Opera Singer

Opera Singer


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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70 Questions


Last Answer on July 03, 2020

Best Rated

For people who don't like opera, is there a particular album or show that you'd recommend that might change their minds?

Asked by Jwilly over 8 years ago

I think it depends on what interests you. For instance, my mother is not a music fan and the fact that I sing has driven her nuts for years. Then one day, she called me and said that she really wanted to try to like opera. After my initial shock, I suggested that we see Carmen together. The music is very familiar to most people (the Habanera is one of the most famous songs ever written), it's about a sexy gypsy who makes men fall in love with her, there's dancing, sex, color, murder...you name it. My mother still didn't like that one. Finally, I realized that she'd probably like an opera that dealt with history. We both love history, so we chose Giulio Cesare, which deals with his time in Egypt with Cleopatra. It's early opera, so I would usually not suggest it as a first opera as it can feel a bit stiff to an audience used to seeing a lot of action in their entertainment. The result, my mom finally decided to "Like" me on Facebook! Most opera companies usually have a Q&A before certain performances and those will definitely help you understand the opera more- story, context, music to listen for, etc. Here are some ideas for what might interest you: Sex= Carmen, Samson et Dalila Comedy= Marriage of Figaro History= Giulio Cesare, Anna Bolena (at the Met & Met HD live broadcasts now) Drama= La traviata Musical Theater= La Boheme (if you liked Rent, you'll love La Boheme-same thing really except trade HIV for consumption) Fairytales= Hansel & Gretel (sometimes going to a children's opera first helps as they're shorter and have simple plot lines, and usually sung in the native tongue of whatever country you're in.) Enjoy the opera (I hope)!

Do opera singers smoke? Or is that an absolute no-no?

Asked by Queen B over 7 years ago

They shouldn't, but some still do! In the US, it's rare, but overseas, many people still smoke. I don't know how they do it, but I guess they have lungs of steel. I say it's a no-no, but some make it work.

Is opera competitive? Are there a lot of politics when it comes to choosing leads, or does the best voice usually win out?

Asked by Seth about 7 years ago

It's very competitive, especially in America as there are not many houses in the States. There are a lot of politics in opera, like in everything. But it's sometimes efficient to go with someone you trust or know or who has a following that will sell tickets, so I can't judge it too much. You just have to be prepared for the moment when someone takes a chance on you. More often than not, it's dependendability over politics. I've sung with people who just knock my socks off, and I am so happy to recommend them for gigs because recommending great pros makes me look even better. But then others will come unprepared for a gig and people remember that, too.

It definitely is who you know, but there are so many great people in opera that forget about the politics at least for a while and just enjoy who you're working with and who you're working for. And then the 'politics' will start to work out in your favor if you're doing the work on your performance. And a great voice will get heard, so just keep singing until the right person hears it. 

Do opera singers look down on more modern, contemporary music?

Asked by screech over 8 years ago

Some do. And some look down on those who look down on contemporary music. Personally, I love it, especially when you're getting to sing music for the first time ever. Contemporary opera is challenging in a whole other way for singers, so it can be daunting. It's fantastic to find companies that specialize in contemporary opera since you know that the artistic & production values will be high, and the audience will be excited. As for modern, contemporary music that's more mainstream (pop, hip hop, rock), some singers don't listen to it, which is a shame. It's hard to find the time for listening to anything other than what you're working on when you're a singer. However, I've learned so much from the passion of Dave Grohl's performances, the storytelling of metal & hip hop, how to speak to an audience seeing Jason Mraz in coffee houses & Michael Buble at the Greek, the way to use your voice like an instrument from the great jazz singers (listen to Sinatra and you can hear how he does 'trombone' slides with his voice...it's really cool) and perhaps most importantly as a woman in sometimes revealing costumes-the importance of wardrobe tape from the pop divas. For me, all music makes me a better musician. Even when I hate it, I try to learn from it- what do I hate, what am I resisting, and , why, why are my lovely lady lumps moving like that when my brain is utterly disgusted by those terrible lyrics?

Does being fat help opera singers?

Asked by PhxTom over 8 years ago

The jury's still out on this from the research I've done, but it does seem that larger ribcages have their advantages in singing. Almost every singer's ribcage will expand in size, which may also just give the appearance of heaviness as well. But that doesn't mean that large voices and long phrases can't come out of smaller framed people. The 'largeness' of a voice comes from the resonating cavities in the head combined with the amount of strength and release in the singer's body. Singing is so much about how you use and release body tension. It's a very physical art. Also, singing makes me insanely hungry, so perhaps people don't make the right choices after singing til 11p at night (I always have a healthy snack right after I'm out of costume). My teacher and I have discussed the differences in body types and singing as I'm smaller and more athletic. Some of the sensations that come from extra weight that are technically very useful, I just can't identify. So I have to find other sensations. I find that strength training and running really helps me because of my size. Having the sensation of a lower center of gravity gives me extra 'weight' while singing.

Is there a peak age for an opera singer? At what age does the human voice begin to deteriorate?

Asked by Liz about 7 years ago

It really depends on the person. Most sopranos and tenors mature into their voices sooner than mezzos and baritones/basses. Usually, the voice matures around mid-20s or early 30s and then the voice shifts again in your 50s. Some singers will stop singing in the 50s or 60s. But, with good technique, good health and depending on the person, there's no certain age peak. Placido Domingo is still singing beautifully and he's in his 70s now. 

Are there certain kinds of beverages that opera singers drink a lot of to keep their voice/throats in good shape?

Asked by jaclyn farber over 7 years ago

Singers are notorious for having a million 'tricks of the trade' for what to drink, what to eat and what not to drink or eat. But, of course, it's all what works for you individually. Keeping well hydrated with plain ole water is probably the most universal answer. Personally, I like to have hot lemon water morning and night if my throat is feeling raw from allergies or anything. Some people need to avoid caffeine. Others (like me), need it! Throat coat tea is well loved by many singers, although I don't like it myself. Avoiding alcohol the night before a performance and the day of is advisable, especially if you have reflux issues. Plus, if you haven't seen the 'drunk Carmen' clip on YouTube, check it out and you'll never take medication nor drink before a performance again. I really don't know what happened there, but I hope some drug was involved.