During the past week the 1st year of the Vocal Masterclasses of Slovak baritone Vladimír Chmelo took place alongside the IMF. Chmelo is a graduate of the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, a laureate of F. Tagliavini’s and A. Dvořák’s international vocal competitions and a holder of the Thalia Award. He has become a sought-after interpreter of Italian, French and Russian opera repertoire. He performs at prestigious opera houses around the world, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. In recent years he has dedicated himself to teaching activities. He has to a great extent contributed to the growth of the young generation of singers who have found engagements on leading Czech and international stages. “I have always felt the need to pass on my experience to others, so my way to teaching singing was natural and came early. Actually, I started teaching from the beginning of my professional career,” the singer and teacher told us. “Český Krumlov is the pride of the Czech Republic and the IMF has a great name. A beautiful atmosphere reigns here. We have amazing spaces with inspirational acoustics available here for the masterclasses, which helps the singers significantly. You know, when there are dry acoustics in a room, for a singer it is not a joy to sing,” adds Chmelo. Among the participants of the masterclasses were both students of Czech vocal schools as well as amateurs who enjoy singing. “I am really happy about the singers who joined my masterclasses. They are big promises for the future as well as experienced singers who were more interested in a sort of polemic and refining the style and interpretation of a certain repertoire.” Vladimír Chmelo would be glad if the first year of his masterclasses was the beginning of a tradition alongside the IMF and if the courses were held regularly. The masterclasses culminated on Saturday 4th August at the Monastery of Capuchin Nuns with a closing concert of the participants of the masterclasses, during which, with the piano accompaniment of Robert Pechanec, also soloists of the National Theatre in Prague, Ester Pavlů and Peter Berger, performed. The audience listened to arias from the operas Don Giovanni, Carmen, Werther, Rusalka, La Cenerentola, Eugene Onegin and The Bartered Bride.