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Showing posts from April, 2011

My Perspective on Music Criticism

Many times I have heard from friends, family members and colleagues that I shouldn't take my singing so personally.  This comment usually comes right about the time when I am upset about something that someone said or wrote about a performance or audition that I sang.

Now, I know that criticism in itself is merely an expression of what a person thinks, which is an extension of that person's tastes and biases, and therefore is not any sort of final decision as to the quality of my singing or my artistry.  However, I find it odd that we, as singers, are asked to do seemingly contradictory things when it comes to our profession.

On one hand, we are asked to make our singing such a part of ourselves (in terms of giving the audience pieces of our own personal experiences served up in the form of musical dramatizations of operas and songs) and then, on the other hand, when someone criticizes our singing, we are supposed to be able to brush it off easily without a second thought as t…

Why You and I, Being Opera Singers and Opera Enthusiasts, Need to Get Off Our Tushes and Make Some Change Happen!

You know, all too often in these past few months have I noticed a few things happening in the realm of Opera (and the other art forms too--as the majority of our arts and cultural pursuits in the USA have been affected by these things) which I have not liked.  Not only have I not liked these changes, but I have watched as these changes rip apart people's lives, their incomes, their sense of well-being, and their hope of a better life for their children, and their childrens' children.

I mean, am I the only one wondering how a country, that is so humongous (let's face it, America is HUGE!) can be filled with people who are content to see these things happening, and just sit back and think, "Well, that really does suck, but...what can I do about it?"
And, to confess, I have been one of the people with this very attitude for the past two months!  (I think I was turned into a brainless zombie at the prospect of no arts...) But, I was, quite frankly, shocked to the cor…

Singing-Acting: German versus American Observations

I am certainly no expert, but I do like to think that I have a fair amount of observational talent.  That being said, I have paid particular attention to the singing that I've seen from my colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic and I have some general insights to share with you all, which you might want to keep in mind the next time you think about characterization for role preparation. (Phew, that's a tongue twister!)

Anyway, I have watched various professional and non-professional colleagues from Germany and the USA, and I have noticed two distinct camps of acting training that are making themselves evident from the performances I've witnessed.  The German singers I've seen have managed to maintain (no matter what the dramatic situation was) a sort of naiviete in the portrayal of their characters while singing.  This, I believe, comes from their in-depth understanding of each word that they sing.

And, I don't just mean what we American singers think of (I can …


(Click the title of this post to link to the article I refer to below)

Check this blog post out from American Lyric Theater--it's related to the Bernstein Opera, 'A Quiet Place' which I blogged about a month or so ago. It seems that Mr. Edelson and I have a concensus---he thinks it's the most perfect piece of Opera too! (I'm so glad for coincidences like this!)

This summer's exciting news: Bad Orb!

So, it's been long overdue that I write something about my upcoming singing in Germany (again) and the good news I've received of being chosen for a singing engagement there this summer in the months of July and August. Therefore, I will begin by saying that because all of you are very dear to me who read this blog and who've supported me monetarily, psychologically and physically over the past years/weeks/months/days, I would like to say that this success of mine is due to your generosity and love for me.  So, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for helping to make this possible.

Now, to the details:

I auditioned for a program called "Opernakademie Bad Orb" on January 15th, 2011 in Germany at the Frankfurt Opernhaus in their Orchestralprobesaal (Orchestral Rehearsal Room) at approximately 2:30pm, after having arrived there around 12 noon.  My boyfriend and I left from Dortmund that morning by car at approximately 9am and arrived in Frankfurt a bit ahead o…

Opera Chorus Jobs: The Warm-Up

When I talk to non-musicians and non-singers about the difficulty of breaking into the solo career scene in Opera, they ask me (as any logical person would) "Well, why not just join the chorus? At least you could be still doing what you love- singing!"  And, while this is a very sensible plan and a good one in theory, it actually has a lot of pitfalls that I'd like to explain now to you in this post.  This will also hopefully bring about some good conversation from my operatic colleagues who are opera chorus members, or who are thinking of doing it, or who are opera house managers and who deal with chorus singers and the system of how the hiring works.

I must stress that what I am saying here is in no way the only view on the matter, but it is an informed one, as I know many chorus singers are various size opera houses, and I see and hear about the politics associated with being a chorus singer through being in the opera business and being around those people in charge o…

How Long Can Opera Singers Sing Per Day?

To those readers who aren't singers (or even those who are) I would like to take some time today to talk about the proper and measured use of our voices (speaking and singing) during the course of a normal day and over the course of a normal week.

This subject has come to mind for me because of factors relating to everyone' normal daily lives.  We are technologically-connected beings who are constantly communicating with someone, somewhere, somehow.  Sure, it's great to talk at work with your co-workers during lunch break, or have a phone conversation with your Grandmother for an hour every Tuesday, but just how much is all that talking really weighing on your voice in an overall evaluation?

Because I have been singing six days a week for at least two hours since last June (and have really kept that schedule up- amazingly--okay, except for Christmas break at which point I didn't sing for 1.5 weeks) I've noticed that speaking frequently over the course the day would…