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3 weeks ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to prepare the challenging role of Lady Macbeth - G. Verdi."

I really love to give my younger dramatic colleagues some advice and glimpses into my preparation of this wonderful, challenging role: Lady Macbeth.

My number one advice is:
Do not sing this role too early in your career!

You have to have an amazing versatility and a super solid technique to sing such a role without putting your voice in danger. Taking into consideration that your voice has the right "ping" for it, you also need a lot of time to delve into the score. It also is not an easy role to act. I remember I really took my time for studying this character. Lady Macbeth is about power and she is convinced that she should be the Queen by right. Lady Macbeth starts with the powerful aria "Vieni! t‘affretta" and at the end of the Opera she has her Mad Scene. The demanding pianissimo high D at the end of the Mad Scene was for me the biggest challenge in every performance, but I managed because I worked vocally and musically like an architect through the whole role.

I had to know where I had to budget my energy and to be careful not to interprete the role with a showcase dramatic approach, but instead create a very intense, subtle and theatrical interpretation based on historical information of Shakespeare's play, and of course the psychological aspects of the character.

Demanding for my voice was the dramatic coloratura singing. I remember I spent hours of repeating them. I broke them down into pieces, worked them separately, and then glued them together. In the performances later they were pure fun!

All the Best
Vera
Dramatic soprano, Founder of International Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch
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3 weeks ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to prepare the challenging role of Lady Macbeth - G. Verdi."

I really love to give my younger dramatic colleagues some advice and glimpses into my preparation of this wonderful, challenging role: Lady Macbeth.

My number one advice is:
Do not sing this role too early in your career!

You have to have an amazing versatility and a super solid technique to sing such a role without putting your voice in danger. Taking into consideration that your voice has the right "ping" for it, you also need a lot of time to delve into the score. It also is not an easy role to act. I remember I really took my time for studying this character. Lady Macbeth is about power and she is convinced that she should be the Queen by right. Lady Macbeth starts with the powerful aria "Vieni! t‘affretta" and at the end of the Opera she has her Mad Scene. The demanding pianissimo high D at the end of the Mad Scene was for me the biggest challenge in every performance, but I managed because I worked vocally and musically like an architect through the whole role.

I had to know where I had to budget my energy and to be careful not to interprete the role with a showcase dramatic approach, but instead create a very intense, subtle and theatrical interpretation based on historical information of Shakespeare's play, and of course the psychological aspects of the character.

Demanding for my voice was the dramatic coloratura singing. I remember I spent hours of repeating them. I broke them down into pieces, worked them separately, and then glued them together. In the performances later they were pure fun!

All the Best
Vera
Dramatic soprano, Founder of International Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch
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4 weeks ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to prepare the famous aria: "Pace Pace" (La Forza del Destino, G.Verdi)"

Today I want to give you some advice on how to prepare the vocally difficult role of Leonora. I remember during my engagement for this role, which I loved to perform, it was an exciting task to keep the lyricism in the voice during the entire opera performance until Act 4 when Leonora sings this wonderful aria "Pace Pace".
G.Verdi demands a lot from a soprano voice. To have artistic freedom the singer has to know how to sing a floating piano and how to master easy diminuendo and crescendo.

How do we do this?

Start the famous pianissimo "Pace" with a lot of headvoice without carrying too much vocal weight up. Make sure to feel a free and wide space in the resonance acoustic space in the head and in this wide space you start the sound with the thin edges. It is very small, but not squeezed in the cupo space. Then you let the sound develop from that space.
Your preparation for this wonderful "Pace" (which seems to come out of another atmosphere) has to be breathing into your lower back, then during singing this note you have to have the feeling that you connect the cupo space and ring with your lower back. I always tell my students through the entire duration of the note you have to have the feeling you are sending repeated "a" vowels down your spine, so that you never loose the body connection.

When I was performing this role, the minute I sang this aria it was like an emotional and vocal sigh for me. This profound prayer together with a crystal clear concept on how to conquer it vocally, will give you artistic freedom.

Wishing you a interesting and wonderful practice!
Vera
Founder of and vocal coach at Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
Www.stimmkunst.ch

Picture: My working score for this aria.
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1 month ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Turn career stress into passion."

At this time of the year singers enter my Institute totally in stress with the upcoming season. This is the time of the year when we singers are going through this demanding audition process for casting directors in Opera Houses or Agents. All of the sudden being a singer takes on a whole new meaning. It can feel overwhelming with all the expectations you are confronted with. (I have written in my former nuggets about the topics on how to prepare yourself for an audition.)
I have been there too, when my career as a dramatic soprano started years ago, and I want to let you know that you are not alone ❤️

Besides excellent preparation of your audition arias, the number one topic is to concentrate on yourself, keep yourself motivated and refocus every day. We all stumble sometimes but get back on track by concentrating on the music and performing the art. If you follow this clear map, it will pay off in the long run.

All the best,
Vera
Founder and Owner of International Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Elisabeth, Tannhäuser
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2 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

“How could you reach the pearl by only looking at the sea? If you seek the pearl, be a diver.” – Rumi

My students will be diving deeply to find these precious musical pearls within their arias and songs to present to you in a special October concert. I look forward to seeing you there!

Vera 💕
Dramatic Soprano and founder of Institut Stimmkunst
www.stimmkunst.ch
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3 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Profession Challenges for young Dramatic Voices."

Several factors in the opera world have led to circumstances which make it difficult for young dramatic voices to find their right spot and place in the business. The choice of an artist in an opera house is very personal and more than ever before you have to be in the right place at the right time. There are two options a young dramatic voice has: Either it matures in an ensemble at an Opera House from a more lyrical or sprinto Fach into the dramatic Fach. (I think this is the ideal match for a young singer.) Or the young singer works his or her voice slowly into the dramatic repertoire and takes guest contracts and covers, where the singer does not have the pressure and schedule of singing all the time. In both options the singer must be determined and have good team around them guiding them through the process.

Choosing the repertoire meticulously is of course a guarantee for a longer career. Despite a healthy vocal technique and impressive self control, it is important to find the avenue to develop the voice until it is mature. Helpful on this avenue could be also a conductor or management team whom understands the situation and whom is willing to guide the way of this dramatic newbie. This means dedication from both sides as well as action.

So, I suggest you find out: what is the truth for you? What do you, deep inside, think is working for you? Where are you now in terms of vocal Fach, and where is your future? What are realistic next steps towards your goal? And do you have people around you who take actions?
And one very important question remains: Is the communication honest and authentic?
When you find answers to these questions, you are already on your unique, right success path.

With appreciation
Vera
Dramatic soprano and founder of International Institut Stimmkunst
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3 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Be brave and be seen."

This week I am so delighted to be working with wonderful young singers who have auditions coming up very soon. The goal in this Masterclass is for each of them to align their voice with their inner artist, and we do this by opening up the unique individual artistic actor within. A little insight for you all is: Ground yourself first. Take your space. Use your vulnerability as a strength for your singing. Be brave and be seen, and let your singing actor shine through.

