Monday, April 06, 2009

The Singing Actor

In watching the opera scenes at the college I used to attend, I was struck by something that I have been told many times to be true. Voice teachers and coaches alike drill technique into you with the hope that it will someday become second nature to you and allow the music to be expressed in a way that is beyond the technique. I used to think that technique could be sacrificed at times for the sake of expression, but I am starting to come around to the idea that emotion can truly be expressed with solid technique. Not only will it not detract from the emotion of the music, but it will enhance it, allowing the listener to transcend the fact that he is listening to a person sing, and simply immerse his being into the music itself. Solid technique helps the music live. Flaws in technique will detract from the experience of the music and cause you to focus on the person flubbing the line, missing the vowel, or breathing too shallowly.

Granted, the students at my alma mater were undergrads, and doing the best they could. And one could hear that some of them were well on their way to a good sound. But, the flaws in technique definitely made my experience with the various opera scenes less powerful than they could have been, less moving than they should have been. A voice that is steeped in good technique does not have to concentrate on where the note should be placed, how to approach that soaring line...and is free to let the emotion ride, secure that the voice will not give in the same way the mind would be free to.

The greatest singers can do this. The singing actor is what I aim to become.

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