MONC Winner Canada – Bahareh Poureslami

The VOG would like to congratulate winners of the MONC Northwest Regional Finals held at Benaroya Hall in Seattle Sunday, January 19, 2014. We are proud to announce that Vancouver’s very own Bahareh Poureslami was among them. To celebrate, we bring you an interview with Bahareh.

Bahareh Poureslami – Biography

Bahareh Poureslami - 2014 West Coast MONC winner 
Bahareh Poureslami – 2013-14 West Coast MONC winner

Soprano Bahareh Poureslami, a recent graduate from The University of British Columbia School of Music in Voice Performance, began her musical studies at the age of eleven on clarinet. It wasn’t until she was sixteen that she began private voice lessons with soprano Lorraine Reinhardt. Upon entering university, she continued her studies with Marisa Gaetanne. At UBC, Bahareh was a member of the University Singers and Choral Union choirs, as well as the Early Music Ensembles. In addition to this, she was a member of the UBC Opera Ensemble, with whom she was featured as a soloist on many occasions. Appearing in many of the UBC Opera Ensemble’s stage productions, Bahareh most recently performed the role of Micaëla in their production of Bizet’s opera Carmen, conducted by maestro Leslie Dala and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. The cast of Carmen toured in Ontario and performed at the Westben Arts Festival. A versatile musician, she has performed as a soloist with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Oratorio Society, and the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Bahareh is also featured as a soloist on the UBC Symphony Orchestra’s newly released CD Magnificat:Songs of Reflection, a celebration of Canadian composer Stephen Chatman. On the concert stage, Bahareh has been heard performing large choral works, such as Mozart’s Requiem, Bach’s Magnificat, Handel’s Messiah, Saint Saëns’ Requiem, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. This fall, Bahareh was the winner and youngest participant of the Western Canada District of the Metropolitan Opera National Audition’s and was awarded the People’s Choice award. She will be participating in the Regional auditions in January at Benaroya Hall, Seattle.


An Interview with Bahareh Poureslami – Northwest Regional MONC Winner 2013

1. When did you become interested in singing and in opera in particular?

I grew up singing along to old cassette tapes of my favourite Iranian singer, Googoosh. Although no one in my family would know that since I never sang in front of anyone, so it was quite a shock when my parent’s first heard me sing a solo in my high school choir. When I joined my high school choir and began listening to classic choral works, I realized what classically trained singers were capable of.  It was quite exciting and it motivated me to join more choirs within the school. I also participated in the BCMEA Honour Choir and BCYC, and the Vancouver Bach Youth Choir. During my first year singing at BCYC, we worked with conductor Gerald Van Wyck and after hearing me sing, he encouraged me to start taking private voice lessons and that’s when I first started working on solo repertoire. Once I started to improve my technique and work on a variety of early repertoire, I fell in love with singing all over again and decided to continue my studies at University. Naturally, I didn’t start singing operatic arias until a couple years into my training and once my teacher and I decided I was ready, I started with early Mozart arias and for fun, the ‘maybe one day’ arias that all singers love to attempt. I love all vocal music and what is so fascinating about opera is that it combines so many different skills into one art form which makes it both challenging and yet fulfilling.

2. Describe your experience auditioning for the Met Opera.

What I love the most about these auditions is that you get to hear so much talent in one day. Auditioning these past two years, I’ve been able to sing alongside great friends and I’ve also met many new singers. It has been a fantastic learning experience watching the other performers and having the opportunity to talk to the judges and audience members. I love performing and it’s the most rewarding when everyone in the audience is there to support you and enjoy the music.

3. How did you choose your pieces?

I think it’s important to choose repertoire that showcases both your vocal and acting abilities, so it’s good to have a variety of style, language, and mood in the music that you present, and I tried to fulfil that. But ultimately, I made sure that no matter which aria was chosen, my love for the music came through my performance. It’s so important to choose repertoire that you like because everyone can tell when you’re not as comfortable or interested in a piece, and why would you want to go on stage to sing an aria or song that you’re not passionate about?

5. What advice do you have for future participants in the competition?

I think the most important thing to remember is to have fun! Choose repertoire you love and show your passion for music through your singing and stage presence. Remember that everyone is there to support you and they are all excited to hear what you have to offer, so give it your all!

6. Do you have any thoughts on the Vancouver Opera Guild and its role in the Opera community?

I’m always so amazed and thankful for the hard work it takes the members of the Vancouver Opera Guild to put on these auditions and other events in Vancouver. I had the privilege of singing at their Spring Luncheon this past May and I had an amazing time meeting and getting to know the dedicated members even better. It warms my heart to know that there is such great support for us young musicians.