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by Rhonda Spivak, October 4, 2010

Twenty-one year old Lara Secord-Haid, a member of Winnipeg’s Jewish community whose passion is singing opera, recently won five gold medals in the Manitoba Music Festival, in the categories of Italian Art song, French melody, Aria, German Lieder and Spanish Cancion, as well as one silver medal in Oratorio.

She will be performing on October 17th; at the Mennonite University at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available from Elba Haid at (204) 475-1543 or (204) 957-7325.

The singer says she has “competed in the Manitoba Music Festival several times before” and won the Alma Wynn memorial trophy in 2006.

“It always feels good to get some positive recognition for the work you're doing and I always find the assessment of my weaknesses to be helpful too. In any festival, I hear so many other singers who have their own set of strengths so it all comes down to the preferences and aesthetic values of one judge to assign marks.”
Lara, who graduated from Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, is currently in her senior year at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston studying with Lorraine Nubar.
As she told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “The drama in opera has always captivated me. Like an actor, an opera singer can express with the body and with the voice but composers write subtext, implications, feelings or psychology that can't be shown with the body into the orchestral part and to me, that's where the magic comes; opera has the means to express some of the most intense aspects of the human experience.”
In 2010, Secord-Haid performed the operatic role of Mme. Silberklang in The Impresario put on by the Little Opera Company, as well as the role of Daria Garbinati in the opera Viva la Mamma put on by the New England Conservatory [NEC] . Recent solo performances include the NEC Brown Hall Salut Printemps by Claude Debussy in 2010 and NEC Concert Choir and Brass Ensemble O Master let me walk with thee  in 2009.
Secord-Haid undergoes rigorous training to prepare for her roles. As she said, “My training consists of a one hour voice lesson and two musical coachings every week as well as diction and repertoire lessons in German, French and Italian. I practice generally between one and two hours a day depending on vocal health and fatigue.”
Secord-Haid also had a solo performance in 2009 with  the  Winnipeg  Symphony Orchestra in The Bear a film score by Howard Blake for soprano and orchestra, as well  as a solo performance in the  Conservatoire de Nice in 2009.  In 2004, at the beginning of her career, Secord- Haid sang with the Chai Folk Ensemble.
As for what her future holds, Secord- Haid says “My next step will, I think, be grad school and competitions. I will only take the professional auditions I am ready for, It's really easy to be overly ambitious.” In December, Lara will be playing Norina in selections from Donizetti’s opera Don Pasquale.
Secord-Haid also told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that she chose to hold her upcoming concert at the Mennonite University in Winnipeg “because they have a lovely auditorium with nice acoustics and a beautiful piano. What more could I want? “
She is currently “making final decisions about the repertoire I will sing on the October concert. Approximately half of it is repertoire I have performed before or been working on for a while and the rest is new repertoire that will take quite a lot of work to prepare.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.