Skip to main content

Posts

Dissecting Vocal Technique: "O zittre nicht" sung by Christina Deutekom

This morning I was confronted with a video on Facebook that was posted by a fellow singer who was fascinated by the vocalism in the video and didn't really know exactly technically what was going on, so I decided to break it down in this blog post, because I think it's worth discussing how much tastes and vocal technical practice has changed in the past 49 years, since Christina Deutekom sang the role and was acclaimed by the New York Times (according to this Wikipedia biography of her) as being 'the greatest Queen of the Night of our time'.
Here's the video: 

So- I sing this piece- and have been studying it and singing it for 4 years now-just so you know where my thoughts are coming from- and from a technical perspective this recording to me is all over the place. In the recitative she changes the text (at "ja schuldlos" and "dies tief" which at the time she was singing was normal- in fact people here in Germany have even suggested that I do that…
Recent posts

HOW-TO: Choose Music for a Solo Recital

I think it's safe to say that all of us Singers will have to sing a Solo Recital at some point or another. Which, just to be specific, is a concert where the singer performs a bunch of songs with piano accompaniment for about an hour to an hour and a half, max. That's the traditional Solo Recital, hence calling it "Solo", because the Singer is the main performer and it's basically a showcase of their singing abilities.There are, of course, other variations on the traditional Recital theme, where you collaborate with other Musicians- either Instrumentalists or Singers or both- and one singer is not the sole focus of the event. This is sometimes called a Collaborative Recital (but some people refer to a Solo Recital as a Collaborative Recital too- so just note, these terms are flexible), and is also a common type of performance which you'll see just as often as Solo Recitals.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog post, and the most exciting part of any R…

Why LA LA Land is Dystopian, and what the National Endowment for the Arts and Ending the "Gig Ecomony" can do to fix it

Like many of you, I went to the movie theaters a few months ago to see the movie "La La Land" because of all the rave reviews it was receiving from critics. As you can imagine if you've also seen the film and are a working Performing Artist, I was pretty angry at the predictability of the movie's plot, and their insensitive and narrow-minded presentation of an Artist's life and options they have. And, then coincidentally, my issues with La La Land were summed up, in a masterful blog post that I happened to stumble upon last week written by Linda Essig, who is the Director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University, and if you're curious to read her thoughtful words, you can click here to see her post.

Basically, what she says is what I was feeling right after seeing the film. Why does life's trajectory always get over simplified to two distinct and different choices for an Ar…

What an ENT Doctor Visit is like for an Opera Singer

So I was lucky enough to recently have had vocal troubles. I know, I know- sounds not so lucky. But, behold! It was. Because my vocal troubles were really minimal, actually. It started rather slowly and then got worse; I was often a bit hoarse after singing (either after an hour-long coaching of Opera Arias, or after 2 hours of private practice at home) and I knew that that wasn't normal. So off to the ENT Doctor (Ear, Nose and Throat, or in Germany they are called HNO which stands for Hals, Nasen, Ohren- the same as in English, just "auf Deutsch") I went. And luckily for me, here in Munich there is a ENT that works in the Klinikum Rechts der Isar, which is run by the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (for those non-German speakers- the Hospital on the right side of the Isar [River], which is run by the Technical University of Munich) who works in a department of the hospital which was specifically designed to treat Musicians' injuries. Cool, right? They often deal w…

A Singer's Essentials: Accessories

For the New Year I wanted to offer you all some of my 'essential' products for a singer's life, so I've made a list of some things that I simply cannot live without. And no, in case you were wondering, I'm not being paid or compensated in any way to endorse these products. I merely like them enough to want to share their awesomeness with the world, and with you, dear Reader. Although I wouldn't mind having a lifetime supply of some of these things...and neither will you, once you try them! So, happy reading and happy finding new favorite go-to products for yourself or the singer who is dear to you.

1.) Burt's Bees Lozenges (http://www.burtsbees.com/product/natural-throat-drops%3A-honey/01441-00.html)

Especially when Winter is in full force and we are plagued by dry air from indoor heating on full blast, having a lozenge in my purse or coat pocket at all times is essential. I especially like these because they don't have any high fructose corn syrup in …

A Guide to Ethics for Professional Opera Singers

Dear fellow singing friends and professionals,

I was awakened a few weeks ago by a few very unsavory experiences to the fact that it might be a good thing for me to talk about the Ethics of being a Professional Opera Singer. Before I start, I would like to say that I welcome all of your thoughts about this topic, so if after you've read my post you feel there's something to add, please do share it in the comments section below!

It's certainly possible that these principles of professional ethics apply equally well to other industries, but I'll forge ahead with their relevance to being a singer, specifically. As a professional Opera singer who hasn't yet had her "big break" (a.k.a. a contract singing at an 'A-level' Opera house OR really any job which would allow me to actually earn a living wage from my singing in a year's time), I still feel it of the utmost importance for me to be "ethically professional" because I believe that ha…

German Lied Interpretation: Do we really have to keep digging up Fischer-Dieskau????

Okay, so I'll set the scene for you: yesterday evening I had an impromptu audition for the Sueddeutsche Schubertgesellschaft e.V. (which translates to Southern German Schubert Society, a Non-Profit, here's their website, if you're curious) which was organized only the day prior, and which I was looking forward to for a few reasons. Actually, I found out about about them through a flyer I'd seen where they were advertising for a series of concerts of Schubert's music where the profits from the performances were to go entirely to benefit the Refugees here in Munich, so that made me think, "Yeah, what a good cause! Maybe I can help by offering my singing and then they'd have more concerts and make more money and it'd be great!" You get the picture.

Then, I thought about it some more and decided to call them and see what they said. At least I'd get the chance to sing some German Lieder (aka Art Song) which I hadn't done in a while, even if I …