How-To

Aria guides: O sleep, why dost thou leave me?

Aria guides: O sleep, why dost thou leave me?

For young singers, it's a fantastic way of working on breath control, and singing in that "not quite high enough" register that many sopranos find difficult. Read on to find a few general guidelines to get you through this aria; along with your teachers and coaches, we can help keep things simple, and indulgent in the right ways.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria Guides: "Je veux vivre"

Aria Guides: "Je veux vivre"

This is Juliette's first aria from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, and she sings it after her nurse yet again brings up the fact that she has to get married to Paris. Juliette is young, and that can either mean she's giddy and exciteable, or that she's nervous and insecure about things like arranged marriages and being only 13 or so. "Je veux vivre" is a hugely popular pick for audition packages; it's not too long, it shows off some coloratura, and it's a great opportunity to show polished acting chops.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: Dalla sua pace

Aria guides: Dalla sua pace

Ah, Don Ottavio. Is he the lame duck of Don Giovanni, or is he the quiet hero that doesn't get a lot of high notes? Whatever your opinions on the useless/heartfelt role of Ottavio, you can't deny that his arias are difficult, and often thankless. "Dalla sua pace" is an introductory piece to Ottavio's character; we get that he's sympathetic to Donna Anna's emotional highs and lows, and we know we'll never meet a more dedicated man when it comes to love.

Jenna Simeonov
Song guides: Widmung

Song guides: Widmung

We're continuing our Song Guides series with another guest post by mezzo-soprano and founding member of the art song initiative Lynx Project, Megan Moore. Schumann's "Widmung" is one of many songs Robert Schumann wrote for his wife, Clara. That's the fun part, and to get there, singers need to master things like singing legato in German, and pulling off a successful two-against-three.

Megan Moore
Aria guides: "Deh vieni alla finestra"

Aria guides: "Deh vieni alla finestra"

For good reason, Don Giovanni is one of the most coveted baritone roles in opera. His aria, "Deh vieni alla finestra," is an incredible scene, a picture of Don Juan in action, unencumbered by angry exes or jealous fiancés. He's serenading a nameless woman (Elvira's maid, technically), in that truly Spanish style, with a guitar outside her window.

Jenna Simeonov
Song Guides: "Die Nacht"

Song Guides: "Die Nacht"

We've gotten great feedback from our ongoing series of Aria Guides, and so we've decided to branch out, into the world of art song. Soprano Caitleen Kahn, co-founder of the art-song-friendly Lynx Project, kicks off our Song Guides with a staple from the repertoire. "Die Nacht" is a song taken from Richard Strauss's 1885 set, 8 Gedichte aus "Letzte Blätter", in which you'll find other favourites like "Zueignung" and "Allerseelen".

Caitleen Kahn
Aria Guides: "Aprite un po' quegli occhi"

Aria Guides: "Aprite un po' quegli occhi"

Figaro's final aria in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro is one that separates the men from the boys. It's endlessly interesting for dramaturgs, since Figaro breaks the so-called "fourth wall" and addresses the audience directly for the first time the show. He's fed up with women and their shenanigans, and it's one of rare times we really see him lose his cool. Musically, it's all about stamina.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria Guides: "Quando m'en vo"

Aria Guides: "Quando m'en vo"

For our next instalment of Aria Guides, we're sticking with the tried and true pick of divas around the world, "Quando me'n vo" from Puccini's La bohème. It's got everything you really want in an aria: girl tries to make her ex-boyfriend jealous, and she does it by singing sexy lines and shimmering high notes.

Jenna Simeonov
Aria guides: "Una furtiva lagrima"

Aria guides: "Una furtiva lagrima"

Tenors, we haven't forgotten about you. Continuing our series of Aria Guides, we're focusing on Nemorino's very lovely, very popular aria from L'elisir d'amore, "Una furtiva lagrima". It's one of those arias that can show a lot, and if you sing it well, it's great for auditions and crowd-pleasing concerts alike. It's not a easy feat to pull off this bel canto staple, but here are a few tips meant to help.

Jenna Simeonov
The psychology of an audition

The psychology of an audition

On top of the fun of singer-pianist telepathy, I've gotten pretty good at the game of guessing which are the auditioners will ask for. In most auditions, opera singers present a list of about 4-6 arias; they choose which they want to start with, and after that the panel selects a second choice. The goal is for the singer to start with something they do very, very well, and for the auditioners to learn as much about that singer as possible in a two-aria span.

Jenna Simeonov

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