‘Muy Bien’ (very good) and ‘Bravo’ (well done) were the words that came from the well-known Venezuelan soprano singer, Professor Maria Elena Vargas during her masterclass held at the Recital Hall, Block G, UCSI University Kuala Lumpur campus on March 3, 2020.
The masterclass was attended by Institute of Music (IMus) director, Professor Dr P’ng Tean Hwa, Head of Classical Music programme, Assistant Professor Ysan Suit Yin, delegates from the Venezuelan Embassy as well as students and staff of IMus.
As part of her tour in Malaysia, the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Malaysia is hosting the Venezuelan Opera Gala featuring Professor Maria Elena Vargas on 5 and 6 March 2020 which will be held at The Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC).
“I am so delighted that I can be here today to share some of my knowledge with the students. What will we be doing today is more than a phase, it is to create a memory in learning,” she said.
Professor Maria added that it is much better for her to share her experiences directly with the attendees of the masterclass.
“When a professor with experience presents herself in a different environment, she also learns from the students as there is always feedback from the audience,” she highlighted.
“I am not going to sing today so that you can attend my concert in two days,” she remarked, making the audience laugh.
The masterclass then started with a performance by Tee Jia Hui and Lim Chuen Yi (pianist) with a song entitled “Mon Coeur s’ouvre ta voix” from Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saëns, followed by a performance from Charity Goh and Bonnie Kong (pianist) performing “Chanson de la Mariee” from Cinq Melodies Populaires Grecques by Ravel.
Following this, Loi Liang Hao took the stage with Lee Yi Chen (pianist) performing “Questo amor, vergogna mia” from the opera Edgar by Puccini and lastly Goh Xin Tian with Joshua Yee (pianist) performing “Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte” by Mozart.
Professor Maria actively participated in helping the performers give their best in terms of breathing, body postures and other important elements in singing classical music.
“Don’t be afraid to try different voice styles and most importantly, try to ‘open’ up yourself when you sing,” she said before ending her masterclass.
One of the performers during the class, Goh Xin Tian said that it was a great pleasure to be attending the masterclass by Professor Maria.
“It was a great experience to be able to get knowledge from an experienced singer. Moreover, I am grateful for the chance to learn various valuable lessons from Professor Maria which I am sure will be useful in the future,” she said.
Professor Maria Elena Vargas has an amazing track record of achievements in singing. Upon graduating from the P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Moscow with a Master’s Degree in Soloist Singing, Opera and Singing Teacher, she went on numerous concert tours in various cities such as Austria, Spain, France, as well as the Soviet Union. Having passion in teaching, Professor Maria has been teaching in different Music Conservatories in Venezuela since 1990.
Professor Maria is an established singer having worked with numerous performers from different musical fields such as pianist Silvia Cabrelles and Venezuelan pianist Teresa Cos apart from being one of the “Rodrigo Riere” quartet members along with Maestro Rafael Saavedra, Ignacio Barreto and Enrique Quevedo.
She was the founder and director of the Choir of the National Institute for Women in 2002. She is now teaching in music schools as well as the Experimental University for the Arts (UNEARTE) in Venezuela.