The Joy of Singing

Dear beautiful singers,
Often singers are interested in voice lessons and they ask me if they can listen to a vocal lesson of a singing student of mine. Principally out of different reasons I do not offer this. To me, a voice lesson is very personal and intensive work. I am setting a high value on mindfulness in my Institute and this setting I want to protect. However I would love to help you and to give you the opportunity to meet me and to sing with me in a sort open “Singing class”. There you will have the opportunity to work with me for 15 min on an aria or art song in a comfortable atmosphere. Then, we can discuss together about what is the best decision for your singing future.

There will be a pianist to accompany you. Please bring two copies of your score with you one for me and one for the pianist. Please write an email on my website to register.

I am looking forward to meeting you!
Vera

Special Announcement!
“Singing class“
7th May 2019 4pm to 6pm
Location: Institute Stimmkunst in Atelier für Kunst und Philosophie
Albisriederstr 164, CH-8003 Zürich
Active participants are possible 8, no passive participation
Price : 35 CHF

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, Friedrich 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

 

Photo: Vera Wenkert as Tosca and Franz Grundheber as Scarpia

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

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

Power Practice

Dear Singers, last week I prepared 8 international singers for either upcoming engagements at opera houses or upcoming auditions.
I cannot emphazises enough that you have to be fully prepared to nail an audition. This means have your arias super polished and ready and have a sort of love affair with your music you want to present. It takes much more then just to sing the arias properly. That means : Know the situation the operacharacter is in
Know the relationships of the operacharacter
Etc.etc.
Commit to yourself to put your practice first to gain your empowerment.
You are welcome to find more practical precious advices in my e book and on my website www.stimmkunst.ch
With appreciation
Vera

Mindset Discipline Goal Setting

These are topics we singers have to work on constantly . Autumn is an awesome time to do it because auditions coming up, the Theaterseason has just started etc..
Today I want to lead you to ask yourself a couple of questions that will empower you to find your individual way towards reaching your singing goals:
1st: Is your audition repertoire vocally and musically ready to present with shine?
2nd: What do you really want to achieve with your singing?
3rd: Are you doing the things you can do to achieve the most out of the opportunity you have?

MINDSET
Your mindset is really important when it comes to your singing success. Believing that you can be a good singer and performer, that there are opportunities, where you can sing either for money or just for the fun of making music is very important. You have to believe it first before it can happen that you are shining as a singer otherwise you can find yourself talking yourself down and distracted by doubts and negativity.
First you have to decide that you are going to work with determination towards your goals that goes hand in hand with being grateful for the people and things you already have in your life and the things you already have achieved.
Ask yourself the question: Why do you want to have this singing career?

DISCIPLINE
Very important in a singers life is discipline. Yeah! You calmly have to work towards your goals every single day with dedication, which means to work on your vocal technique and on your music. Keep going and that is how you make progress. I promise you will love it, when you be in the music every day and find the phrasing, solve vocal challenges of the aria or part etc.
Grab your pen and notebook and write down what is in your individual power to get your mindset and discipline in place to work towards your singing goals. Every career path starts with a clear mindset and discipline!
Wishing you a wonderful journey into your special Musicland today
Vera

Stagecraft Masterclass

Good morning singers!

I am giving a Stagecraft Masterclass this weekend, and I would love to give some input into how to make a role yours. Of course, you have to know the music and you have to be able to sing it beautifully with your unique voice,
but this is not enough for giving the role birth on stage in rehearsals, and later in performances. So let us dive deeper in the process…

…You have to know all details about your character as if it was a real person. Find out the age of the character, the surrounding and social status it lives in, the relationships to the other characters in the opera, the state of mind, which scenery, when you sing the aria or duet etc.
You become an interesting working partner for the stage director when you have done this thoughtful work before you meet him/her. They will give to you their ideas and then you can work with these on a serious empowered basis. (These are only the basic things to take into consideration . There are many other things to conquer)
I remember when I was preparing my debut Lady Macbeth (Verdi), I was so thrilled by the idea to not just portray her as cold and power greedy, that I translated every word and searched for the deeper meaning therefore finding a more versatile character who I could give life to on stage.

Wishing you joy with your unique approach!
With appreciation,
Vera