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Lara Secord-Haid
All photos by Rhonda Spivak.

Lara Secord-Haid with pianist Darryl Friesen, who made his professional debut with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in February 2008.


Susan Schipper


By Susan Schipper, October 20, 2010

A small girl with a big voice, Lara Secord-Haid blew the large crowd away at her first solo concert this past Sunday. Secord-Haid, a Gray Academy graduate, is currently in her third year at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, where she studies opera as a lyric coloratura soprano. Though she has always possessed a clear and natural musicality, it was not until after she wowed guests at her Bat Mitzvah with her voice that Secord-Haid began vocal training lessons with Diane Berger to hone her raw talent. It was not long before she was collecting accolades, winning a Silver Medal from the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2005, for her grade seven voice exam, and receiving the Alma Wynn Memorial Trophy at the 2006 Winnipeg Music Festival. After a year of general subjects at University of Manitoba, Secord-Haid auditioned for several conservatories around the United States, and chose the New England Conservatory for its renowned opera program. She currently studies with Lorraine Nubar, head of the Pre-College Voice Department at The Julliard School. 

 Performing a wide variety of selections from several sources – and languages – Secord-Haid sung a mix of the upbeat and sorrowful at her recital, ranging from Hugo Wolf’s sly, coquettish, and quick ‘Ich hab’in penna’ (“I have in Penna”), to Ambroise Thomas’ haunting ‘A vos jeux mes amis… Partegez vous mes fleurs’ (“In your games my friends, allow me to join”), an ode to Hamlet’s tragic Ophelia character. Secord-Haid’s voice is not only rich and bodied – she gave life, meaning and relevance to each song, and connected the audience to her characters throughout her operatic endeavours – but also her astounding level of composure and control is to be admired and sought after. She demonstrates maturity and grace, and her true musical ability shines through. In selecting such varied pieces, a choice that could have made for a disjointed performance, Secord-Haid, on the contrary, delivered an extremely well rounded and moving range of songs. 

 She brought several members of the audience to tears, and finished with a rendition of My Fair Lady’s “I Could Have Danced All Night”, which came across as both cheekily, self-deprecatingly humorous, and appreciative of the audience, proving her performance and acting chops as well. As one crowd member exclaimed, the afternoon and Secord-Haid’s exceptional talent was “better than the opera [she] saw the previous night”. With her unmistakable musical prowess and powerhouse voice, Secord-Haid is surely one to watch and one for whom those fortunate enough to have seen her on Sunday can look forward to boasting in future that they “knew her way back when…”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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