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

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On another question you answered that a singer's voice is dependent on the "resonating cavities in the head combined with the amount of strength and release in the singer's body". Can you recommend an exercise or two to strengthen the voice?

Asked by Erik almost 7 years ago

I'd be wary of giving you exercises without hearing you & seeing what your doing. But, in general, good cardio fitness will strengthen your body and help with breath.  Seeing a teacher is the best way to move forward with exercises specific to your voice. Check out http://www.nats.org to find a teacher in your area. Bel Canto technique is the most recognized form of healthy singing technique. Finding a bel canto teacher who's a real technician is ideal. Here are some of the great opera singers discussing bel canto.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Beocer7gbLI It might not be what you're looking for, but you'll hear and see what they're doing to produce healthy tones. 

what challenges do you face that pop singers dont

Asked by eve over 6 years ago

There are so many differences in not only the vocal style, but the career of an opera singer verses a pop singer. I'm not sure how to answer as far as challenges go. But as an opera singer, you have to be more commited to the live performance aspect, being in full control of your vocal production at all times. Pop singers can frequently rely on auto-tuning or lip synching. And as far as live performances go, if the pop singer is expected to jump around and dance, I understand why the standard is to lip sync those songs. There are also many lifestyle differences between an opera singer and a pop artist. A pop artist can stay out all night partying and it's part of their job (getting photographed, networking, etc), but if an opera singer did that, our voices wouldn't be in their best condition the next day, so we have to be more careful of over-talking, drinking, getting enough sleep, etc. I'm sure this is the case of pop singers who are focused more on their music than their fame, but fame is a more important element in the career of a pop artist than for an opera singer. Opera is just not as 'of the moment' as pop music is. Longevity should be a goal in both careers of course, but the opera singer will look daily at longevity to make career decisions. I feel that this answer is a bit generalized, but hopefully it helps!

Is it dangerous to train for opera younger than a certain age? Can it damage young vocal chords if not done properly?

Asked by BRPP about 7 years ago

It's best to train classically after puberty due to the hormone changes during it. It's confusing for the young singer to learn proper technique while the instrument (primarily the vocal cords) is changing rapidly. I'd argue that giving the body time to adjust to the hormonal changes & growth development along with allowing for the maturity it takes to understand your body fully to connect to proper technique is advisable. 

While waiting the main part of puberty to pass, there are plenty of ways to prepare for a career in opera. Choral work, learning piano and other instruments, learning languages (Italian, German and French are recommended), attending concerts and performances, studying recordings and scores. Listening critically is one of the most important skills a singer can develop. 

I am an aspiring opera singer. I am also doing some nude modeling for photography. Could this potentially hurt my career? Thanks.

Asked by Anonymous about 7 years ago

It could, but if it's something that you're passionate about and feels that it represents you well, then you'll have to do what is best for you. And, there is occasionally nudity in opera, especially in Europe, so if they find that you're open to it, it may work to your advantage. But since everything is online nowadays, get final approvals on what's posted, if you can. Otherwise, it could be something that could effect future opportunities. Good luck with your decision!

Can you ever truly change your voice? For example if it's deeper to make it higher and vice versa or are you born with a certain vocal range?

Asked by anonymous over 6 years ago

You can extend your vocal range through training. Through proper training, you'll explore and see what the color, quality and range of your voice is and what you'll be able to do with it. If your voice naturally likes to sing in the higher range, most likely you'll be a soprano or tenor. If it's naturally lower, you'll probably be an alto, mezzo soprano, baritone or bass. Yet, many singers start training thinking that they're one voice type and develop into another. When I did music theater, I thought I was a soprano. Through training, I realized that I was a mezzo soprano. Developing my voice in the proper quality, my range has extended both lower and higher than I'd originally been able to sing. 

Any advice on how to achieve vibrato? How about belting a note? Thanks for the great answers :-)!

Asked by Anonymous follow-up over 6 years ago

Hi! Thanks for the compliment. It's my pleasure. Although- this one I feel is one that I think is best addressed by a teacher one-on-one. Vibrato should be a natural result of proper breath and support. Warm up with a few exercises to get your breath moving with proper support. The one exercise I'd think would help most is to sing "oo" at 2 note intervals (ie F-G, F#-G#, and on up the keys and down). Start slowly, almost 'sliding' between the notes- keeping the connection legato rather than singing them as 'separate' or staccato notes. Pick up the pace gradually until you're trilling betwen the notes. While trill isn't vibrato, it may help you get used to the sensation of oscillation. And it's a healthy vocal exercise regardless that will help you with pitch, support, legato and trilling.
I'm going to leave the belting question to your teacher as it's VERY important to have a healthy technique to belt. You can do a lot of vocal damage if you're not careful, the worst being vocal nodules that have to be surgically removed. Belting isn't the only way to get nodes- any lack of technique and too much singing (or even shouting, talking loudly etc) can cause noduals to form depending on the person's vocal health. But belting is definitely one of the areas of singing that really needs specific attention to the individual singer and would have to be addressed in person for vocal health.  

How do you feel about Jackie Evancho? I've heard people more well-versed in opera don't think she's good?

Asked by Anonymous over 6 years ago

I feel that Jackie Evancho is a lovely, talented girl and I am so glad that she is able to share her gifts and inspire people through music. But, she's very young to judge as an opera singer. She's not technically an opera singer at this point anyway. She's a young girl, who sings beautifully as a young girl (young voices frequently have more straight-tone than developed voices. I'm glad to hear that she's not forcing vibrato too often, but seems to incorporate it in her lower register). Her pitch and tone are lovely for the concert work she's doing. An opera singer doesn't use microphones and has to perform roles rather than just songs. From the little that I have seen of her however, I do think she is one of the "pop-era" singers who is actually learning and using classical technique and is putting a great deal of emotion and musicality into her work. Learning songs and working on technique is exactly the right path for someone who is her age now (I'd only recommend starting classical vocal technique around 13 or 14 and doing choral music before that). If she studies with a great teacher and wants to do the work, I don't see a reason that she wouldn't develop into an opera singer.

That being said, we as opera singers work our butts off to do what we do, so it's hard for some of us when people call Jackie Evancho or Josh Groban opera singers. Even though I don't consider what they do 'opera,' I'm very glad that they are introducing a larger audience to music that can be a gateway for more classical music and opera.