With appreciation,
Vera
Dramatic Soprano and Founder of Institut Stimmkunst
www.stimmkunst.ch
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3 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟SPECIAL EVENT🌟

Masterclass with Maestro David Jones.

Institut Stimmkunst is pleased to announce that we will be hosting masterclasses with the renowned Maestro David L. Jones from New York. My dear friend and mentor will be here in Zürich offering his vocal wisdom in a public masterclass on October 12th 2019 from 12 to 4pm. Read more about Maestro David Jones at www.voiceteacher.com.

It is Stimmkunst philosophy to promote expert colleagues and mentors who have philosophies similar to my own as a singer and teacher. These classes are always so interesting and informative.

Seats in this public masterclass are limited so please make the mandatory reservation through: vera.wenkert@stimmkunst.ch
Passive participation : 40 US Dollar (or 40 CHF)
Active participation: 75 US Dollar (or 75 CHF)
Venue: Institut Stimmkunst, Albisriederstr.164, CH-8003 Zürich

Wishing you a wonderful day,
Vera
www.stimmkunst.ch
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3 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to empower yourself for success."

Hello beautiful Singers,
I hope you have had a wonderful summer until now. Yesterday I supervised a recording of two art songs and two arias for a competition application. It was a real joy to guide this young artist to the demanding process of recording. I was so delighted to be part of this process and I want to share with you what brought her to that state.

First: This young singer was crystal clear with what she wanted to create, and the result was overwhelmingly good. She took some decisions months before at home for her studies and for the work together with me and her pianists.
Second: She eliminated a lot of excuses like: I have no time, I am not gifted enough, I am too old, It did not work out the times before, I have no money, I have family obligations, etc.
(If you stick with these excuses you are not concentrating on achieving your biggest goal to be an opera singer on stage. You are stuck in the wish universe. The truth is, if you are hanging around with only the wish to be an opera singer, it does not have enough energy to really reach your goal to actually be an opera singer😒)
Third: Get specific! 💪 Clarity gives you the focus to concentrate on your next step towards your goals. Then take action every day towards your accomplishment to actually being a successful singer on stage.

What can you do today to work on your exciting goal?

With appreciation and encouragement,
Vera
Founder of international Institut Stimmkunst, dramatic soprano
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Franz Grundheber as Wozzeck and Vera Wenkert as Marie.
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4 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Wie bereite ich mich auf Vorsingen vor / Audition preparation."

Liebe SängerInnen, während meiner Ferien habe ich gedacht, dass ja schon in 6 Wochen die neue Opernsaison startet. Deshalb gebe ich euch erste Schritte für die Vorbereitung zum Vorsingen in einem kleinen Video als Glücksbringer für die neue Saison mit.

In Bocca al Lupo,
Vera
(Dramatic Soprano and Founder of Institute Stimmkumst/Zürich)

www.stimmkunst.ch
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4 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to deal with performance anxiety."

To perform as an opera singer on a stage or in a concert is a wonderful moment in the life of a singer. Nevertheless, there are times when a singer suffers under performance anxiety. So what can you do to get out of this?

🌟 Get of the self-doubt train!! 🚂 It is helpful to cultivate an honest and positive inner self-talk. Perhaps you could write a journal full of all your successes!
🌟 Connect with your own needs and desires, and assess the true value of what you provide with your singing.
🌟 Know your music and your singing technique so well that there is no question for you anymore in dealing with your performance pieces.
🌟 Have a positive approach to the world - be convinced that you are acknowledged supported and appreciated from the world around you.
🌟 Nurture your independence muscle 💪 This means that you nurture the capacity to be an authentic personality and that you are convinced that you have the ability to work through challenges.
🌟 Work with visualization. Visualize your performance, see yourself singing with ease and having great success. See your audience or the audition panel delighted with your performance👏👏

There are many audiobooks or mental trainers who might be a help in this process. From my own experience and my experience with the singers who are working with me in my Mentorship Program, I know that the secret🔑 is to find a healthy, happy and supportive inner self-talk. It takes time and dedication to change habits which are not nurturing ourselves. So again, there is no quick fix in overcoming performance anxiety. It might take a couple of weeks or more. Mental Trainers are often say it takes 21 days to install a new habit or perspective. My opinion is as usual that every person is individual therefore it might take shorter or longer time depending on who you are. Meditation on a daily basis is an effective way to train to calm down the thoughts, nerves and the breathing. 🧘‍♀️

Good News: Summer vacation is the perfect time to work with your deeper truth statements and to cultivate a good believe system about yourself. Set a starter intention today.

All the Best
Vera
Dramatic Soprano and Founder of Institute Stimmkunst: www.stimmkunst.ch

Vera Wenkert as Madeleine - Andrea Chenier
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4 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Having the courage to continue to develop your voice."

Sometimes singers enter my voice studio with enormous potential, but for any reason have not found the right voice training for their special needs. When they were young they did not have the courage to say NO to a teacher or university which cannot nurture their individual voice or persona. They stay year for year in a music environment where they feel they do not fit in, but also feel they have to fit in. What happens sooner or later is they loose self confidence and have more vocal troubles. They have jumped on what I call the "Self Doubt Train“🚂.

Time flies by and instead of blossoming, these singers do not feel the joy anymore they have had when they once started out. As for any artist it is important to grow and to out pour your emotions in the craft of the art. For a singer it means singing. As a singer you have to work and explore without fear of failure in creative play, with freedom. I think it is crucial to feel nurtured as a singer and to have the freedom to work with words and music, singer and actor, your voice and your energy flow etc.
The minute you suffer in your educational institution you stop your development.

I want to encourage you beautiful singers that you become attentive with yourself and that you have the courage to take action. Most of the time, it is not YOU who is wrong, maybe just in the wrong vocal partnership. Have the courage to continue to develop your voice.

With appreciation
Vera
Voice teacher, dramatic soprano and Founder of Institut Stimmkunst/Zürich

For more advice you are welcome to click the link below:

www.stimmkunst.ch
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4 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Someone who inspires you"

Today Charlotte Whittle, Dramatic Soprano, who has studied with me for the last couple of years and whom is now starting her first steps into a career, tells you about her experience as a singing student. The stage is yours Charlotte!

