“Promised Valley Playhouse Vocal School Gaining Prestige,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 77
The Church-sponsored Promised Valley Playhouse in Salt Lake City was the place for aspiring opera singers to be for two weeks in July.
This year, as in each of the past two summers, some of the most renowned master opera vocal coaches in the world gathered at the playhouse to teach the finer points of singing opera and songs to vocal students from throughout the United States and other countries.
The annual International Vocal School is sponsored by the Promised Valley Playhouse and the Temple Square Concert Series, under the direction of the Priesthood and Missionary departments.
The school gives LDS vocalists an opportunity to receive training from world-famous master teachers, says Iain B. McKay, organizer of the school. “It also gives our students the opportunity to determine their level of performance and helps them determine if they have the potential to sing professionally,” he says.
This July, students came from fifteen states and three foreign countries to receive training from the visiting masters. More than half of the students were LDS.
The faculty of the school this year came from Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, China, and the United Kingdom. The masters perform in the evenings on Temple Square, in addition to conducting master classes during the day. This year, Chinese/Malaysian soprano Loh Siew-Tuan also performed as a soloist on the weekly Tabernacle Choir broadcast.
At the conclusion of the school, the students presented scenes from operas in concerts open to the public.
“Part of the charter of Promised Valley Playhouse is to provide training in the arts for Latter-day Saints and to introduce our values to our non-LDS friends,” says J. Murray Rawson, manager of the playhouse. “With a vocal school of such high caliber, we’re able to do both.”
Martina Bovet, principal soprano with the Basel Switzerland Opera, wrote of her experience at the International Vocal School, “I am very, very much impressed and happy. Thank you for this wonderful gift. In these ten days I have learned so much.”
“When Miklos Szinetar was asked how long he wanted to stay for the vocal school this year, he said he enjoys working with the Mormons so much it would be a minimum of one month, and a maximum of ten years,” Brother McKay says.
Auditions for the school are held each February and may be arranged in Los Angeles, New York, London, Brussels, Budapest, New Zealand, Australia, and Salt Lake City by contacting the Promised Valley Playhouse at (801) 364-5696, 132 S. State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, United States of America.
A similar school for training outstanding pianists is held at the playhouse each June. It is sponsored by the playhouse and the Temple Square Concert Series, in conjunction with the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.