How-To

Tales from the score: Deh vieni, non tardar

Tales from the score: Deh vieni, non tardar

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.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: Il mio tesoro

Aria guides: Il mio tesoro

"Il mio tesoro", from Mozart's Don Giovanni, marks the first time we see Don Ottavio go from fawning, sensitive support system, to a real man with a plan. It's no easy task for a tenor; Mozart writes long phrases, big leaps, coloratura, and those trademark delicate phrase endings that can make any singer sweat. Tenors, while you consult your best teachers and coaches, we can offer you a few quick tips to help make some music out of this tough aria.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: "Come Paride vezzoso"

Aria guides: "Come Paride vezzoso"

Belcore's aria from L'elisir d'amore is all about laying it on thick. He's after Adina, just like the opera's underdog/hero, Nemorino; he pulls out all the stops, like referencing literature, giving her flowers, and generally bragging about how awesome he is at life. It's a relatively rare moment of comedy for a baritone, although the aria doesn't come without its challenges.

Jenna Simeonov
4 ways to give notes & still be liked

4 ways to give notes & still be liked

Part of the job of the music staff working on an opera is to deliver notes to the singers. Notes, in this context, are basically "things the singer is doing wrong". If you're a music staff member with compassion, this process can leave you feeling at best like Toby from The Office, or at worst, Estelle Costanza from Seinfeld.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: Mi chiamano Mimì

Aria guides: Mi chiamano Mimì

Next up in our series of Aria Guides: Mimì's first aria from Puccini's infamous La bohème. The aria is Mimì's response to Rodolfo;s "Che gelida manina", and together, they form one of opera's most amazing moments of "getting to know you". Puccini's scores are rich in detail, and he doesn't leave much to the imagination. But along with your teachers and coaches, we can offer a few starting points as you get to work on this delicious bit of music.

Jenna Simeonov
Singers: masters of illusions

Singers: masters of illusions

There's no faking what opera singers do onstage. It's the result of legitimate hard work, and the staggering skills they show come precisely from not taking shortcuts or band-aid approaches to fixing problems. Real as it is, these artists have their bags of tricks. Singers, please forgive us for outing some of your little secrets...

Jenna Simeonov
Aria Guides: Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön

Aria Guides: Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön

Next up for our Aria Guides: the tenor's favourite scary aria, "Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. It's an aria about love at first sight, about idealism, and about proving that music can be difficult to sing even if there are no B-flats or crazy coloratura. Along with your teachers and coaches, we can help with some tricky corners of this aria, and even get you confident about adding it to your audition package.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: Parto, parto

Aria guides: Parto, parto

Sesto's Act I aria from La clemenza di Tito is somewhat of an Olympian feat for mezzo-sopranos. Packed into about 5 minutes, the aria has it all: a big, wide range, sustained lyric singing, and some intimidating coloratura saved for the end. The latest in our series of Aria Guides is dedicated to easing the learning curve for all aspiring Sestos, a supportive start to go with your invaluable time spent with your teachers and coaches.

Jenna Simeonov
The opera pianist's list o' priorities

The opera pianist's list o' priorities

Firstly, they can get hung up in all the notes, and start to drag the tempo as a result; the bigger trap actually precedes this first one, and that's spending too much time on all the notes. We're not suggesting you trade in fluttering scales for mashing the keys like a gorilla, but it's about picking your battles.

Jenna Simeonov
Christina Aguilera's move into pedagogy

Christina Aguilera's move into pedagogy

We don't know why it's so annoying that she does her "vocal scales" on the words "Ave Maria" (maybe it alludes to something a bit more classical). And ironically, her demonstration of the "wrong" way is easier on our ears than the "right" way, which upon hearing makes our throats sympathetically tighten.

Jenna Simeonov

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