"I remember the first day I met Vera. Walking through the doors of her studio and singing Contessa's aria "Porgi Amor." I was nervous and did not know what to expect, my throat was tight and I had no breath support whatsoever, when she finally looked at me and said: "Charlotte, you are not a Lyric Soprano, you are a Dramatic Soprano." These words I will never forget. I cried with relief knowing I had finally found a teacher, besides my musical coach George Gordon, who knew what my real voice type is. So how did I get from that point to present day? Well, at home in Scotland I took on three jobs to enable me to come to Zürich every month (you can imagine I was exhausted, but this lifestlye is not uncommon for a Musician when you want to achieve your dreams.) I worked and studied at home, preparing for my monthly Swiss trips, and when I arrived in Zürich I stayed at the cheapest BnB and ate the smallest meals, all so I could afford more coachings, voice lessons and German lessons. I have worked so intensively with Vera over these years with her fabulous team of coaches at the Institute Stimmkunst to sculpt my voice into it's fullest potential. It has taken a lot of work and dedication from both sides and I really honour the process I went through to get me to the point now in my life in which I am being offered jobs. It feels incredible to be able to fly into these singing jobs with a freedom that comes with the vocal technique that Vera teaches, and also with the knowing that I am singing with the whole of me - body and soul aligned - and that I can trust this. After all the ups and downs, struggles and rollercoaster ride of my past years of singing without proper technique in the wrong vocal Fach, and all the hard work it took to get here, I'm so happy to be at the point where I'm able to sing roles like Sieglinde, Elisabeth, Leonora etc. In those times of working three jobs, it was my faith that kept me going and strong belief that I'm meant to sing in this life, and I simply cannot do anything else - life wouldn't make sense. Thankfully all this hard work paid off and this summer I'm excited to be performing with the Director of Music for Dundee University a variety of Art Songs and with Phil Jupitus at the Largo Arts Festival. I'm grateful to be returning to the Byre Theatre, and later this year singing Mozart's Donna Elvira and Elettra with orchestra ✨
To all you young singers out there, be brave enough to follow your heart and listen to your voice. Find what feels good, but mostly work your little socks off! Life will reward you ❤️"

Photo: Charlotte Whittle as Sieglinde (Die Walküre) in the Institut Stimmkunst June Concert 2019.
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5 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

Special good wishes to Marina Poša. Brava, brava for your development here in Zurich! Toi, toi, toi for your next engagements and your One-Woman-Show in Australia.

Vera 💕
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5 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Anything can happen if you let it." Mary Poppins

Thank you to Gewerbezeitung and the Mayor of Oberengstringen for the brilliant article covering the recent concert of the Institut Stimmkunst.

Bravi tutti! 👏
Vera
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5 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

Dear beautiful young singers,

CONGRATULATIONS

Your semester at your music academy or theatre season is coming to an end. You made it! You should be proud of all your achievements. Bravo 👏 At this point you may be thinking about what is the absolute best thing you can do for your next step towards a singing career, to be ready to audition in autumn and shine in your future engagements at the Opera House? After your big year I recommend resting for a week or ten days to prepare your arias, your mindset and nerves etc. Once these pillars are in place you will be fresh and full of excitement for your next step!

I also want to encourage each of you to find an instructor with whom you feel easy in communication with and accepted by him/her. Someone who can healthily guide you.
I remember when I was a vocal student that it took me a while to sort through all the various options out there to find the right instructors and courses that would provide me with support for me and my special needs.

Inhale, exhale....🧘🏻‍♀️

Ask yourself very honestly:
Do I need a couple of individual lessons?
Do I want to take part in a summer workshop or masterclass?
Do I feel good in a public masterclass or in a closed one?

Please take time to reflect on these topics to help guide you with your next steps.
YOU are the captain of your singing path.
🌟🌟🌟
I love seeing my students grow in the singing lessons & masterclasses that I give. I give masterclasses & workshops not open to the public because I am a strong believer that it is easier to solve certain topics in a protected environment. If you are curious to see how I work, take a look at my website to see what is going on in my studio:

www.stimmkunst.ch

🌟🌟🌟

QUESTION TIME
I have been writing my weekly nuggets now for two years. I started doing these because I wanted to give you all a gift, show my passion for singing and helping young singers. I hope you enjoy my nuggets and take whatever it is that you need from them. So today is our anniversary together! 🥳

For our special “weekly nugget” anniversary, I would like to do a question time for you all today. So if you have any questions regarding singing or performance issues you might be having, feel free to comment on here or send me pm today. I would love to hear from you!

Best wishes from my heart,
Vera

*Photo with Charlotte Whittle and Aaron Sands rehearsing Die Walküre. Here we are talking about how colleagues can support each other's singing whilst on stage together.
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5 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

I am so excited to be welcoming singers from Switzerland, Nothern Ireland, Scotland and Australia, amongst others to Zürich this week!

I'm looking forward to working with these singers on their artistic goals throughout the week, culminating in a concert on Saturday 15th June. Super happy to have pianists Nadanai Laohakunakorn and Thomas Barthel (Zürich Opera House) joining us!

We would love to see you there!

www.eventfrog.ch
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6 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

Confusion of the term "Singing in the Mask"

Hello beautiful Singers,
I am sure we all have heard the term "singing in the Mask." I think that this expression causes a lot of confusion. Right?

So what does it mean? Below is a short overview of what's happening...

...When you have an excellent "Stimmsitz“ it means you have learned, after a healthy onset, to direct the sound up and behind the uvular. You can feel after mastering a healthy vocal technique that your sound travels free through the nasopharynx and into the head resonance chambers. There you feel vibrations in your face. All this happens on the breath support.

Fazit: Singing in the Mask is the result of an excellent vocal onset, where the sound can travel free and easy through all resonance chambers, and as a result you feel it also vibrating in the Mask. When you listen for example to Birgit Nilsson "Dich teure Halle" or to Hans Hotter "Ständchen" you can hear this free ringing and floating sound.

I wish you all the best on your path to find your free ringing and floating sound. Musical magic then happens to you and your audience.

All the Best
Vera
Dramatic soprano, voice teacher and founder of International Institut Stimmkunst/Zürich

www.stimmkunst.ch
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6 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Hello Dramatic Singers!🌟

I have some exciting news to share with you this month!

A dramatic soprano myself with immense career experience, I understand completely that we are often looking for a teacher/coach who understands our special needs, and who boosts our development. That's why in today’s post I love to introduce you to my special Training and Mentorship Programme for dramatic voices in individual lessons or Masterclasses.

The series of Masterclasses I have created and installed whith Ann Beckmann (acclaimed coach for R. Strauss and R. Wagner Repertoire). From now on it is a basic Module in the training program of the International Institut Stimmkunst.

You will feel totally at ease with all your topics you want to work, if it is either vocal or musical tasks. You can be sure you are in the best hands working with us and in a small group of singers in a Masterclass without listeners.

For more information visit my website: www.stimmkunst.ch or write an email: Vera.wenkert@stimmkunst.ch

Warmest wishes
Vera
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6 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Sing Fresh and Focused"

Many of you have asked me what my daily routine looks like that has kept my voice so fresh and young even after my long stage career in the heavy dramatic Fach. So I write some aspects down for you:

1) Every morning instead of connecting with the world outside I first connect with myself within. My routine is a 15 min meditation, which I've been doing for years and years. It is my routine to connect with my inner self. I find peace and concentration doing so. (It is so important for a singer that you are able to concentrate.)

2) For 25 years I have been vocalising my voice in a very healthy and smooth way. I do this in the morning for 25 min and then I work on repertoire. Again it is also a wonderful tool to stay in good vocal shape by having a routine in warming up the voice.

3) I have a very healthy food plan, which is also vital!

