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MasterClass Monday: Cabaret Star Patricia O’Callaghan’s Mesmerizing Performance Of Leonard Cohen’s Alexandra Leaving


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I am naturally drawn to singers who deliver their songs via an expressively committed narrative. Singers who dig deep, wear their emotions on their sleeve and can expose their soul while flawlessly singing a beautiful melody and lyric.

Patricia O’Callaghan is a gem of a singer. And I had the immense pleasure of teaching her from the ages of 15 – 19 years before she left for the University Of Toronto and a stellar International career.

I am always mesmerized by a Patricia O’Callaghan performance. Her beautiful and nuanced vocal instrument and glowing charisma can leave the listener breathless and, more importantly, inspired.

“Alexandra Leaving”, penned by the prolific Leonard Cohen, rises to stellar heights in this performance. Patricia’s voice and refined, sensitive demeanor is the perfect complement to this poignant song.

Personally, when listening to this song, I think of love lost – more specifically people who have died and entered the spiritual world. The poignancy of this song, the emotion, the message – it moves me to tears.

Patricia is a master of impeccable phrasing and her vocal delivery is always enhanced via stellar technical skills and a commitment to the lyric. She instinctively knows how to enhance the composition by delicately stretching a word or a phrase line.

Masterclass Tip: Patricia’s open and relaxed facial features allows her voice to resonate freely in the vocal masque via the consistent support from the diaphragm.

And, notice the relaxation of her jaw and the circular formation of her mouth? Both are so important for precise pitch, seamless vocal range and the liberation of the voice.

Also, listen to the simplicity of her vocal line – she expressively approaches it as Leonard Cohen envisioned it, always keeping the storyline front and center.

Patricia is a distinct artist – there is no one in the world quite like her, And she has been an individual artist since the day I met her, always staying true to her vision as a performing artist.

You can purchase Matador: The songs of Leonard Cohen – Patricia O’Callaghan on iTunes. Matador is an absolutely exquisite CD, each track a special gem in and of itself.

Included on this CD is “Alexandra Leaving” which can be purchased as an individual track on I -Tunes.

Special kudos to her background vocalist and musicians. They were impeccable.

It is with great pride and pleasure that I present this video performance to the MCL community while dedicating it to the memory of our mutual friend, Brian Haneberry. R.I.P. Brian. And thanks for the memories.

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

5 Responses to “MasterClass Monday: Cabaret Star Patricia O’Callaghan’s Mesmerizing Performance Of Leonard Cohen’s Alexandra Leaving”

  1. Exquisite – thanks for sharing this lovely rendition of a great Leonard Cohen song. And RIP Brian – I know you will miss him.

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  2. That was very nice. I have enjoyed Patricia’s videos on You Tube before and recommend them to anyone who might be interested.

    How would you describe the style of backing vocal heard in this video?

    My sympathy in the loss of your friend Brian. I read a little bit about him and he sounded like a fine fellow.

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  3. “How would you describe the style of backing vocal heard in this video?”

    Would you describe it as unison rather than harmony?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gene – it is harmony. Just beautiful, clean harmony.

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  5. OK. Thank you.

    Like

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