Weekly Nugget: How to study a dramatic part  

Dear beautiful singer,
the most important thing: You need time to delve into the score and let it sink into your system.
The first step young dramatic singers 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 at least 6 month for learning a dramatic role.
How to cope with a last minute offer?
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. Reason: Then you have no fear concerning wether you can come through the performance.
Another long term goal is to develop a strong personality on stage. Then you are expressive and and and….
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 who you are nurture from.
With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

Opening night for my new website

Dear beautiful singers,

I know exactly how alone you sometimes feel when you have a special voice and the desire to have that voice trained into an opera or concert voice, and how desperate you are to find teachers or a place where you can be seen and heard. A place where you can technically develop your voice and also work on repertoire and roles with professionals who have brought them to the opera stage themselves. In recent months I have been brainstorming with my team of pianists from the Zurich Opera House.

The master classes and workshops at the International Institute Stimmkunst have been tailored even more specifically to your needs and stage of development, so that everyone, from beginners to professional singers, can develop their own potential with our know-how and help.

I am pleased to announce that you can now access this information on my NEW website: www.stimmkunst.ch. Here you can also subscribe to my FREE Weekly Nuggets, where you can get an insight into the world of opera from my 30 years of stage experience and teaching. You also find it on the stimmkunst-page on Facebook.

Cordially, in bocca al lupo!

Vera Wenkert

 

Cantabile

The experience of the Masterclass last week which I have given in Dublin has shown me that today’s young singers are eager to find on one hand the efficiency in their singing on the other hand they are looking for ways to build up a daily routine requiring discipline,training and building up stanima. On top of all this I recommend seriously that a young singer should search for a teacher and coach who has a deep contribution to the music and operatic scene, with knowledge, patience and understanding for the growing process of a young singer and can nurture them.
One of the main concerns of young singers is not only to train the voice but also the musicianship.For example , find the right style for every composer you sing, this means work with the music and explore it, if you do what the composer has written, the style comes through. It is easy and hard at the same time just to do this. But coraggio !!!!
Wishing you a wonderful working day.

Vera Wenkert

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

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

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

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

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

How to work with a conductor

For young singers it might be challenging to work through the first orchestra rehearsal process 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

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

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

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

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

Dear beautiful singers

In my career on stage and in concerts I have sung many Wagnerian roles: Elsa, Elisabeth, Venus, Senta, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, Isolde. Out of these experiences and from the experience I have with my teaching practice in teaching dramatic voices, my number one advice is:

DO NOT RUSH INTO THIS DEMANDING REPERTOIRE AS A YOUNG SINGER

The chief characteristics of Wagnerian music are beautiful long phrases combined with a brilliant, emotional text and a big orchestration underneath the vocal line. This demanding music requires you to have a solid technique. Not only this, but I have learnt from my time on stage that it is a great help to have some stage experience beforehand. Having this, you can float on the music and orchestra and you are able to taste the German diction in this beautiful music, and you can caress the text and music together. There is also the big misunderstanding that Wagnerian music always has to be sung loud. On the contrary, if you study the orchestra part of a Wagnerian opera you will find so many piano markings and other dynamic wishes of Wagner himself. Do not to forget: Richard Wagner loved Bel Canto!

As a result of the intense emotion in Wagnerian repertoire, a singer sometimes starts to push the voice…then you can really harm yourself! Last week, a Wagnerian singer travelled to me to work on Sieglinde. During the lesson I could hear that the coaches at the opera house have put her too much in the “diction mode” in the front of her mouth in the narrative “Der Männer Sippe…” I completely understand why the coaches wanted this crystal clear diction, but it has to be produced in the RIGHT WAY.

So, my suggestion for you Wagnerian singers is: Study your roles early enough, sing it in your voice with the help of your voice teacher and then go into the theater rehearsal process. From my own experience and love affair with Wagner’s music, I can confess that this is the most efficient and joyable way to improve significantly in this repertoire whilst remaining healthy.
This is also how I work with the Wagnerian singers in my studio. If they are vocally well trained and musically ready, they can concentrate on all the other obligations they have in an opera production.

💕Affirmation for the day: I allow myself to grow into my future-self of a radiant Wagnerian singer.💕

With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

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

Welcome…

Welcome new season. I wish all singers a successfull new Opera and Concert Season.
I am very much looking forward to meet the participants of my Audition Masterclass this week.
For further Audition Masterclasses and informations about the program offered by Institute Stimmkunst visit www.stimmkunst.ch
With appreciation
Vera

How much are you enjoying your rehearsal practice?