In the afternoon I teach vocal technique as well as coaching singers in my mentorship program at my Institut Stimmkunst. I have choosen a joyful and nurturing life, where I am able to nurture with wisdom and passion not only in my life, but lives of so many professional singers and voice students.

Sometimes professional singers are entering my studio when they have free time between engagements to study a part or to take care of their voices after singing a heavy part. This is sometimes a difficult time for you singers. I want to encourage you to focus on what you have already achieved in your singing career.
In times which were demanding in my singing career on stage, for example singing Elizabeth and Venus in the same Tannhäuser production, I was so grateful that I have had the honor and the opportunity to fulfill my life dream day by day: TO BE ON STAGE AND SINGING.

My advice is to train your voice, your body, your mind and soul. You are the leader of your Kingdom or Queendom.

Wishing you all the Best
Vera
Dramatic soprano and Voice Teacher
Institut Stimmkunst/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch
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6 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to study a dramatic part"

First of all you need time to delve into the score and let it sink into your system. The first step is to work in the complete technical control of your voice and body. Second step is to explore the music and orchestration and to sing in this way that you are not carried away by this huge incredible orchestral sound. Your voice has always to soar over the orchestra effortlessly . You need a lot of physical stamina and concentration to sing this dramatic repertoire.
Last week a soprano studied with me the role of Lady Macbeth, Verdi. Having sung this role myself in many performances I know how demanding this role is in any aspect. The singer has to sing coloratura, whispering sounds etc. When Lady Macbeth enters the stage with "Vieni affretta" and the Cabaletta, you as the singer have to establish your character.

Like in all dramatic repertoire, to be able to sing all the notes is just the beginning of the journey into the wonderful working process of making a role yours. Out of my career and experience with this heavy repertoire I would, at least, suggest to plan of at least 6 months for learning a dramatic role. I know that singers sometimes get the offer last minute. This is a difficult situation. My suggestion: See your voice teacher and a coach you trust and ask if you could manage to learn this part in a couple of weeks. A better choice for all the weeks you are not in a contract, instead of getting frustrated sit down and learn Opera roles of your vocal fach.
Enjoy the music 🎶.

Your long term goal with every dramatic part should be that you sing it near-perfectly and know the music like your heartbeat. Then you have no fear concerning whether you can come through the performance. Another long term goal is to develop a strong personality on stage. Then you are expressive etc.

I always emphasize that it is essential to have enough experience before tackling those big dramatic roles and to have a voice teacher and music coach working with you with whom you are being nurtured by.

With appreciation
Vera
Dramatic Soprano, Voice teacher and Founder of international Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
Photo: Vera Wenkert as Lady Macbeth
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7 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

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7 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to get to the opening night with a fresh voice."

Sometimes opera professionals singing demanding big roles on prestigious stages call me and schedule last minute "Rescue Lessons". They feel their voice has become extremely tired and thin during the Regieproben Process, and now Orchestra rehearsals are starting and they do not feel in shape. In these lessons I use specific exercises to help the singer to get back to good health. 🎶🎶
I know exactly from my own opera career how demanding the rehearsal process sometimes can be. Therefore it is important to build up stamina and to have the knowledge of how to keep the voice fresh.

Most of the time in my opera career I was single cast. That means singing all rehearsals in the morning of one opera (e.g Abigaille, Nabucco) and in the evening performing another opera (e.g Butterfly/Madama Butterfly) and in the afternoon learning the future opera: Turandot. I am so grateful for all the experience and knowledge I got from these years of my career and it is my passion to pass it onto you young colleagues.

My advice is: learn to mark. If you cannot mark properly then put the high notes an octave down. Decide for yourself in which Regieprobe you sing out and in which you mark. In big difficult ensembles it is cooperative if you sing out or on a vocal“ bad hair day“ at least sing out your entries. (It is important that you are 100 % rhythmic when marking) It is also important to sing out the orchestra rehearsals.

Wishing you a Happy Easter 💞

In bocca al lupo,
Vera
Dramatic soprano/Voice teacher
Founder of the International Institut Stimmkunst/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Enjoying some private time after Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos) rehearsals.
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8 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Feedback"

As a singer we need feedback, but it is difficult to get an objective feedback and to put it in the right context for ourselves.

👌Tip number one is:
Try to get constructive criticism from people who understand the issues and the profession.
For example, your voice teacher has to correct your vocal technique and your pianist has to correct musical nuances. (Please note that a Theater Director or a conductor might not offer you substantial feedback after an audition. His time is limited and his job is just to find a singer for this specific role.)

There are always colleagues who have the tendency to give feedback so...
👌Tip number two is:
Take an inner step back and ask yourself: "What is the underlying motivation why this colleague is commenting on my performance?" A healthy on the spot reaction is to say thank you and a short sentence like "I will think about it“. Please try not to explain yourself. A colleague is a colleague!

It takes time, thought and concentration to give a thoughtful and neutral Feedback. When I was in the first year of my opera career I was young and insecure, and I received contradicting feedback. It took me a while until I understood that they are just opinions, often from people who are in the same boat or have no career, or what I call "pretending to be more then they are." I remember my first production as a very young Tosca and my Scarpia was the famous Franz Grundheber. I was on one hand so overwhelmed singing an opening night of Tosca with this great singer, and on the other hand I understood very quickly that he was a nobleman only concentrating on his art and singing. Instead of giving his opinion he was in peace and concentration with himself, and I felt then that I have the time, the space and the atmosphere to grow into my interpretation of Tosca. It was a very special opening night for me and one of these rare performances where you feel the God of the Singing Heaven has just put a magic glow on you 🌟
My advice is : Do not give unsolicited criticism and do not listen to unsolicited criticism. You never know in which state of development the singer is or what tasks he or she is facing in the career.

Hopefully you have trustworthy sources in your life, like a mentor, your voice teacher, your number one coach, people who have helped to guide you through the varied up and downs of your singing education and career. You have a bond of trust and honesty created between you and these handful of people, and this is unpayable in the life of a Singer. Until today I am thankful and blessed that I have my mentors David L. Jones, Fiedrich Gürtler and Thomas Barthel in my life, with whom I have trustworthy and honest relationships with for decades, and where I get substantial advice. As well, of course, all the wonderful female singers which have influenced my way, like KS Birgit Nilsson, KS Berit Lindholm and Janet Williams. These are only a few to mention here.

In this special Weekly Nugget I also want to give a THANK YOU towards all the brilliant young singers, and also the singers who are already in careers in my studio, for their dedication towards the art. As well as for their substantial honesty in the working process with me and the people around them in this profession. I am grateful for your heartfelt testimonials that are featured on my website now.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Voiceteacher and Founder of Institute Stimmkunst / Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Tosca and Franz Grundheber as Scarpia
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8 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Performing the right roles at the right time."

What does this mean for us singers?
Firstly it means that you have to connect with your inner truth. Do you have solid and secure vocal technique, musicality, plus the inner soul strength to sing this offered role? You must not just be brilliant in the famous aria, but in the entire role.

