[excerpts from a letter from a student, all reprinted with permission]
"Above all, I don't know how I could thank you enough. Before taking your class, I had little idea how important the body is to making music. There were a couple of occasions when I felt that my voice was going wrong because I lost control of my body (e.g., muscles getting tight and tense), but I did not know how to resolve such problems. Also, because I kind of started my voice study pretty naively (first in the beginning level and so late, I had no basics about how to stand, how to place my arms and hands, how to breathe, etc. Pity, isn't it? Now I know how our body can change a lot of things :-) so I will make sure to keep working hard to find my voice, as you advised.
After our discussion of [the Verdi opera aria] Caro Nome. I felt so much better about performing at the master class [with guest singer and public audience] on Friday. Although I was very nervous when I was singing, I think felt much more comfortable with imagining and visualizing what the song was trying to communicate to the audience. Thank you so much, Clara! I really wanted to let you know how much our Tuesday class helped me portray the poem and the emotions in the song!
I feel sad that the time is flying so quickly. I wish the time will remain still and I could be in your class forever. "
--Roselyn, graduate student, Stanford University Performance Workshop for Opera, Art Song, and Audition Techniques
"Thank you so much for the example you set. Even if you hadn't taught us about how to channel stage fright, tap into self respect, and how to stimulate a broader speaking voice, just the way that you present yourself and speak in front of a class is instructive and inspirational."
--Johann, graduate student, Stanford University Public Speaking Seminar
Clara is for sure the most interesting and dynamic teacher we've had here. Her professionalism, insight into many fields, patience and supportiveness, and ability to teach us about presence and self presentation, makes her a favorite at this top level of the program. She is also very flexible with her style and very engaging. We are very unhappy she is going back to America!
--Theo, business student, Wall Street Institute, Wiesbaden, Germany I couldn't breathe properly and felt like my vocal chords were being shredded every time I went to a voice lesson and did what my (famous!!) voice teacher asked of me. I asked Clara to come with me to meet her, listen in, and Clara asked me after with a look of concern, "but tell me honestly, how do YOU feel about that lesson." And I cried, because she understood I was not okay and couldn't follow directions in a way that helped me. Clara understood I was doing everything on altered breathing patterns. She had lots of reasons for understanding why I was breathing the way I was (with so much tension, almost backwards muscular movement), but didn't make me feel bad about it. She was EXTREMELY positive and believed in me 100% and said it wasn't my fault, just something to be worked out. I found my voice with her, my total WAGNERIAN, heroic sound! My voice came out so loud and with no pain, unbelievable!
-- Viktoria, private student, Wiesbaden, Germany
Clara had been the vocal director for San Jose State University's first musical theater production (Urinetown) in over a decade, and she came highly recommended by Kikau Alvaro [director & choreographer] as well as by everyone who heard the show at the university. In the production of Candide........Clara had to train 52 singers to sing in 8 part harmony, as well as all the soloists in their arias.
The students, whose ages ranged from 15-22, took exceedingly well to Clara, and many of the parents came to her asking her to teach private voice lessons to their children. We hired Clara because our musical theater, although the largest and most highly ranked of its kind in the nation, does not usually delve into the realm of music that overlaps with opera. We are exceedingly glad to have had her with us for her expertise, and throughout a very demanding period of long rehearsals and preparations.
--Shannon Self, artistic director, Children's Music Theater, San Jose
"Clara is badass."
--A group from the high school cast of Bernstein's "Candide," venue: Children's Music Theater, San Jose
"It has always been my dream to perform folk music in coffee shops. I'm an engineer, however, and stopped practicing for a while, and found that I would shake and barely be able to sing above a whisper. I only had the occasion to take one, 2 hour long class with Clara, but the changes were almost miraculous. She identified where I was holding my tension, and helped me through understanding why, and allowing myself to use those crutches when I wanted to, only as a choice, and not the only way. She gave me enough support that I could really re-consider myself to be a performer, too, and enough insight about the body and mind connection and my own body in particular, that my voice opened up measurably immediately.
Thank you, Clara. That was enlightening in so many ways."
--Edvin, private studio student, Sweden, venue: Moines Velhos in Portugal
"Okay, so that was unbelievable. I only was here a week and studied with you twice, and I feel like I went through 12 years of psychotherapy in a few hours. It was also so much fun to deal with the power of my higher voice, and to learn that that was part of me, too, and that I shouldn't hold back on it."
--Wakefa, London, venue: Moines Velhos in Portugal
"I feel like I have been locked up in my chest and body for half of my life. The feeling is physical, but it has also become emotional. Clara is the first person who helped me to release this. I've worked with massage therapists, psychologists, rolfers, and much more. She says it wasn't her, but it was my own attention to my body and my own innate intelligence that causes it. Still, it was incredible to finally have this experience."
--Abela, Israel, venue: Mitzpe Alummot
"Clara taught a class on meditation and movement, and I begged her to make me a recording for my own use. I had a cyst in my brain when I was in college, and have a constant problem with cerebral spinal fluid leaking from my brain. I think the fear from this surgery and from the constant re-experiencing of the trauma daily, as Clara described it, made it scary to try to sense my body. When I was with her, I was able to relax and feel myself open and happy in a way I haven't touched since I was a boy. I wish I were here for more than the weekend so I could study privately with her"
--Yonaton, Israel, venue: Mitzpe Alummot
"Clara saved me from chronic laryngitis and gave me the best advice how to be 14 and still have a social life without hurting my voice, but also take myself seriously as a singer. I want to be professional, and Clara has been so supportive of this. At first I liked to sing blues and music theater and Clara encouraged me to follow my passions and sing my favorite music, but it was really exciting to sing my first aria in Italian! I didn't know I could sing like that, and it doesn't hurt anymore. She's great."
--Hayley, 14, venue: Chicago Center School of Music