Yesterday a very gifted Wagnerian Soprano worked with me and we made the summer self study plan together. Guess what: My advice is : You can do this! You are almost there! Have fun on this way. The life of an operasinger is to study hours alone in a practice room, no matter if you have an engagement or not at the moment. Enjoy the music adventure wonderland! So what can you do today?
Wishing you a glorious study day
Vera

Summervacation Practice Routine

Congratulations, as I said in my last weekly nugget celebrate the huge accomplishment. You have sung a whole semester or an entire season at an operahouse. Now first of all give yourself and your beautiful voice a rewarded rest and holiday. In my experience as an operasinger I always took eight to ten days of easy time for me and my voice. This means about 5 days no singing at all and then I started slowly to prepare for the next season. A great way to stay groundet in your holidays is at least do your 30 min vocal wellness vocalisation. Singers who in preparation process for autumn competitions I suggest use your summertime wisely. Hopefully your voice teacher is staying with you on track. Challenge yourself but also have fun.
With appreciation
Vera Wenkert

The Right Voice Teacher for me

Often young Singers come in my studio after years of studies. Some are super prepared for the exciting and demanding profession of an operasinger others need still a lot of work.
These experiences and my knowledge of the profession ( I have sung over 30 dramatic roles on different operastages, festivals and concerthalls) inspiries me to write my advice today:
Young singer or singing students you have to find ” your ” voice teacher!
What does this mean in reality:
This teacher must have the ability to pass to you a healthy vocal technique in a way that.you understand it and that you feel, you are making vocal progress.
This also means you should not feel hoarse after lessons!
Your voice teacher should have real interest in your development and most important he or she should have enough time to teach you.
In my opinion it makes no sense to study with a famous singer, who is still in a career, because he or she will not have enough time for teaching and nurturing your freshman career.
I am a strong believer in the fact that you when it comes to day x – YEAH- you have to know how to sing with your voice and to know how to make music and to be able to stand on your own feet.
This is the number one priority.
No one cares wether you have learned with a famous singer or at an institute or with a private teacher.
It counts what you can do and how you sing.
My number one advice is find a teacher , with whom you get at least regular vocal lessons and who has the time and spirit to nurture you individual and who offers a
healthy vocal technique.
When it is your desire to start an operacareer it is very helpful, that your teacher has been on stage too. This is not a must but it gives you also input from reality.
There is one big advice I want to tell you closing this precious weekly nugget. Take your responsibility young beautiful singers. This starts with finding the right vocal teacher for you. All of you have a unique voice and a unique path in life and profession and this means only you can feel and decide who is a good voice teacher for you and where you are in best hands for yourself.
With appreciation
Vera

Performance Opportunities

It is very important for young singers to find opportunities to perform in front of an audience.
Young singers need the experience of stage circumstances and of ensemble singing and be a singer and actor same time.
There is a proverb: No master falls from the sky
This is so true.
We all need practice, practice to learn and to become matured artists and singers.
My advice: Find performance opportunities in churches, old people’s home, hotels, etc.
In my Institute I give the singers the opportunity twice a year to be part of a staged operaconcert with a conductor and pianist from the Operahouse Zürich.
This is always a wonderful event, where singers in different stages of their development can sing in public and improve.
So I want to encourage you all find your performance opportunities. Go for it.🎶🎶🎶
Happy sunny weekend to you
Vera

Singing Wagnerian Repertoire

This week I worked with a young dramatic soprano who is preparing her first Sieglinde for stage rehearsals. It is an extraordinarily beautiful role and music. I have sung it so often on stage and I just love and adore the music and the role. The love duet is just very moving and needs a lot of colour and body and tone. In all Wagnerian singing are a lot of technical demands! As a Wagnerian singer you usually have the weight and heaviness in the middle of your voice but due to the emotions of the respective characters the singer has to sing a wide range of tessitura. Singing the very top notes can be a challenge when you have sung dramatic and weighty in the middle range. For example, when I sang Siegfried Brünnhilde on stage, the best approach for me was to take it more lyrical. Siegfried Brünnhilde’s tessitura is high. It is different with Götterdämmerung Brünnhilde. The role is lower and more dramatic and reflects the whole development in the Ring Cycle…
In Wagnerian Singing it is essential that the singer has an excellent breathing concept and that he or she has a chrystal- clear concept of the role in mind.
One challenge is the diction in Wagnerian music:
Of course, one has to understand every word but it has to be DICTION IN A HEALTHY SINGING PROCESS AND VOCAL PRODUCTION.
I stressed this with capital letters because when professional singers come to me to get their part ready to perform I have nearby always to correct their diction approach. The voice still needs to travel on the airflow and the consonants should not stop the airflow. I remember, when I worked my Elsa, Senta, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde etc. with Richard Trimborn, one of the old school and competent coaches from Munich State Opera house, he was emphasizing all the time, that you have to sing R. Wagner’s music with naturalness and beauty and there exist a lot of dynamics. PIANO!
Richard Trimborn was just a very competent rock in the music world of R. Strauss and R. Wagner.
Thank you Richard that I can pass your precious music advices to the singers in my studio.
Fazit: Sing Wagnerian music with a wide range of dynamics.
With love for the art and for every artist
Vera