You will also encounter certain expectations from the Director, from the Conductor, from the Agent etc. and it might be possible that there is a difference between their expectations and your inner truth about the role. This is a situation which you will find on a regular basis in the Opera business. Here is an invaluable guideline for you to know, understand and follow - especially if you choose to build up a long-term singing career:

1) Consult your vocal teacher and an opera coach you trust. Discuss and sing the part through with them.
2) Listen carefully to this tiny loving inner artist voice of yours. Is it shouting out with joy and enthusiasm or is it gently warning you?
3) Become clear with what you need to be able to do to sing this role - is it a possibility to sing this role or to confess it is too early in your career? Schedule an appointment with your Director and discuss briefly and thoughtfully your point of view.
4) Remember as a singer you are a one person company and it is your obligation to take care of you and your instrument. You only have one voice in life!
5) Yes it takes self-esteem and courage to handle these situations by taking the responsibility for ourselves, but you do not want to be everybody’s "darling" - you want to be a singer who knows their craft, their possibility, and is known as a great, reliable and professional artist.

(Of course there are shorter, cosier ways on this path, but in the long run they will not pay off.)

With quality in singing, reliability in the rehearsal and performance process, professional behavior and with healthy self-assessment, you will build up a professional reputation.

Fingers crossed for your next engagements!

Warmly,
Vera Wenkert

Voiceteacher and Owner of International Institute Stimmkunst/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Abigaille in Verdi's "Nabucco".
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8 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Music and Freedom"

Every Aria or every song we sing inhabits an eternal spirit and our task as interpreter is to find and get familiar with this inherent spirit of the music piece in front of us.

As Artists we are aided by the structure of piece, the rhythm and melody etc. When you are musically educated and know your vocal craft, you might be eager to find out the layer behind this obvious structure of the music piece you are singing. After doing so, you can search for the mystic and refine the human emotions. This is the root where music nurtures you as an individual singer and then in turn you can nurture your audience through your interpretation.

I remember my debut as Ariadne of Naxos, which was in the prestigious Antikenfestspiele. Ariadne of Naxos is an Opera which works with a mix of heroic-mythology figures and with figures out of comedia Dell'Arte. I remember I studied everything about Ariadne, Theseus and I also read a lot about comedian dell'Arte. Finally, out of all of my research, I understood the harmonic changes in this psychologically demanding opera. Ariadne then became one of my favourite characters to sing on stage.

Like Schopenhauer says: "Musik ist die Welt noch einmal.“

I love to encourage you to take your favourite music piece and try to figure out the layer behind the obvious craft. Wishing you a inspiring time with your research in the music wonderland!

Vera Wenkert
Dramatic soprano
Voiceteacher and CEO of International Institute Stimmkunst/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

You can find more details about this topic in my former weekly Nugget or in my E-Book on my website.

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Ariadne (Ariadne auf Naxos - Strauss)
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8 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Sing with Heart and Soul"

Before you start to sing an aria or an art song ask yourself: what do I want to say? What is the character feeling? Singing and music without emotions is like an empty basket.

I have been a member on the board of an examination panel for young professional singers for 10 years. Out of all my experience I love to give you the advice to find the essence and the soul in each phrase you are singing. Every note you sing is important. Ask yourself what is the meaning of this phrase, what are you saying etc. The audience wants to be touched through your singing. This means to bring music to life.

Wishing you the best on your journey!
Vera
Voice teacher and Founder of international Institute Stimmkunst
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi)
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9 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Voice Disorders"

Sometimes a singer enters my studio showing signs associated with voice disorders. As a singer we are depending on a perfect voice function. I want to give you some advice to avoid unnecessary vocal problems.

There are phonatory disorders like swelling of the laryngeal tissues etc. and disorders which appear because of inappropriate use of your voice. When you use your voice in an unhealthy way, it can lead to laryngeal problems.
Sometimes a singer suffers from Acute Laryngitis after a cold. As a result, the singer feels major stress, because our life depends so much on our voice. My advice is find an excellent ENT and rest your voice until the reddening and swelling of the vocal chords is gone. I tell my vocal students go on "Silent Diva Days“. Afterwards slowly begin to get your voice back in shape.

There are of course many reasons for a voice disorder, but this has to be discussed in a different context. The voice disorder can sometimes come from too much pushing of the vocal chords during singing, and this is also result of poor vocal technique or singing in the wrong Vocal Fach. The voice sounds pressed then and has often a hissing sound. Sometimes there is an incomplete glottal closure in the Arytenoid region. Also here you will find many more reasons and roots for voice disorders.

So what to do?

First aid is to rest your voice, then find a good and responsible voice teacher who helps you with specific exercises to get back on track.
My second advice is: Do not sing heavy repertoire when your voice is not in good shape. Listen to yourself and do not let yourself become persuaded to sing "just this one time." You will be in danger if you do so.

AFFIRMATION: I use my voice wisely and economically with a healthy vocal technique.

To your greatness,
Vera Wenkert

Voice Teacher and Founder of Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photos are from my recent Masterclass with pianists Nadanai Laohakunakorn and Yulia Levin from Zürich Opera House.
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9 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟MASTERCLASS ANNOUNCEMENT IN ITALY

I am delighted to be the Guest Artist at the
Bassi Brugnatelli Singing Symposium.

This will be a wonderful, intensive course, of which I am thrilled to be a part of!

Please visit the website below for more details on the Masterclass I will be taking.
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9 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Cheery News for a Singers Life"

As long as you are certain you want to have a career as a singer my advice is: GO FOR IT!
Get in touch with your dreams and take steps now to build a profession as a singer.

I have some steps you can take, starting right now...

1). Do your very best to learn a healthy vocal technique with a responsible voice teacher.
I myself teach the Swedish-Italian School of Singing, which I have learned from David L. Jones, Birgit Nilsson, Berit Lindholm and Gloria Davy. With this technique I have sung and still sing so many dramatic repertoire.

2). Learn the Musicianship.

3). Are you attending every training opportunity? i.e coachings, Masterclasses, little performance opportunities etc.

4). Be honest with yourself. Do you feel you get the right education which you need with your instructors? If you feel you are not making progress you might take into consideration to find an instructor who might be addressing your special needs. As a singer you have to stand up for yourself in any aspect .

I will never forget what a World Famous Singer told me once. He was one of my Tannhäuser and I was Elisabeth:
"Vera, it is also a talent of a singer to find the right teachers and people to learn with."

THIS is what I wish you young singers to search and to find 🌟

To your greatness
Vera
Voice teacher, Coach and Founder of Institut Stimmkunst
www.institutstimmkunst.ch

Photo: A recent Institut Stimmkumst concert
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9 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Career Challenge"

From time to time it is important for a singer to write down her or his goal. Is there a specific role you want to sing? Is there a specific Opera House you one day want to sing? Is there something you want to stop doing? What do you want to have in the future ? I want to encourage you to write it down. When we commit to write our goals down they tend to become more "real“ for us.

