Opera Singer

Opera Singer

MezzoGirl

Los Angeles, CA

Female, 29

I sing beautiful music -- primarily opera -- but I also do concert work, church music, studio/scoring sessions, and whatever other performance opportunities I can get my hands on.

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Last Answer on July 03, 2020

Best Rated

What are an opera singer's primary sources of income?

Asked by BarkerB over 8 years ago

Hopefully, your opera contracts. But the great thing about singing is that you have many sources of income: church, chorus and concert work, recording sessions, private events, teaching ... I was at a singer's workshop recently with Dan Montez and he made a great point: if you have a full-time job, you could lose 100% of your income in a day. But if you're a singer, you probably have many sources of income and if you lose one of them, it won't break you. It was a different perspective than most people's usual stream of thought/panic about freelance work! Also, if you know how to sight-read well, you can get booked for many more jobs. If you don't, contact AFTRA or AGMA and see if they sponsor any classes to help you with sight-singing. In LA, there's a fantastic sight singing class through AFTRA (you don't have to be a member to participate but you do get a discount if you are) -- Music1on1.com has the details. It's especially great for score recording session singing technique and a fabulous place to network. They also do events to meet session contractors, discuss demos and marketing and other such workshops.

Is it really possible to shatter a glass with your voice?

Asked by Tim over 8 years ago

Yes, but there are many factors that would have to be in place (and be precisely executed) to make that happen -the singer singing the glass's resonating tone and the loudness of the voice as well as defects in the glass. Here's a link to an incredible article on the topic in Scientific America that also cites a taped experiment proving the unassisted voice can shatter glass on Myth Busters. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fact-or-fiction-opera-singer-can-shatter-glass

Ever have an on-stage catastrophe? (e.g. voice-crack, forgotten line)

Asked by m0rsec0de over 8 years ago

I once worked with a colleague who got a little over-excited and created new stage combat blocking, which included grabbing me by the throat … hard. I was scared as I didn't know what he'd do next and if I moved, I could have helped him hurt me further. I then had to sing a duet and calming myself down was a challenge. From that, I learned to make sure that talk to the fight coordinator separately if there are any concerns. I was aware that he got like this in performance, but was hoping for the best rather than discussing it in advance. In my attempt to not make waves, I got bruised and scratched. By ignoring my instincts, I became part of the problem. Being a good colleague is so important. We should trust each other on and off stage, but if there are concerns, talk to someone in the company about the best way to address them with your colleague if you don't feel that you'll be calm or confident enough to address it in a neutral, non-confrontational way. And having a mentor who can act as a sounding board for how to best handle such situations before involving anyone at the company is such a help. My teacher is a fantastic mentor in that regard. Knowing when to speak up and when to let something go is a difficult balancing act to do on your own, especially when your reputation equals your career!

How did you land your first part in an opera production?

Asked by highC over 8 years ago

My first professional opera contract was offered to me because I was in Arizona State's production and the conductor was asked to present it for the Connecticut Early Music festival, so he pretty much took the whole university cast with him.

What kind of training is required to perform opera at the professional level?

Asked by marksman over 8 years ago

Vocal technique, music history, music theory, coaching with specialists in the repertoire you're working on, piano, acting, movement, diction (if you don't know the International Pronunciation Alphabet, learn it!) and business management/finance. I think the self-employed singer has to have their business skills set so that one can focus on the creative and technical aspects of being a singer without the stress of over-worrying about finances and such. Plus, you can see the progress you're making and where you need to put greater attention when you have a specific plan with goals. If you're still in school, take marketing and small business finance or something comparable. If you're out of school, you might want to find courses at a local college for this.

You mentioned that you were planning on going into music theater before doing opera. Since there are no music theater actors on Jobstr (yet), can you mention some non-NYC cities that are good for aspiring music theater performers?

Asked by Jolene over 7 years ago

Really, it's NYC if that's what you want to do. You could try living in Chicago if you're great with comedy and want to do that as well. Or LA if you're interested in the film/TV world. But if you want music theater, live in or around NYC. You can audition for cruise lines and theme parks that utilize music theater talent well and have you living in different places for long stretches of time. But you need to be around where the auditions are- and the vast majority are in NYC. Auditioning is the biggest part of your job when you're starting off.

Do opera singers use microphones during performances?

Asked by kurlyQ over 7 years ago

Not usually. Sometimes there are microphones above the stage or on the floors to pick up the sound for houses that are not acoustically set up for opera, but not individual mic's. Opera singers train to use the spaces in their facial mask to create our own amplification. With the range of what we sing, both dynamically and the wide range of pitches, it's very challenging to individually mic singers. Most opera singers can't stand being miked since you lose a lot of vocal color when using mic's too close to your face. There definitely are amazing sound engineers out there to make things sound good, but we enjoy relying on our technique to produce the proper sound for what we're expressing.