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

Have any classically trained opera singers gone on to have big mainstream success in pop or other genres?

Asked by Meghan over 5 years ago

There are several classically trained singers who have gone into pop, although most opera singers seem to stay on the stage if they use their training for an opera career. And once upon a time, opera singers were the pop stars of their day! Some opera singers still go and do pop albums with limited success (I have a friend who loves Pavorotti's pop album, but wow, I guess it's for a specific audience...) Josh Groban & Sarah Brightman are 2 examples of classically trained singers who have huge pop-ra careers, although neither are opera singers. And Il Volo is a hugely successful group worldwide who sing pop classically. Also, most music theater stars have to train classically in addition to their music theater technique, such as Idina Menzel. Audra McDonald is one of the greatest crossover artists I can think of who uses a classical technique as the core of her work, with a great diversity of music theater, opera, jazz and more. And understanding of classical technique can help every vocalist, even if it's not the style that you want to sing with. I'd be curious to know if there are any metal singers with classical training as I think that style of singing would benefit the most from it. Metal singers' expansive, soaring ranges, story telling, breath support for huge phrases and the power they need for the intensity of performances are the same hallmarks of what makes opera exciting.

Is it possible for a small-town girl with a limited budget to make it, considering the hard work and the passion ?

Asked by Victoria about 6 years ago

Of course! I work with many small town raised singers who came from limited means, some of whom still are based in their hometown.

You absolutely have to do the hard work and have the passion though. It's an expensive field as far as the continual training goes, but find training programs that have scholarships available, apply for grants, once you're at competition level- compete. Assess what you have, what's available around you and where you want to go with your work. If you have a limited budget, I'd recommend finding a church job or teaching voice to offset your own expenses for training/coaches/competitions. Having one 'side job' that's music related that you can use that money alone for singing expenses, you'll feel more structured and will build career skills for yourself. 

I would consider going to a strong vocal program for university as the contacts & networking will be important if you want to stay mainly based in a small town. You'll have to leave the nest for stretches of time. But see what's in your area, and what's lacking- be creative... Maybe there's an opera company you can sing with that's near by and build a resume while staying in your town. Maybe you could start a children's program that teaches kids about opera that would benefit your hometown.

The best thing you can do is make a business plan to see what you have as far as assets and resources, what you'll need to do to accomplish your goals, what seems interesting to pursue, what aspects of the career aren't for you, etc. Once you have your business plan, make a monthly action plan for yourself. 

It's not an easy career, but it certainly is a wonderful one! I wish you all the best. 

What's the learning curve for singing assuming you're just average before seeing any results? Likewise, if you don't practice consistently, do you ever lose all that training?

Asked by Anonymous over 6 years ago

That's a hard question to answer! 

You'll get better based upon the commitment you have to your vocal training and your innate talent. Some people will advance more quickly because they get the right teacher and have a naturally wonderful voice. But you can also blow out a naturally wonderful voice if you don't have the commitment to healthy technique. You do have to practice consisentently to really get your techinque down so that you don't have to constantly think about it during performance. Because your voice is your instrument, it's important to continue to work on your technique- not because you'll lose the training necessarily, but more so because you are a living, changing, growing human and your voice will change due to age, hormones, increasing or decreasing exercise, stress, joy... The great thing about being a singer is that you don't have to lug a huge instrument case with you everywhere. Yet, that also is it's own challenge- your instrument is you!

I'd say that rather than worrying about time, to measure the results you're getting, go into your lessons with specific goals and questions for your teacher. For example, I'm going into a coaching today and am working on a really challenging minimalist aria. So, my goal today is to learn the aria and identify musical patterns during the coaching. After the coaching, I'll go through it and make notes about what expression/emotions/ideas come to me from the musical patterns. By having specific goals, I'm able to monitor my progress better than if I were to have the goal of "learn the aria."

Having goals as an artist will keep you on track for learning progress. If you have a specific goal and want me to give advice on that particularly, please write back!

thanks for your answer
I'm 25 years old,isn't late for learning singing opera?

Asked by Mahshid over 6 years ago

No, the great thing about classical voice is that as you mature, your voice gets better. It's best to start singing a bit earlier so you have more musical knowledge built up, but regardless, if you're passionate about it, go for it! The one thing to consider is that you'll 'age out' of some competitions and young artist programs in the next few years. But you can only start from where you are. Find a private voice teacher and start learning to read music if you don't read already. There are some great online resources for learning to read music. One resource that I'm aware of is https://www.lasightsinger.com/c/beginner-sightreading-lessons, which was created by a wonderful singer and teacher. He does a lot of film scores, jazz, pop, etc, so it's not strictly classical, but you'll learn to read music well from him. And if you want to read more about singing, Opera News is a great publication to read about the business, Classical Singer is another that's more geared towards people earlier in their studies (both available online as well as print magazines) and for vocal technical books, I like Bel Canto by James Stark. There are a ton of great books out there, but it's really best to study one-on-one with a teacher. Good luck!!!

hi
I'm Mahshid from Iran
i like to be an opera singer
but I don't know how can I undrestand that my sound is approprate or not
can you explain about voice?
thanks
Mahshid

Asked by MA over 6 years ago

Hi Mahshid! You simply have to start studying with a teacher to see how your voice can develop. Age plays a major part in what your teacher will have you do. If you are under 14, I'd recommend singing in the best choir you can be a part of in your area. I did a quick search as I'm not familiar with what's available to you in Iran. There is the Tehran Choir and the Tehran Vocal Ensemble. If Tehran is not close or if you're not old enough to audition for them, perhaps call and ask if they can recommend any local choirs or organizations you can reach out to. Also, studying piano or guitar, working on music theory, learning as many languages as you can (German, Italian and French are most important for opera), listening to operas and looking at the scores are all great ways to prepare yourself for singing. And start looking for a teacher. By 14, you can start singing with a private teacher to learn classical vocal technique. Starting in a choir will help you learn to read music, to listen to your colleagues, to learn musicianship and help you develop vocally. Choral singing is usually quite different than operatic classical voice, but you will learn skills that will be extremely useful in your training as an opera singer and you will develop a network of friends and colleagues who will be able to share information with you as to who they like studying with, what other local opportunities there are and such things. Good luck!!!

Hi I really wanted to know if opera singers can smoke or if any how smoking damages a singing voice. Im very curious about that.

Asked by Singer over 6 years ago

It's highly adviseable to avoid smoking and even avoid being around people who are smoking. However, for full disclosure, there are singers who do smoke. If you get throat or lung cancer, asthma or emphasima from smoking, that will clearly effect your ability to sing. Even in less dramatic cases, smoke dries out your vocal cords, which can create mucus and coughing, which doesn't help as a singer. But mostly, you'll have decreased lung capacity, and your ability to sustain your breath over long phrases is very important as an opera singer. I recommend avoiding smoking, but if you must, at least make sure that you observe good etiquette around your other colleagues and smoke in designated areas, or at least far from artist entrances and around your colleagues in general. As someone who has smoke-induced asthma, I am personally sensitive to this issue. But there's a wealth of information from doctors about vocal health online if you need more professional information. 

Can ANYone who has a good voice sing opera, or are there specific techniques and abilities required that make it challenging for some people who otherwise have a good voice?

Asked by TrezChic about 7 years ago

Hello! I'm so sorry I missed your question until now. Anyone can learn the technique of classical singing with a good teacher and commitment to learning. Your voice is the most important element of the success you'll have as an opera singer, but training in technique, musicianship, language skills, expression of the drama or comedy of the music, excellent listening skills and communication with the audience are all vital to the operatic singer.