Second step could be to imagine that you have achieved your goals. I did this when I was a young and studying. My daily mantra was: "I am singing Elsa, Elisabeth, Sieglinde and Isolde on stage." At this time I was a beginner, but I believed in my talent , I worked hard and was completely dedicated to my voice and music. It was a huge part of my every day existence that I stayed focused on doing my work and being hours in a practice room and making the choices that would make my mantra reality. As a result, I have been fortunate to sing all this wonderful Wagnerian female characters on stage!

So, what are your goals as a singer?
Dig into your next step. Write down your plan and keep focused. Also, find teachers and coaches who care about you and keep you on a realistic track.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Elisabeth, Tannhäuser
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10 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

!Attention Young Singers!

"Appreciation of your Performances."

Dear Young Singers,

I love to encourage you to train your authentic confidence and to worship your singing also when it comes to opportunities where you are engaged for little concerts or other events to sing. You may want to express your creativity and show your artistry. You want to perform and sing, but this is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin is that you have something special and valuable to offer with YOUR SINGING and you have to start to train to make your living out of this wonderful passion and talent.

A young singer asked me if I can write a Weekly Nugget about the topic that also Vocal students are entitled to an Honorar (Fee) when they perform. My answer is: YES! In my opinion you beautiful young singers should ask for a Performance honorar even when it is just a small appreciation honorar. I know from my own experience when I was a young singer that people think you just sing for a marriage etc. and that you do it for free. I did it for free until life showed me that I am responsible for my livelihood and that I have to cultivate a living where I can nurture myself, my art and be a partner in growth - oriented relationships. (As an artist you also have to pay your rent and food etc.)

Your Singing is a Profession.

You are studying hours and hours in a practice room, you spend money on vocal training and coachings with pianists. So take the secret key and empower yourself next time when you get a performance request. From your inner place of self love and appreciation of your unique talent say: "Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I would love to perform for you. My Honorar is...."

Of course there might be occasions where you do not want to take an Honorar, but then make this decision with clearity in your heart and mind. This decision then comes from an inner commitment to respect yourself and not from weakness.

AFFIRMATION: I encourage myself to take my engagements out of an inner place of alignment with my values and respect to the Performance offer.

To encourage you, you see me as Tosca singing Vissi d‘Arte 💞

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of International Institut Stimmkunst. www.institutstimmkunst.ch
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10 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to Work with Stage Directors"

A young singer feels like a champion when she or he has got the first desired engagement at the Opera House. Bravo 👏

On top of all musical work, the collaboration with the stage director begins. Under the guidance of the stage director you go through the whole process of how to build and portray your opera character on stage.

Out of my long career experience I love to give you some advice so that you step out of the former role of a student into the shoes of a professional singer...

... It is very wise that you have a vocal and dramatic approach to your role before entering the theater rehearsal process. I always found it fascinating to dive into the life of my opera characters. I remember, when I sang my first Fidelio Leonore I was so prepared vocally and musically that I could sing this very demanding part with pure controlled lines like strings in the orchestra. This is how you have to sing it because it is a very technically demanding role vocally. (Leonora’s character is extreme as she would do nearly everything to find and rescue her husband.)

It is a demanding task in a singers life to build up the psychological, vocal and body stamina to serve the music and portray the character. Most of the time stage directors are open towards thoughtful ideas a singer brings to a rehearsal process. There might be times when it opens a discussion and you have to compromise with the stage directors idea. Sometimes stage directors have their own concept in mind how it has to be and they want to have the staging exactly as they think. Out of my experience even if you have then to do like they insist you do, you also have the freedom to fill your character with your emotions and thoughts.

👍Again my advice is be prepared and be faithful with the character you sing and perform.

There might be also situations where you feel inside yourself a chrystal clear NO to an order or idea of a stage direct, for example a nude scene. There are opera characters where this request can be asked of you. A wise approach is to ask for a couple of hours to think about it. If you feel deep in your heart you do not want to do this, I want to encourage you to be honest with yourself and empower yourself to say NO in a kind and strong way full of self-esteem and acknowledgement for your inner boundaries. The cost might be that you then loose this engagement. However, my opinion is that in the long run you can only make a satisfying career if you live in your wisdom for yourself, your brilliance and your boundaries. If you have no problem to be nude on stage then just do it, but even then I want to encourage you to keep your dignity and privacy before and after your nude scene, then you will impress the conductor and the stage director.

🌟AFFIRMATION: I am mindful in preparing my roles and faithful towards my characters🌟

If you are looking for support in becoming ready for stage you are welcome to visit my website: www.stimmkunst.ch

Vera Wenkert
Founder of the International Institut Stimmkunst, Zürich

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Katya Kabanova
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10 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to take care of your voice in a coaching session."

It might be a demanding task for young singers to get through a coaching session with a pianist whilst keeping the voice unstrained.
Number One definitely is to keep in mind that it is your responsibility to take care of your voice.

I know from my own experience as a freshman in the opera and theater business how intimidating it can be when one is confronted with professional opera pianists. As a matter of fact, coaches are so delighted to help us singers on our way to conquer the role or just to learn an aria! Most pianists in Opera Houses know a lot about the music and what would be the most wonderful sound of this particular word or phrase etc. They are full of ideas and advice regarding the musical phrasing, tempo etc, and it is more or less easy for the singer to take the advice and perform with it.

Often coaches want to help to correct an unpolished sound or other sound issues. Most of the time this is problematic because they are not voice teachers. They have good ears and intentions, but when they give sound or vocal corrections (I want to emphasize here) it is essential that you as a singer translate it in the vocal technique you have and then try to correct it in the session. If you feel that you unfortunately cannot solve it in this coaching session, be so kind to yourself and stand up for yourself. Also in this way you can respect the time of the pianist and tell him or her that you want to take the time to solve it by yourself or with your voice teacher. Especially young dramatic voices have to take good care of themselves. (Of course there are also coaches who have the knowledge of the voice to work on it a little, but they are not easy to find.)

Again there is nobody else responsible for your voice then the singer himself.

Sometimes it is not easy to stand up for oneself, to take this huge responsibility and to maybe confess things like:
"This does not feel right for me or makes my voice tired."
"This coaching is too much for me on top of my rehearsal schedules and performance schedules which are very tight at the moment."

💡If you do not feel well, mark in a coaching session, speak the lines in rhythm etc 💡

AFFIRMATION: I take responsibility for my voice in every coaching session, in every rehearsal and in every performance.

Good luck! Rise and Shine!

Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of "International Institut Stimmkunst" Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

*Vera Wenkert in Tannhäuser as Elisabeth during Elisabeth's Prayer*
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10 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to work with a Conductor"

For young singers it might be challenging to work through the first orchestra rehearsal processs with the assistant conductor and the principle conductor of the opera.

💡Here is the good news: There are so many supportive hints by the Composer in the Opera Score

When you follow the advice given by the composer, and your vocal technique is healthy and brilliant, you feel the ground beat in your body, then magic can happen between the orchestra and you! The conductor will guide you with love for the music and passion for the art.

