Rise & Shine Interview: Shantelle Przybylo

I'm so excited that one of my best friends, Shantelle Przybylo, is sharing her thoughts on perseverance with us today.  She is a Canadian Soprano and has performed all around the world. You can read her biography following the interview. I am blown away by her talent.  Shantelle has an incredible voice and delivers an outstanding performance.  She is also one of the most kindhearted people I have ever met.  I thought it was fitting to have her participate in this series as we encourage each other to follow our dreams.  Thanks so much Shantelle for sharing!

Canadian soprano Shantelle Przybylo will join the Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program in the spring of 2012. This season she will appear with WNO as Zerlina in Don Giovanni (Emerging Artist Performances). Ms. Przybylo recently made her professional debut with Tapestry New Opera Company as Nataliya in The Enslavement and Liberation ofOksana G. Other engagements include covering the role of Lillian Alling in Lillian Alling, with the Banff Centre’s Opera as Theatre program. Ms. Przybylo made her singing debut in Europe in 2010, performing Zerlina in Don Giovanni with the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy (COSI). She has also sung Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Miss Titmouse in Too Many Sopranos and Rose in Street Scene, both of which were produced by UWOpera. Ms. Przybylo holds a Master of music performance from the University of Toronto under the mentorship of Lorna MacDonald. She is a winner of the 2012 Francis Poulenc prize from the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques competition. This summer Ms. Przybylo will be studying at Wendy Nielsen’s St. Andrews Arts Council Opera Workshop program. Read Shantelle's interview below!

Image (c) Shantelle Przybylo

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to always go for what I believe in. My parents gave me this advice and they have always supported me along the way with my choices for my future.

How important is mentorship in terms of your success?

Mentorship is crucial for success in my career. I am always learning from my mentors; vocal coaches, voice teachers, stage directors, etc. These are the people I look up to for guidance and knowledge on improving my skills.

What has been the best moment in your life so far?

The best moment of my life so far was having the opportunity to sing for Plácido Domingo. I would never have imagined having the opportunity in my life to not only meet, but also sing for one of the world’s best opera singers.

What tips would you have for living a healthy life?

A balance is essential to achieving a healthy lifestyle. I have always been a perfectionist and high achiever. Throughout my education, I have always tried to go above and beyond the call of duty to achieve the highest marks. By the time I was completing my Masters my work ethic remained the same, however I also realized the importance of taking time for friends and for myself. I became more physically active and involved in the community. I was ecstatic with how these changes allowed me to become a lot more confident and content. I encourage everyone to find those elements in their lifestyle that will make them feel more balanced.

How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks?

The amount of competition in the opera world is outstanding. In what seems to be a somewhat dwindling art form, the number of talented singers is vast. Being a soprano makes the competition even harder as the pool of sopranos is the largest of all voice types. After auditioning for numerous opera companies and training programs for the past two years, and being turned down several times, I would be lying to say it was not very discouraging. However, when there is a dream in sight that you want so badly and will do anything for, you persevere. I was always told by every voice teacher that it will not be easy to land an opera career and that you need to have the “diva” drive.  Thankfully I do not let rejections stop me and I always fight on. I am happy to say I finally landed a spot in the Washington National Opera’s Young Artist Program. By working hard and never giving up hope, I have learned dreams really can be achieved.

How do you deal with critics?

In the opera industry, I am consistently dealing with critics.  Whether it is opera reviews, singing in a competition, auditioning for companies, or even having a voice lesson, criticism always surrounds me. As hard as it can be to deal with sometimes, I have learned to not take the criticism personally and to use it rather as a tool to help me improve.


How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?

I believe it is very important to develop a strong social network. There have been several instances where I have needed the reassurance and support from my peers, family, teachers and friends to overcome obstacles in my career path. Their guidance allowed me to see the different perspectives of situations and be prepared to face various challenges. These social connections are integral to building your success.

What advice would you give others about goal setting?

It is important to set goals that are reasonable to handle and that follow your beliefs and values. I would always try to visualize the outcomes of the goals and keep a regular track of your achievement progress.

What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?

Life is too short to not follow a passion. Everyone has something special that they have been given or have been put on this earth to explore and share. It could be helping people, being a mother, having a talent or pursuing a hobby. I feel discovering this passion is one of the most important keys to happiness. I feel blessed every day to be able to follow my passion in life and share it with others.

Thanks, Shantelle, for sharing your thoughts with us! Keep sharing your beautiful voice with the world.

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!

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