Ms. Staiman's journey as a voice teacher began when she caught the singing bug at the age of 12, when she started to take singing lessons with Helen Simmie at the Royal Conservatory of Music and was in the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus of the Canadian Opera Company. Since then singing has been an integral part of Staiman's life. Throughout her 35 years of vocal training, Staiman couldn't get enough singing lessons. She loved her singing lessons, even if sometimes they were frustrating and filled with tears. She strove to better herself as a singer and kept challenging herself vocally. She has developed from student to performer to teacher and has enjoyed the journey.
In Toronto, Staiman studied with two voice teachers: Helen Simmie and Bernard Diamant. Following nine years of vocal studies, she entered the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, where she received her Bachelor of Music. Today she is an active alumna of the faculty.
Staiman's passion for the operatic and concert repertoire and her desire to perform, led her to studies at the famous Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, England, where she studied with Joyce Newton and took many classes in performance and drama. It was then that she received her first experiences as a singer of the operatic repertoire. Her first role was Despina in Mozart's "Cosi fan Tutte". To this day, she remembers fondly the performances at Cambridge theatre and at Black Friars. The following year she was Titania in Benjamin Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". During subsequent years, Staiman sang various roles in London, her favorites being, Marguerite in Gounod's "Faust" and a title role in Mozart's "The Impresario."
A powerful theatrical experience was the Tito Gobbi Opera Workshop in Florence, Italy, where Staiman was most fortunate to be a participant during the 1979 summer session. Tito Gobbi, was the leading operatic baritone of his era and one of the best loved. He was truly a consummate artist who graced the stage with the incomparable Maria Callas in the famous Zeffirelli production of "Tosca" in London. In addition to producing opera and holding master classes all over the world he ran an opera workshop at the Villa Schifanoia near Florence for six weeks.
Staiman moved to Rome, Italy for two years, where she studied the "bel canto" singing technique from her voice teacher, Maestra Rebori. Italy is the home of "bel canto" singing and Ms. Staiman received it first hand. Following those two years of study, Ms. Staiman moved to New York City, a major hub of the arts. Here she studied voice, dance and attended many dramatic workshops. One of the finest workshops was with Lea Jorgensen. Attending her workshops, Ms. Staiman learned textual analysis and the many different levels of interpreting the "sung monologue".
Ms. Staiman first started to teach voice in 1981, while living in Manhattan. Those initial years were filled with growth as she helped many aspiring actors and dancers in the "big apple" find their voices. Soon she was on the faculty of the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York City. Here she was exposed to the classes and methodology of AMDA's musical theatre program.
Staiman is a passionate voice teacher. She was passionate about taking singing lessons and performing and presently she is as passionate about taking her 27 years of international exposure and passing it on to her students.
As a voice teacher, Deborah Staiman gained invaluable knowledge from her teachers in Toronto, London, Rome and New York. In addition, she was exposed night after night to some of the world's finest performances of opera and musical theatre. Staiman witnessed great artists again and again at the Covent Garden Opera House, West End musicals in London, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York as well as every musical that appeared on Broadway. This exposure to the best in the world gave Ms. Staiman very high artistic standards, by which she measures herself and her students today. It is these standards of performance which she teaches and which she hopes will be her legacy as a voice teacher to her students.