One has to choose to sing as a career for a reason greater than “I like it” or “I’m good at it”, yet one does not choose to sing because they want to change the world. I choose to sing because it can bring joy to others thereby bringing joy to me. We have doctors and bankers to take care of our personal and financial well-fare and as such we need artists to take care of some part of our aesthetic being. One of the greatest thing about being a human working within a civilization of social beings is that we can enjoy more than the basic needs of life. As such we develop culture. It is interesting to think that perhaps the development of culture is man’s attempt to control all aspects of life. There are some things that are so abstract that it does not seem that they can be bent to the will of man. Time is one of these concepts; it passes us by whether we can recognize its passage or not. Therefore I will contend that music is man’s attempt to control time, through music we recognize the passage of time as we desire it to pass, with meaning.
As such I wish to be a time master, but I don’t wish to do so in a base manner for opera is more than sound, in fact opera is more than “merely” music. Music can be abstract or convey raw emotion, opera does this with what is a concrete story. I want to be a vehicle for what is fantastic gut wrenching music. I want a child to come see an opera and never forget the experience, the lights the costume and most of all the music. This child will not remember the names of the people who sang, and ultimately this is not important, but they will remember if the music and acting made them laugh and cry.
I want to sing opera because there is more than the act of singing involved in being a great singer. Firstly one must understand the poetic subtleties of different languages. I did not think that I would enjoy learning languages, yet it is like discovering a key to unlock the mysteries of another culture. The only way to obtain an understanding of another culture is to explore it from the inside, language gives us this capability. Secondly one must understand the history surrounding different operas. Depending on when and where something was written the piece will be performed differently, and this is not something that is necessarily indicated in the score. It is these subtleties that can make a performance superb. Thirdly one must understand the stage, actions and emotions must not just be apparent to the performer, but to the (hopefully) vast sea of individuals in the audience. Fourthly one must have an acute understanding of human emotion. What a character really means must be more apparent than what they say. Finally one must be able to sing appropriately for each moment. Singing is not merely about making beautiful noise. Sometimes the sound must be beautiful, other times a different sound may be called upon.
I think that it is easy to be drawn into the individual glamour of singing on the stage, yet if the individual glamour is not part of a production or out shines it in an inappropriate fashion, the glamour is no longer desirable. As in society one performer is merely part of a whole, and if one part of the production does not work then the entire whole will fail. I want to sing because I want to be a functioning piece of a fantastic whole.
Closing the door, leaving the lights on
5 years ago