ITALIAN TECHNIQUE OF SINGING
For us, practice before the stage is of paramount importance. There are numerous things that we have to be careful about on the stage. Therefore, having a healthy and a correct technique of singing will help us immensely. The basis of Italian technique of san is the correct use of diaphragm, the production of high positioned voice (suono), and the natural match of these two. With a proper technique of san, we can both extend our artistic life span, and maintain the health of our vocal cords, keeping them fresh. A good portion of voice and throat related sicknesses are caused by improper use of our vocal cords and the muscles surrounding them. The voice we produce must be “brillante” or shinny at all times. And the breath, as supported by the diaphragm, must be at the right dosage that would vibrate the vocal cords without a strain on the cords. Most san trainings advise you not to push the voice, and this is of course the right thing to say. Yet, if we do not know how to utilize this mechanism properly, it is inevitable for us to push the voice. For this reason, it is important to use the Italian technique on voice.
Interpretation is the most important topic of opera. It is the theatrical key stone within the the art of opera. Knowing HOW to say what you are saying. As opposed to the theatre of the prose, we are tied to the music, specifically in terms of time due to the ongoing music. Therefore, we must act in full harmony with musical phrases. Contrary to what is generally exercised, opera is not the art of producing high pitched voice; instead it is the art of interpretation. Both in the history of opera, and in contemporary scenes, we can see many singers that have achieved wonders thanks to their ability to interpret, despite not having the advantage of voice. furthermore, many singers with great voices have underestimated the importance of making music and interpretation, which ended their musical carriers after a certain limit. If music, theatre and interpretation are at the core since the early stages, technical challenges can be overcome.
PHONETICS IN ITALIAN AND DICTATION
The correct usage of language gives a significant edge to the singer. When combined with the correct use of language, an above-the-breath style of singing that is supported by the diaphragm, the issue of not being able to understand what is said – a common complaint by the audience – is eliminated. Correct pronunciation of Italian is not enough on its own. Correct use of accent and an in-depth study of Italian phonetics are also necessary. The correct use of open and close vowels, and the correct use of consonants without impeding the legato add to the quality of the opera singer. As Alfredo Kraus, who is an expert on these topics as well being a perfect tenor himself, says the members of the audience who is sitting in the back rows has equal right to hearing and understanding words. It is worth noting that the stage is a magical platform. With little effort, correct breath technique and good pronunciation, our voice transcends all boundaries towards hearts. Italian is the language of drama; musical terminology derives from Italian; and there is always someone who speaks Italian in operas around the world. Our advice to people who wish to perform this form of art is that they should be ope singers who are competent in Italian language.
COMPOSERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY AND ” RECITATIVO SECCO”
18th century composers are at the core of Italian opera singing. In general, operas had basic melodic structure; the story line and the theathrical timings were given through “recitativo”s, and the characters expressed their emotions through arya’s, duet’s and konsertant’s. Operas and the characters were derived from Commedia dell’arte, the traditional Italian art theatre. For example, Figaro as a character is “Arlecchino”, while Bartolo is “Pantalone” and Susanna is “Colombina”. Each one has its own characteristics. Figaro / Arlecchino plays a big role is in parts that display change such as introduction, development and resolution. Susanna / Colombina is the young girl in love. Bartolo / Pantalone is the gentleman who gets ridiculed for his sternness and stubbornness. Puccine, in contrast to operas of Verdi, may appear to be simpler in terms of vocalization, but requires great attention. Recitativo stems from the Italian verb “recitare”. Recitare means to act. Recitativo’s are the spots that the play is highly dense with theatrical elements. In order to recitativo properly, one must avoid undue darkening of the voice and one must sign from the natural spot of speech with the support of the diaphragm. In the simplest explanation, a recitativo is a musical speech. 18th century composers such as Baldassare Galuppi, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,Giovanni Paisiello and W.A.Mozart reflected the natural melody of the Italian daily spoken language via their recitativo’s. a singer who can sing the 18th century operas has high advantage for intonation, interpretation and musicality.
Character analysis is commonly neglected. In important theaters of Europe, rejisor sits with the singers to analyze characters prior to rehearsals.Personality traits, the socio-economic status, psychology of the the character that you are acting, and the sociology of the era that the character lived needs to be analyzed to attain a proper interpretation. For example, when singing the Figaro in Rossine, Seville Barber we have to be “brillante” which manful of life and joyful. When interpreting Violetta, the main character of La Traviata of G. Verdi, we must be aware of the requirements of interpreting a high end prostitute who perhaps for the first time in her life falls in love so as not to end up with an average performance. Similarly, Cavaradossi in Tosca by G.Puccini is a rebellious artist who does not relinquish the ideals at the risk of losing his life while Scarpia is a merciless yet elegant member of the Sicilian aristocracy. And all these personality traits must be conveyed in our voice and interpretation.
A succesfull Opera singer is good at using these three tools;
Language , Music and drama!