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Thread: Opera Singer Training

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    Junior Member Cypress's Avatar
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    Default Opera Singer Training

    I am curious to know how does a person become an opera singer? I realize some people obtain a BFA and train through University. But, if a guy with a pretty good tenor thought he'd like to become an opera singer, how is it done? Find a teacher? Find an opera company?

    And, how does a singer with the training, become part of an opera company? How long does it take to get to the level of professional? Would an American expect to go to Europe/Italy to follow this path?

    Thanks for your replies, I hope I can be educated by the members on this topic

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    You need to find a teacher who will teach you proper technique and advise you at every stage of your progress. You may find a good teacher at a conservatory; there are also teachers in private practice.

    Learning to sing properly, with a technique that will stand you in good stead through a career in opera, typically requires much work, discipline, and patience. Naturally gifted singers may make rapid progress and begin singing professionally in a couple of years; most take longer to establish a reliable technique. There are no guarantees.

    Europe has an abundance of regional opera companies where young singers can get valuable experience, but America offers more opportunities than it once did.

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    But, if a guy with a pretty good tenor thought he'd like to become an opera singer, how is it done? Find a teacher? Find an opera company?
    First of all let someone else be the judge of you capacities, if you found that one, she / he will know the way further like as in Woodduck's reply .
    Last edited by Pugg; Sep-09-2016 at 04:35.

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    I would add that if you are much older than, say, in your mid-20s it is going to be tough going for you unless you truly have an extraordinary talent. By that age you are expected to have several roles under your belt, ideally, or at a minimum be prepared to sing them. Opera companies have age limits for the various voice parts in their open auditions, with sopranos and tenors being heard until their early 30s, possibly. Deeper voices, basses and contraltos, can be heard until their late 30s. This is necessary for open "cattle calls," else you would have 70-year-old sopranos shooting up a hit of speed and then tottering out on stage to warble their way through Un bel di.

    Private auditions are the other route, and they usually occur via the Right Person hearing you perform somewhere else, or through your network of connections. Good luck, and remember how to get to Carnegie Hall.



    Kind regards,

    George

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    Vocal quality, age, musicality, dedication and commitment to daily practice, advanced aural training (unless you want to always rely on an accompanist/coach), acting ability, and yes, good looks! Modern productions are increasingly visual and require a lot of dramatic action.

    I started out wanting to be an opera singer, but soon realized that my real passion was the more intimate world of art song. Also, I'm a poetry geek, can't stand repetitive work and hate taking orders from producers! Do as I say,not as I do

    If you really want to be an opera singer, you should give it your best shot. It's probably one of the most demanding careers out there, but if you have a nose for the theater, go for it. Just don't sing through your nose...

    Would you mind sharing your motivation for wanting to sing opera? It's always interesting to hear what draws young singers to the genre.

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    Firstly, do you have an operatic voice, most singers do not. You may think you have a good tenor voice but let others hear you sing. Can you read music, sing Bel Canto, are you sure you're a tenor? Find a teacher, preferably a tenor who will know your voice. It will take years to learn the correct technique and you will go through a lot of teachers before you find one that just fits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bargee View Post
    Firstly, do you have an operatic voice, most singers do not. You may think you have a good tenor voice but let others hear you sing. Can you read music, sing Bel Canto, are you sure you're a tenor? Find a teacher, preferably a tenor who will know your voice. It will take years to learn the correct technique and you will go through a lot of teachers before you find one that just fits.
    That's exactly what I mean/ said , well done!

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    Exactly right, and a further skill - knowing when teachers/producers/coaches are trying to change your voice to suit the type of repertoire they happen to be interested in or what they think is 'relevant to your career'.

    As a lyric baritone with a clear top (and a love of crooning), I was 'misdiagnosed' as a heldentenor, Baryton Martin, and broadway baritenor by three different teachers who tried to change my voice. Two singers I discovered toward the end of my college years taught me the value of embracing my own sound: Alfredo Kraus and the German baritone Thomas Quasthoff (who is an inspiration to all).

    Long story short, even if you don't have an operatic tenor voice...get some training and see where it leads you. At the very least you'll have a great hobby and an indispensable skill for charming the ladies (or gentlemen) :P

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    Your story certainly sounds familiar to at least one person on this forum. Welcome aboard, I am glad you are here!

    In my case I had at least two tenor voice teachers at Yale try to tell me I was a heldentenor. Fortunately after I graduated I found a wonderful private teacher, Madeline Sanders (who was mentored by the great Gina Cigna), who as soon as she listened to me said "You're not a tenor!" I've sung baritone ever since (actually I knew it by the time I was a senior, but I was so glad to hear a well-credentialed vocal coach tell me the same thing) and never looked back.

    Unfortunately that also meant that I had to learn all the standard baritone repertoire and to this day I still know (and still can't sing) most of the tenor repertoire. By the time I was in my early 30s I knew It Was Not To Be. It had ceased to be fun, I had no money for coaching or travel, and I realized that I had a very good voice, but not a world-class voice. I also lacked the requisite discipline, which is crucial to a professional career.

    I still sing chorally and solos every chance I get, and acquit myself well. And it is fun again. There are worse things.



    Kind regards,

    George
    Last edited by Barelytenor; Feb-09-2017 at 16:36.

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