Twenty-three singers attended the informal conversation, Purposeful Preparation and Meaningful Collaboration, with Jennifer Johnson Cano on February 2, 2021. The event was hosted by Duke Opera Theater for voice students in the Music Department. David Heid, director of Duke Opera Theater, was excited to be able to facilitate this opportunity. "Jennifer is able to bring such a fresh perspective from the outside to so many areas that impact all singers. From concrete help on preparing to imaginative approaches for building stage characters, she encouraged and challenged us all."
Recent alumnus and 2020 Beneson Award winner Thandolwethu Mamba, now a graduate student in Voice at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, encouraged current students to take advantage of the opportunity to connect with Cano, who has sung at the Metropolitan Opera and the Hollywood Bowl, among other venues. "I just wanted to say that I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer in a summer opera program in Italy a couple years back," Thando wrote, "and she is a wonderful person and brilliant artist with so much talent and experience! I highly recommend that you attend the events, you won’t regret it!"
The informal conversation was the first installment of a two-part artist encounter with Cano, who joined the Duke Voice Area again on February 23 for a voice masterclass. Thirty people attended the class to observe four students, Sophia Leeman, Devon Carter, Bryn Lawson and Francesca Herrera, perform arias from Lucrezia Borgia, Barber of Seville, Marriage of Figaro, and Don Pasquale for Cano, who helped them work on character development and presentation skills.
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