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Brexit - How will non-UK opera singers be affected?

Mar 12, 2019

This article by Zenaida Desaubris first appeared in Classical Singer on March 7, 2019

The word Brexit conjures up all sorts of horror scenarios for anyone thinking of doing business in the United Kingdom after March 29, 2019. As of right now, Brexit is a moving target, with this topic being top of the agenda in UK and EU politics every day.

Important: If you are planning a trip to the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) after March 29, 2019 for any purpose other than just a tourist visit, be sure to inform yourself at the nearest UK consulate as to the current legal requirements or on the British Embassy’s website https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-washington

A quick recap: In June 2016, the Brits voted in a popular referendum in favor of the UK leaving the European Union* by March 29, 2019. However, there is really no deal set on the “how to leave” in place as of March 4, 2019.

The UK has been a member of the EU,...

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Interview with Spanish vocal coach and author Isabel Villagar

Dec 05, 2018

In the first of a series of interviews with experts in their field, I have asked the Spanish vocal coach and author Isabel Villagar about how her work with young singers and especially how to prepare them for auditions. She has written six important books in Spanish about singing, covering topics such as singing in a chorus, singing with children, etc. 

  1. How did you get started in music?

Ever since I was a child, there was music in my life. I sang in the school’s choir and then I studied piano and singing, ending up with both diplomas. When I was eighteen I went to university to study engineering. Science has given me a scientific approach to teaching singing. Many members of my family are teachers and I think I have a teacher’s soul. Maybe that’s the reason why I studied singing pedagogy for four years, finishing with honors. I have always put together my career as a singer and singing teacher. 

  1. There is a saying attributed to a general...
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Always be a winner when taking part in a vocal competition

Nov 14, 2018

The chances of winning one of the first three prizes at a vocal competition are 1% on average. How can you then always be a winner when you take part? It’s not all about money! Read on and find out how you can benefit.

  1. Reconsider/reconfirm: Now is the time to be honest with yourself and reconsider your pledge to yourself about having chosen this career path. If you decide to continue on it, great, this experience strengthens your resolve and you can move on. If you decide to opt-out, that’s fine too, now you can open yourself up to the many other opportunities and challenges that make use of all that you have learned and experienced so far. It’s your life and you must feel comfortable with the decision.

  2. Experience with choice of repertoire: What you prepare for a competition will come in useful for other auditions. It pays to not only learn the aria musically but to also understand the dramaturgical context. Do seek out a coach who can help you to get to know...
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Where the energy goes, the mind flows

Jun 14, 2018

The quote is not from me*, but I have made it my own because it is so true and perfectly expresses my philosophy. Just like driving a car, you have the road ahead, focus your energy on steering in the direction of your destination and voilà – sooner or later you arrive.

And what does this have to do with your career in music or opera? A great deal!

No doubt you have heard about the technique of visualization, of imagining right down to the last detail where you want to be, what you want to do. Singing on the stage of the Vienna State Opera - here I come!

Well, fixing your mind on this image will help to steer you in that direction if you do it consistently, actively and consciously. How best to master all of that will the be subject of another blog post.

However, “where the mind goes” presupposes that you know where you want to go in the first place. What are your goals? In the short term? In the long term?

Realistically? Not realistically?

Here’s a...

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Be true to yourself

May 10, 2018

Has anyone told you – you sound like Maria Callas, Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland, or Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Martti Talvela? That’s great and, since it is a real compliment because these were all amazing artists, be sure to thank the compliment giver.

But … is it really what you want to become? Someone who sounds like a great opera star of a bygone era? If it is, stop right here an go onto the next blog post, because today we will deal with individuality and uniqueness of sound.

Our opinion is that today’s singers seem to sound very similar. The color of their voices is often beautiful but bland. In the last few years, there have even been academic studies done to determine if there has been a decline in “heavier” voices necessary for Verdi and Wagner*.

For the purpose of this blog post, our viewpoint is that you, as a young singer starting out, should pay close attention to your individual timbre and cultivate it.

The important thing...

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What makes a good opera agent

Apr 11, 2018

Now that you have a shiny new diploma from your Music Academy or Music School, you are probably thinking – next step, ‘”get an agent who will represent me and do all the business work and set me on my way to becoming an opera star”. It may not be quite as easy as that and if you have been looking outside your academic shell, you probably know this already.

 First of all, let’s take a look at what makes an ideal agent (I will use he and she interchangeably, without prejudice for either male or female):

  • Has excellent communication skills. The ability to present, to sell, a young opera singer must come from strong belief in that individual’s ability.
  • Has excellent contacts in her territory. That may be one country, an entire continent or a group of countries with the same language – Germany Austria and Switzerland, for example. These contacts and her networking abilities will ensure that she gets contacted whenever new opportunities...
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