Make sure you are able to sing at the orchestra rehearsal with full voice. Sometimes if the schedule is tight, you can discuss with the conductor to mark one rehearsal, especially when you have to sing a heavy big part or leading role. Later on in your career when you are a more experienced artist you might be able to weave your own interpretation ideas with the composers ideas too.

Always remember that to be an opera singer does not mean to shine through your ego, it means to serve the music with your unique beautiful soul and artistry. I remember in most of my big dramatic roles I was feeling so comfy in this sound bubble created by these wonderful instruments around me, that I was totally absorbed in this music and character I was singing. Then Opera is in this moment is a better world because of this incredible music.

🌟My advice is: Fall in love with the music (not only with your melody) then most conductors will be by your side🌟

You will find more details about the good spirit we have to nurture and shout out in the opera and music business in my e book: "Methode Stimmkunst." You can order it through my website: www.stimmkunst.ch

To your greatness
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of "International Institute Stimmkunst" Zürich

Photo: Vera Wenkert sings "Madama Butterfly", one of her favourite roles.
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10 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟I am delighted to announce the Masterclass for Dramatic Voices. Please see the details below for more information. Only 6 places left!🌟 ... See MoreSee Less

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11 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Care of Knowledge to be a Shining Opera Singer"

Out of my experience as a dramatic soprano, having sung more than 30 major roles on various opera stages, it is my passion to give my knowledge and skills to young artists and aspiring talents.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Since 2012 I have been conducting Opera Workshops and Masterclass courses with talented young opera artists and voice students. In these workshops and courses participants hone their performance skills in recitative, auditions and role preparation.

Every fact of a singer's career is addressed by me and my professional team of opera accompanists and art song coaches from Opera House Zürich.

I help with audition preparation, dramatic interpretation, musicianship, acting skills, healthy vocal technique plus how to overcome stage anxiety.

In private lessons, I offer the healthy vocal technique based on the Swedish-Italian School of Singing, the technique that Kirsten Flagstadt and Birgit Nilsson sang with.

In private coachings I work out with you individually how to find your unique path in the music world and in the Opera business.

*For further information about the upcoming Masterclasses and Workshops in 2019 please visit my website: www.stimmkunst.ch*

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of International Institut Stimmkunst in Zürich / Switzerland
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Lady Macbeth
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11 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Cool down after a Performance"

Out of my long stage experience I want to encourage you young singers to install the habit of cooling down the voice after a performance. Like in the sports world, singers also use muscles to sing. In my opinion it is not only important to exercise the voice everyday but also to cool it down after a long performance or recital.

You can use the "u“ vowel to do so only in the middle register of your voice. For example you start with quinte third tonica or you go down a five tone scale. When you sing it softly abd with your support, the vocal chords return to freedom. It just takes 5-10 minutes to do so, but the benefit is a healthy relaxation of the voice. Remember treat your voice like your best friend and acknowledge and take care of its needs.

There is another benefit of this procedure: You will build up a sensitive relationship with your voice, knowing if you have sung in the right way through your performance.
The voice will show you afterwards, if it is too tired, you definitely pushed too much, gave too much volume etc. There can be several reasons for this, but now you know you have to find out. Knowing how to keep your voice healthy and fresh is crucially important for a singers life and career.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of International Institut Stimmkunst/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.de
www.vera-wenkert.com
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11 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Take a mini vacation from the World"

Dear Singers,
I am down with an intensive cold and I have to say YES to a time of rest, and to obey the rules of nature. This is my advice also for you dear singers when you are ill. I look forward to writing a wonderful Weekly Nugget next week.

AFFIRMATION: I take good care of myself ❤️

All the Best,
Vera Wenkert

Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie/Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de
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12 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Diction in Opera"

For many singers it is a challenge to learn and sing contemporary music or even music of composers, who nowadays are not "contemporary" anymore i.e A. Berg and A. Schoenberg. Instead of being overwhelmed by the first look of the score, take it as an interesting walk into a foreign landscape and be curious.
Alban Berg's "Wozzeck" for example has clear patterns to follow, which you have to do to make it work for you. In "Wozzeck" the Singer has to find an honest way of expressing all of the music, plus diction in this very demanding opera. Every diction and declamation has to be articulated on the airflow and routed in a good support system. There is no character in the opera who does not get out of ones depth. The instructions of Berg are crystal clear and the singer has to follow them.

My advice is: read the whole opera. Then in an opera like "Wozzeck" first speak the text until the text and the proper articulation is your first nature. Second, learn the music and sing the text in a bel canto way, phrasing and articulating the words. This is an important step so that the voice finds, what I call the "HEALTHY SINGING PATH".
Afterwards work phrase by phrase the words and music together which will bring you to the next step of expressing the emotion in the music.

I want to emphasize here that out of my experience, the healthiest way for every study period is to first work the basics of your role and then later carefully look at what are the emotions of the character so you can dive deeper and deeper into them.

💡ATTENTION: Do not take emotional risks in these kind of operas. If you are not yet able to handle them with your vocal technique and musicality, find a way which fits you now in this moment of your development or career.

✨AFFIRMATION: I take the time and spirit to explore difficult music.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich
Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie, Martin Kunz
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de
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12 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Working with Jaw Tension"

I remember I worked with a professional Mezzosopran on the "Hexe" in Humperdinck's "Hänsel und Gretel" who was having her opening night in less then 5 days. Whilst working on the whole role with her, I realised that her jaw was becoming tighter and tighter as a result of all the quick diction and musical leaps in the part. I know stage directors and conductors often ask for a lot of diction and expression, but you have to know how to do it without straining the vocal chords and without building up too much tension in the whole vocal production and support system.

What to do?

For example, I worked with her the "Hexenbann" without words and let her do the whole magic spell on "ja ja ja". This exercise frees the jaw. We also did light and easy staccato exercises (tonica, third, quinte, third, tonica) and then legato the same.

We singers always have to remember that the jaw should be just relaxed in an open position, slightly back and in most cases not forward. (Maybe there are anatomical exceptions.) Then the breathing gets deeper into the body naturally and the support system starts to work. When a tight jaw is doing the job it is very difficult to connect the voice to the healthy body support.

With the Mezzosopran the next step was to solve the diction. It is vital that the vowel and the consonants have to be on the airflow. We worked it very slowly with patience and joy and finally the "Hexe" was really magic ✨

💡TIP: From my own experience it is helpful to gently move the jaw up and down to the right and left. If the jaw is too tight, you might have difficulties to do these gentle movements. If so, you can gently and tenderly massage the muscles around your jaw, the muscles under your chin with your thumb and your index finger. ATTENTION: never massage the area directly around the larynx.

