Sunday, February 12, 2006

Like a fine wine...

What voice type are you? This is the question that plagues most of us from the moment we begin singing--sopranos, tenors, mezzos and baritones alike*. From the time I began singing until now, I have come full circle in my share of labels. First, I was a lyric colouratura. Then, I was just plain lyric. Next came the questions of possible mezzo-territory. This was followed by a huge gear shift to just colouratura before making it safely back to lyric colouratura land. This may sound trite to the non-singers reading this entry, but it is emotional hell on a singer.

Just think about the art of singing compared to the art of wine tasting. Every voice is as complex and subtle as a wine. Each bottle is unique and everyone thinks this kind would go better with that role. Each pallate will taste varying overtones and suggest alternative repertoire selections. All in all, you prepare this wonderful audition package of five arias that you have studied researched, practiced and perfected for months (maybe even years) only to receive the comments that these selections are all wrong for your voice and you should be singing something completely different.

And lest we forget that just like a bottle of wine ages and the flavors change over the years, so does a singers voice. Therefore, what we are today may very well change in the future. The art of opera singing is an ongoing learning process not to be underestimated or compared to the world of popular music. Opera is not a fad that will soon fade away, but instead is like a fine wine that only gets better with age.

*I purposely left out basses, because of the few true basses I have known personally, they seem to avoid this whole question process. It just takes their heavier voices longer to develop into full capacity and range period.
:: posted by Bryn, 5:59 PM


You not only left out basses, honey. And you got off the hook easy. I've been singing tenor for quite too long (lots of problems, hoarseness and so on), then have been identified as baritone. Too bad the best part of the tenor singing was when I was doing falsetto (partly when I got so hoarse that nothing else would work).

Turned out that when the effect from forcing the chest voice subsided, I was more bass even than baritone. Then I junked a few teachers and am singing now mostly as alto (the falsetto would have been a shame to waste), except when I have to double as second bass for stylistic reasons.

Which means I have to cover about three octaves between Bruckner and Bach (like in the concerts last weekend).

The time I spend on doing scales is not funny.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 AM  

Add a comment