Testimonials from Alumni



ANNIE RAGO – Mezzo – U.S.A.


The professional atmosphere and the most qualified faculty allowed me to further develop my French abilities in both delivery and authenticity. The encouragement and passion from the faculty fuelled my existing drive to better myself as an artist singing French repertoire.


BRADLEY SMITH – Tenor - England


The AFSO provides the most fantastic opportunity for singers to work on many aspects of French song and opera, including phonetics, interpretation, style, and technique. The three coaches are all highly accomplished in their respective fields having worked in major opera houses and conservatories internationally, and provide an unparalleled class of training. The week takes place at a beautiful villa in the South of France which offers the perfect setting for work, study and relaxation. The hosting couple is incredibly generous, and provide the most extraordinary food and wine for every communal meal. There are two opportunities to publicly perform to a French audience, which is perfect if you are looking to work on new repertoire. The course is ideal for anyone of any ability in French, who, after a week at AFSO, will be left with a lifelong enthusiasm for an extraordinary repertoire in the world of song and opera.


MARIKA MACHITIDZE – Soprano - Georgia


I took part in the first course of AFSO in 2013 and it was really a very important experience for me. I learned so much during one week masterclass with Florence, Caroline and Jean-Paul. Also the hosts in Brel, where the academy is held, are very nice people and a special thanks for every day that I stayed in this beautiful place.


ANNA SIDERIS - Soprano - England


The AFSO course is a wonderful opportunity for focus on French repertoire - be that opera or mélodie - in a picturesque setting in the south of France. All the coaching is of a fantastic standard and thoughtfully balanced between linguistic, musical and technical work. To get the day off on the right foot you always begin with a short class on phonetics and because the number of students is kept small, everyone progresses during the week. While the work is intense, it is generally followed by the opportunity to relax in/by the pool, or to have nice glass of wine. You are put through your paces midweek in a masterclass for a French speaking audience, and the course is rounded off with a concert. As a conservatoire student, I would highly recommend this course as a rare opportunity to explore a beautiful repertoire that is too often overlooked!


YU SU – Pianist - England


AFSO re-kindled my love for the French repertoire, fuelled my imagination, and inspired my creativity. A wonderful experience.

BETTY MAKHARINSKY - Soprano - England

AFSO is a unique summer course! I came away inspired and feeling extremely well equipped to tackle any French repertoire in the future. I would particularly recommend this course as a must for any singers who have not done undergraduate singing degrees - the detailed phonetic and language work that we did had felt like a big gap for me before. The size of the course is perfect, the teaching is really top quality, and the organisation was great. What a great opportunity, thank you!

THERESE AHLBECK - Soprano - Sweden

The week at AFSO in France was the first time I did a course outside of Sweden and when I applied, I had no idea what to expect. But from the moment I set foot in the Toulouse countryside, I knew that this was going to be a wonderful course and I was right! I felt welcomed and at home in Brel and the surrounding nature and food itself were magic. Then the lessons started and we all worked tirelessly for a week. Caroline, Jean-Paul and Florence all had their different approaches to the music and language but I never felt confused and it was never hard to fit the different pieces together. We also got to do a wonderful concert in front of people from the area. This was the perfect ending to a great course, to apply what we had learnt and perform to an audience. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired after a course but also never so full of inspiration, joy and love for the French music. I would recommend AFSO to anyone with an interest in French opera and mélodie. I would gladly do it again! 



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