Immersion into the World of Opera

Weekly Nugget: Immersion into the world of opera
I strongly recommend that singers study at least the piano reduction of the opera they sing, it would be even better to read the full orchsterscore, so that you understand the relation in dynamics and colour and phrasing of your music and aria and the orchestra.
One way to get an easy approach into this studyconcept is: Go to your musiclibrary in your town and find an orchestrascore of an opera, sit at home in a cosy chair and listen to this opera with your orchestrascore in your hand. I call it singer in wonderland of music…
I promise you, you will have a remarkable time in this special “wonderland”.
I have a couple of singers who work their stageroles with me like this and they have an extrodinary great time in the orchestrarehearsals and in their performances.
So I invite you to start this journey today.
With appreciation and have a lot of fun
Vera

My singing and my teaching work is my place of worship!

I feel deeply grateful that I can show through my work as an opera singer and through my individual teaching that every rehearsal and every performance, even every lesson is sharing: giving and taking! The meaningful aspect in singing for me is to connect and move the audience. How can we engage the audience on a deep level? Most important is a solid vocal technique and a refined musicality. And of course to work and sculpture your character you portray before giving it birth on an opera stage. This needs a lot of professional discipline and dedication, but it is a great joy to sculpture an operacharacter.
Yes, I know, how difficult it is in our times of social media and the feeling, one has to be available for the outer world any time, to find the silence and the “room” during each day to dive into the – let it call – solitude hours to be just with oneself and the character or the aria or the art song…
But I promise, if you make the decision to do so on a regular basis, you are nurturing your inner artist! Then you can describe the feelings in the opera characters you interpret.
Yesterday, when I was rehearsing the Immolationscene from Brünnhilde Götterdämmerung I was feeling this deep THANK YOU to my artistic way in my life.
Thank You to all my teachers and to my Mentor. I strongly believe that every young singer and singers in a career need an expert vocal teacher musician and a coach and need one or two persons to trust on the career path.
Warmest
Vera

Cantabile

The experience of the Masterclass last week which I have given in Dublin has shown me that today’s young singers are eager to find on one hand the efficiency in their singing on the other hand they are looking for ways to build up a daily routine requiring discipline,training and building up stanima. On top of all this I recommend seriously that a young singer should search for a teacher and coach who has a deep contribution to the music and operatic scene, with knowledge, patience and understanding for the growing process of a young singer and can nurture them.
One of the main concerns of young singers is not only to train the voice but also the musicianship.For example , find the right style for every composer you sing, this means work with the music and explore it, if you do what the composer has written, the style comes through. It is easy and hard at the same time just to do this. But Coraggio !!!!
Wishing you a wonderful working day 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

Singing Treasures

Nowadays, more then ever, the singer has to have a refined concept for a success singing path: Of course a solid healthy vocal technique but to catch the interest of managers or casting directors in operahouses the singer has to blossom into a fine unique artist; that means to portray in any singing piece taste and musicianship. A performer serving the composers art and shaping and sculptering his or her aria or artsong out of this desire is one of the privilege and duty. Then miracles can happen, the singers individual artistry melts with the composition. I remember when I studied Isolde, every day I could not wait to dig into the harmonies to understand R. Wagners intention between the colours of the orchestra and the Isolde melody lines. I studied on top of my role also the Orchestra partitura. I suggest this for every main role. Have a glimpse into the full orchestration, find your leading instruments, listen to the colours. As singers, we are part of the orchestra.
More next Friday.
Wishing you an exciting journey into your special music land.
Vera