Internationally acclaimed soprano Patricia Rozario (dressed in white, above centre) is fast becoming a Christmas staple in Goa, along with carols, kulkuls, neurios and noketram. For the past two years, she has been trading in the Yuletide log and chestnuts roasting on an open fire in wintry England during her Christmas break from teaching at the Royal College of Music London, and her punishing recital calendar, and getting on a flight to India instead, to train our youth in Goa and other states, as part of the “Giving Voice to India” endeavour. (Read the previous post for more details about “Giving Voice to India”). In addition she visits India around April/May and July/August as well, a testimony to her commitment to the project.

And it is producing astonishing results. A young Goan-origin youth from Mumbai, all of 24 years old, had had no prior voice training when he signed up for his first ever voice course with Rozario in January 2010. He had sung popular music in choirs, but no classical music whatsoever. Today, he has progressed to the level where he has just successfully auditioned, and gained admission into the Royal College of Music! He is still awaiting word from the Guildhall School of Music as well.

This is a great achievement indeed! It is music to my own ears, for yet another reason:

A few months ago, I received an email response to an article I had written in the Herald newspaper  which admonished me thus:

“I ask you Luis, please don’t mislead singers into thinking that music, especially classical music is some thing they can master in a few lessons. It, in fact ,as you being a musician yourself should understand, takes many years of dedicated work both on the part of the singer and her/his teachers to not only learn technique but also repertoire”.

I invite readers to decide for themselves from the link to the Herald article above, whether they found anything misleading in it, intentional or otherwise. 

Well, it seems that this young lad from Mumbai has unwittingly given a more fitting response to said admonishment than I could ever have mustered!

Having said this, let us not discount the extremely hard work, dedication and commitment that he has put into his training. He has been like a groupie, following Rozario to Goa, and then back to Mumbai, and even to London, taking every piece of advice and instruction to heart whenever he is fortunate enough to get it. More power to you!

In addition, Sonia Shirsat, fado queen of Goa, seems to be loving her recently-discovered “head voice” more and more, and we will hopefully soon be hearing her sing the western classical repertory, from cantatas to operatic arias. A delightful prospect indeed! Such a sea change in such a short time augurs well for the future.

This time round, Rozario was accompanied by the feisty Hilary Kenway, who won her way into the participants’ hearts with her own brand of no-nonsense yet entertainingly humorous instruction. The news that she might return in subsequent workshops is very welcome.

Three cheers for Patricia Rozario, for consistently keeping the faith in our youth and their potential!

The time is ripe for Rozario to turn her hand to helping our choirs as well. She is already beginning to do this in Mumbai.

One can only fervently hope and pray that this momentum of pedagogy is encouraged to continue, and never flag. If it does, it is not too far-fetched to dream of opera of world-class standard, with home-grown singers in key roles, and home-grown chorus, being staged on Goan soil, in a decade or less.

Please God, make this happen!