It's something to ponder: have the great composers of history inadvertently laid out a predetermined social life for generations of operatic artists? Have they added to the stereotype of rival divas by keeping them isolated to their own operas? Have they given credulity to the inevitable cross-disciplinary romances between soprano and baritone, between répétiteur and tenor?
Pianists who work with singers tend to pride themselves on being an anticipator of needs. A great pianist seems to know before the singer does if they need an emergency breath, could use some extra hang-time on a high note, or wants a friendly push in tempo. Yet just as married-for-decades couples can still manage to surprise each other, even the best of pianist-singer relationships aren't perfectly telepathic.
"Mouth agape, molars in full view, eyebrows at the crown of the head, perhaps some bulging veins - they're all the product of singing one's face off. It's not always pretty, and the camera seems cruelly deft at showing you the sordid details."
"Nadine Sierra misses out on London debut", reads Lebrecht's headline. He goes on: "The US soprano was due to open the Covent Garden season in Richard Jones's new production of La Bohème, but she has cried off. Her replacements are, if anything, more interesting."
This aria is dense and charming, and though it seems harmless, features more than a few surprising challenges. With the work you do in the practice room and with your teachers and coaches, our latest Aria Guide can help you navigate your way through this adorable little ditty.
Having a partner who isn't a musician will also be a great way of making sure you don't lose your friends in the process of gaining a romantic relationship; you'll always need to have those cathartic, industry-specific conversations with people who get your shorthand, and it's a beautiful thing to have a few things that remain specially reserved for you and your singer friends.
Remember that being able to call yourself a Curtis student or a Juilliard student or say you attend the Conservatoire is a statement about status, and no indicator of your musicianship. So, be fair to your chosen school and what it can offer; more importantly, be honest with yourself about your academic goals.
The players onstage, who in fact make up "Canada's only Opera Improv group" had fun and poked fun. They conjured up cringe-worthy audition situations, laid out solid impressions of well-known opera bosses, and basically roasted every stereotype of "Canadian contemporary opera". By design, what happened onstage was not only relevant to the audience, but hopelessly intertwined.
Interestingly enough, it's a reason to stay well-rounded, even while pursuing something time-consuming like singing; having something to say comes from having opinions on the world, and those are easier to come by outside of the bubble of singing and opera.
Certainly, if you look at opera's plots in a vacuum, perhaps you could find evidence of misogyny. But it would entirely miss the point of opera - art, really - to ignore the opinions of its composers and librettists.