Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Paths to Expression

There are different paths to expression. I have been urging that a path be sought, that singers should remember the necessity to express and not merely to make beautiful sounds, but different composers, different eras, different personalities lead to different modes of expression.

The life of a professional singer usually consists of going from conductor to conductor, from coach to coach with each trying to impose his interpretation on the singer. It may in certain situations be necessary to resist this.

What is this about? You may have been wondering. This is part of worrying about Ben Heppner. The big voices in the heaviest repertoire must seek their own path.

The ideal for Wagner is the work of Kirsten Flagstad, a singer of awesome expressive abilities who expressed at the level of whole phrases, who made meaning in large masses while hardly seeming to notice the individual notes.

It is necessary in the heavy repertoire to stay safely within ones own limitations, to scale the performance to ones own voice. To withstand the conductor means knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and sticking to them.

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