For our latest Aria Guide, we've picked an aria that has it all: it's beautiful, it's in English, and mezzos get to play Dido, an actual woman. In Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, "Dido's Lament" happens at the end of a simple and sad story: Aeneas, whom Dido loves and has agreed to marry, believes he has to leave her and go to Italy. As he goes, Dido dies from her grief.
Amid captured loved ones and Turkish harems, there's a tenor in love. Belmonte is off to resuce his abducted fiancée, Konstanze, but not without telling us how she makes his heart beat faster. For any tenor, this aria is a mountain of work; there's tricky coloratura, lines which hover through the passaggio, and making it to the end takes planning and stamina.
It's a deceptively simple aria, and the empty accompaniment, a singer can easily feel as though they're walking on eggshells. Along with help from your teachers and coaches, we can offer a few tips for keeping things simple, and creating the illusion of superhuman breath control.
It's hard to describe why (acoustic physicists, please feel free to chime in here), but sometimes a singular note, played on the piano, can be hard to understand. It's not that the singer can't hear it, but the note lacks context.
There are idioms in every language, and that's what we hear when someone speaks with a foreign accent. It's handy for singers to identify some of these habits and idioms that keep them from sounding comfortable in a non-native language. So, we've identified three big linguistic tells for North American English speakers, and how to keep them from foreign language mastery.
Shortly after the famous "Letter Scene," where she re-reads correspondence between her and Werther, Charlotte sings "Va! laisse couler mes larmes" to Sophie, her younger, more optimistic sister, telling her that it is sometimes a good thing to grieve, and not be consoled.
It's the first time we meet Manon, and she has just stepped out of the carriage that took her on her very first journey. Despite her being *en route* to a convent, Manon still finds excitement in all the new things surrounding her. Along with your trusted teachers and coaches, we can offer up some tips and tricks to get you started with Manon, one of Massenet's many complicated ladies.
Rather than recap, we decided to use our photoshoot to create a "lookbook" to serve as inspiration to empower the operatic community to make choices that serve your artistry.
One of the most common pitfalls of singers in the memorizing process is to combine the words and music too soon. It's rare for a singer to have a memory lapse with the music itself (weird rhythmic entries excepted); in most cases, a singer's mind goes blank when they can't remember the upcoming words - even more so, when the text is in a non-native language.
This aria is so often sung that we can become immune to its effect in the context of the entire opera. It's incredibly difficult to play all the musical and dramatic layers when singing the aria alone in an audition or concert. But it can be tons of fun to pretend (to pretend to pretend, really) that Susanna is imagining herself a Real Lady, and finally gets the chance to try it out. It's very Eliza Doolittle, when you think about it.