacher was Dutch coloratura soprano Marianne Blok, in Amsterdam.
It was in this period that I started to collect records of opera singers, first tenors but soon basses and all the other voice types. 
This collection with all the great singers helped me tremendously throughout my own development of style and musicality.
 
In 1994 I was introduced to the American tenor James McCray by my friend Dutch bass Jaco Huijpen. It was James McCray who taught me everything there was to know about the function of the voice and its development, the acoustical laws and the ability to sing in major theaters and on concert stages, with large orchestras, without the use of microphones. Singing healthy and free of any restrictions using your natural resonance. 
The emotions of a human voice are transported by vibrations through the air. To be compared with how Jaqueline Dupré plays the cello. It comes from a deep place, it flows and it is free from restrictions.
 
Although I have sung many opera’s in Italian, French, English, Russian, Czech, German and Dutch, my love goes out to the leading roles of Richard Wagner. My list of roles here include : 
  • Tristan  (Tristan und Isolde) -Semper Oper Dresden, Orquesta Y Coro Nacionales Madrid, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Bremen and Beijing.               
  • Tannhäuser (Tannhäuser)- Bayreuther Festspielen, Vienna State Opera, Grand Teatre Del Liceu Barcelona, Semper Oper Dresden, Baden-Baden, Budapest Oper, Teatro Municipal Santiago de Chile, Frankfurter Oper, Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf    
  • Lohengrin (Lohengrin)- Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf               
 
  • Stolzing (Die Meistersinger)- Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf 
 
  • Erik (Fliegende Holländer)- Semper Oper Dresden, Paris, Rotterdam, Dortmund and the operahouses of Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Linz, Shanghai
  • Parsifal  (Parsifal)-Torino Italy, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Düsseldorf and Strasbourg,               
     
  • Siegmund  (Die Walküre)- Metropolitan Opera New York, La Scala Milano, Grand Teatre Del Liceu Barcelona, Orquesta Y Coro Nacionales Madrid, and in the opera houses of Frankfurt, Mannheim, Düsseldorf, and Meiningen. The first act in Tokyo, Beijing, Verbier, Amsterdam and Melbourne.               
 
  • Siegfried  (Siegfried) parts- Venlo


It has always been very important for me to keep on singing the Italian opera's,

Like Aida, Tosca, Tabarro, Turandot and Otello. It keeps the voice flexible, in shape and full of colour. It always helped my Wagner and visa versa. 

(link to my biography:

https://www.frankvanaken.com/biography)

 

My goal as a teacher is to let people shine at their best, with their own unique voice.
To get rid of all the limited thoughts and habits. To share together with my wife Eva all the experience we have had over the last decades of singing around the world.
Singing with a voice, that enables them to sing in big theaters and concert halls with large orchestras, without the help of microphones.
In order to reach this, i want to give the singers first of all, the best and right references of great singers of the past, often found in my own collection. Listening and studying them, the way they breathe, phrase etc. will help you to be a better singer yourself.
 Secondly, the singer should not be afraid to have big dreams and follow these dreams. 
Great singers with great voices lived their dreams.
And last and most important, work hard without being too harsh on yourself. 
Explore beyond your comfort-zone.
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!
Small steps make big changes. 
 
 
 
"Be a happy bird, because only a happy bird will sing!"
 
(Birgit Nilsson)
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