A touching and thoughtful post by opera student Chelsea Feltman poses three questions which should never be asked of a young artist (and obviously are, all the time). The questions:
-”Wow! So are you going to be on American Idol?”
-”The Phantom of the Opera is my favorite!”
-”Have you heard of the amazing 14-year-old opera singer, Jackie Evancho?”
Chelsea, alert to bad mood music, argues that opera will only be saved if the quality of singing comes first:
I just want to be an opera singer who does interesting things that fulfill me artistically, and I’m tired of waiting for the perfect opportunity to appear. Creating new, independent work does not detract from my love of traditional grand opera.But at times it can feel like a conflict of interest. With so many elements balanced so precariously, it often feels like the singing comes last.
But the singing! That’s why we all got into this mess of a business. Few people know the innumerable hours of study and practice that go into making an opera singer—of the musical, interpretive, linguistic, and stagecraft skills one has to master in order to tackle some of the most challenging music on earth. I often liken opera to the Olympics of singing; my voice teacher compares hearing a great singer fully in control of her instrument to watching a figure skater flawlessly execute a technical program. It’s absolutely thrilling. There is an athleticism to operatic singing that is truly stunning to behold. That a single human voice can project over a full orchestra and envelop an audience of 4,000 people without any artificial amplification; that we never rely on autotune to deliver a note-perfect performance; that we can sing higher, lower, faster, and longer than anyone else in the world—all while telling the greatest stories and giving life to the most intense human emotions. How is that not exciting? In my heart of hearts, I feel that if people really knew this, they wouldn’t dismiss opera as elitist or irrelevant or ridiculous. At its best, it is a perfect marriage of technical mastery, physical endurance, and artistic vision, and no amount of sexy costumes or high-concept set design can ever displace that.
Plenty of food here for discussion.
Real the full article here.