Indelibly etched in my memory is the Sarah Caldwell/Boston Opera production of Roberto D'Evereux starring Beverly Sills, a consummate actress as well as a fine coloratura. I was a teenager, a freshman at the New England Conservatory. Never did I expect to see a better production of this rarely performed opera. Last week my expectations were surpassed … Continue reading Sondra Radvanovsky’s Riveting Queen Elisabeth 1, in SFO’s Production of Donizetti’s Roberto D’Evereux
I still vividly remember my first important audition in the home of my then voice teacher in Milan, Italy which landed me my first important singing engagemen. Signora Corti, my teacher, was also an agent and the opera theater director of an opera house in France was sitting in the living room auditioning some of her … Continue reading Overcoming Audition Fear
Both art forms are based on the breath, yet in yogic breathing, the abdominal muscles relax on the inhale as expansion occurs and it seems like one breaths “from the belly”. In singing, at least in the majority of worthy techniques, the abdominal muscles are not relaxed and distended, rather toned, (not tucked), as … Continue reading The Art of Singing and Yoga: Similarities and Differences
When my friend gave me “Wild Harmonies” by French pianist, Hélène Grimaud for my birthday this year, I have to say I was disappointed. Why should I, a classical singer, read a book about a pianist, and especially about one that I had never heard of ? I read books about sufis, not pianists. I left the … Continue reading Why All Singers Must Read: “Wild Harmonies, A Life of Music And Wolves”
I built my voice using the “e” vowel better known to singers using phonetics as “ i”. The “i” vowel always seemed to naturally place itself forward and in the resonators, without my having to “do” anything. I struggled for years with the “a” vowel because Americans pronounce this vowel too low in the mouth or … Continue reading Singing the “A” Vowel
Resonance happens as a result of correct use of breath and vowel. When singers try to "place" the sound in the resonators the result is never optimal to say the least and singers do not necessarily experience their sound “in the same place”. However, many singers start out with the voice so low placed naturally … Continue reading Singer Subjectivity: Where does the sound resonate?
Most professional singers have a stage presence that forces the audience to look at them. They may have always had a ‘larger than life’ quality, but this quality was almost certainly further developed and refined through stage experience. The simple truth is that singers who do not have a commanding presence on stage cannot have … Continue reading Keys To Developing a Compelling Stage Presence
Many singers spend years trying to gain a technique which will allow them vocal ease in production and a round and uniform sound from the bottom to the top of their registers. At a certain point of mastery of one’s vocal technique, emphasis needs to be placed on expression; on connecting the mind and … Continue reading What is singing? The sound of the emotion of the words
Lamperti, the famous Italian singing teacher from the 1800's who taught his father Francesco Lamperti's technique which was descended from the great castrati, said that the support should be COMFORTABLY SNUG at the level of the waistline. Comfortably snug is Lamperti's analogy for the compression that occurs as the breath releases. This must not be confused with squeezing the muscles of … Continue reading Diaphragmatic support and Lamperti
A large percentage of young women but also older women speak in what has become known as the “vocal fry”. Men, for the most part do not have this vocal placement. What is vocal fry? It involves dropping the voice placement to its lowest register, which changes the way a person's vocal folds vibrate together resulting in … Continue reading Why does speaking in the vocal fry afflict more women than men ?