AFFIRMATION: I find a solution for all the technical issues I am solving.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of Institut Stimmkunst / Zürich
Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie/ Martin Kunz
www.vera-wenkert.de
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Sieglinde
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12 months ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟 SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT 🌟

UNLEASH THE SINGER/ACTOR WITHIN YOU

In 6 modules – which take place on a Saturday once a month – you will learn to fully express your inner need to portray a character, interpret an aria or song together with a healthy vocal production. In this professional training you will evolve your inner artist through:

- Methode StimmKunst
- Individualized attention
- Authentic foundational training

You will learn with solid handcraft to express your artistic desire on stage. All things we want to create or to interpret in an opera comes from the heart and from a deeper individual truth. With various exercises combining improvisation with self discovery the singer grows into a truthfully unique and authentic singer/actor.

🌟Instructor: Vera Wenkert, Founder and
Leader of Institut StimmKunst

🌟Teaching languages: German and English.

🌟Starting Date: February 16th 2019

🌟Duration: 10am – 2pm (Participants have to
stay the whole time.)

🌟Location: Institut StimmKunst,
Albisriederstr. 164, CH-8003 Zürich

🌟Application: In order to work effectively and
individually with every singer, I can accept
only 8 singers in this class. These singers
are the only participants and passive
participation is not possible. Please write an
email to: vera.wenkert@gmail.com

For more information please visit the website of Institut Stimmkunst as written below.

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of Institut Stimmkunst / Zürich
www.vera-wenkert.de
www.stimmkunst.ch
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1 years ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Don’t fall into the trap of jealousy and envy!"

Last week a singer wrote to me a request to write about jealousy and envy. She has had an outstanding success with a performance, but she was confronted with the behaviour of jealousy. Unfortunatly in every profession we are confronted with these reactions. Of course it especially hurts when you are an artist as you open your heart and soul in a performance. I would love to dedicate this weekly nugget towards all the aritsts who are exposing themselves with their artistry. Congratulations and appreciate yourself 🌟 Bravo! 🌟

Now there are also times in every artists life where one has to cope with difficulties or what I call "desert periods". In these periods it might be difficult to say a honest compliment to the success of a collegue. Why is it like this?

Often it is that we emotionally interpret someone else’s success as a judgment against our own lack of success. Sometimes the thoughts of artists go: "When he/she succeeds, it means I have failed." We interpret it as a reflection on ourselves: "Why do they get to enjoy success? Am I not worthy of the same success? Why do they get to have something that I don’t?"

Many believe that jealousy or envy are emotions that concern other people. In fact, they are all about us. Envy and jealousy come from our insecurities, anxiety, and fears.
When all you do is compare yourself to other people, or at least to the image you have built of them – which is often not based in reality, you can’t focus on being present and making art. To create art requires introspection and self-connection, and when you feel jealous or envious, you are about to loose your true self.

So, what to do if you feel envious?
Ask yourself “WHAT is my jealousy telling me about myself?" Instead of asking the "WHY" questions. You will see what the underlying answers can tell you.

AFFIRMATION: I concentrate on myself with dedication and joy. On my unique artist path I am evolving my unique success 💞

With encouragement
Vera Wenkert
Founder and Owner of Institut Stimmkunst/ Zürich, Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie, Martin Kunz
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de
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1 years ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"Working with the airflow"

I remember when I worked with a dramatic soprano on Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung. (In my opinion to sing this Brünnhilde is the most challenging of the three Brünnhildes.)
We worked the whole part and I cannot emphasise enough that to get through this big emotional and technically demanding role, the singer has to know crystal clear what to do technically. I tried to convince her that she just has to think of the pitch and to trust that the airflow does the work with the open throat, that the fexible support system is working and supporting the vocal production. 👍 She is a very fine singer, but when nerves or a little stage fright comes in, anxiety habits sneak in and she locks the ribcage and stops the breathflow. So, in our lessons we worked a lot with exercises to free the diaphragm and to unlock the jaw. As a result she finally she got rid of the increasing subglottal pressure and her big beautiful sound came effortlessly out of her mouth. It was pure joy to hear her Brünnhilde ❤️
A word of advice from my experience on stage: Never give 100% of your voice. Sing with 80% only. Then you will sail safer through your entire career.

AFFIRMATION: Healthy singing is singing on the airflow and not trying to make a big sound with muscle strength.

All the best,
Vera Wenkert

Founder and owner of Institut StimmKunst / Zürich
Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie

www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-Wenkert.de

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Maddalena Di Coigny, Andrea Chenier, U. Giordano
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1 years ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

"How to find the right voice teacher for you."

The right voice teacher is a person who can build up not only a healthy vocal technique with you, but empowers you to fully express your vocal gifts. So, how do find out if this particular teacher is the right one for you?
In my opinion it makes no sense just to book an expensive audition lesson with a possible future voice teacher because the teacher must see you in the working process first, and you yourself must get a good sense of how the teacher's approach towards your voice is. This is the reason why I always schedule an hour of real work with a possible singer. Sometimes professionals come to me and they want to do a Fachwechsel (voice change) and in this case it is essential that the singer takes his or her time to work with the teacher and trust in the process with the teacher. Again, there is no magic pill in the singing universe.

In my long stage career and out of my extensive teaching experience I can say that if you are a different vocal Fach than what you previously thought, then your current teacher with good ears and knowledge will hear it and guide you through the process.You might be super lucky if the teacher also is a wonderful musician, a healthy personality and a generous character. I have had wonderful teachers and mentors like Friedrich Gürtler and David L. Jones, and until today I know if I need any advice I can contact them. I feel so grateful for these Mentors 💕

How do you recognize a healthy character in the teaching community?
- Teacher nurtures your unique talent
- They give you explanations and healthy vocal exercises for your voice
- Empowers you to become independent
- Is honest with you and can give you heartfelt compliments for the progress you achieve
- Is not moody/arrogant
- A healthy teacher nurtures you and does not feel the need to make himself big and important on the back of the student
- Has good ears and knows the music repertoire
- Treats the student with respect and attentiveness

These are only a few aspects but there are of course many more.

AFFIRMATION: In my life I find the right voice teacher who is attentive, kind and appreciates me. I enter a field of Life responding to me.

Best Wishes,
Vera Wenkert
Founder of Institut Stimmkunst
Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie
www.stimmkunst.ch
www.vera-wenkert.de
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1 years ago

Institut StimmKunst

🌟Weekly Nugget🌟

Create a Culture of Mastership

Sometimes singers come to me and they are in a super doubtful state of mind about themselves. Often there has been an influence from outside either positive or negative. I am always wondering why young singers or young professionals give their power away so easily and let somebody judge them even when they may not know this person, or this person is just an acquaintance. Again I want to emphasize, you must take 100% responsibility for yourself.

As an artist you have to be a powerful human being, grounded in yourself, but with room for your inner vulnerability and imperfections. This will help you grow step by step on your way to the profession and then of course in the profession.

Affirmation: I hold my inner compass⭐️

Safe travels in the Universe of wonderful music and art 💖

Vera Wenkert
Owner and Founder of Institut Stimmkunst / Zürich
www.stimmkunst.ch

Photo: Thomas Barthel (Zürich Opera House) and Vera Wenkert performing in Switzerland.
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