Sunday, March 8, 2009


People wonder why I hate NATS.  Well it is pretty simple.  Stuff like this is subjective, and there are a lot of people who have absolutely no clue of what they speak or write.  Experience will take most people a looooooong way.  But that still doesn't mean you know of what you speak.

Too often, people are blown away by young singers who are totally in your face and seem to be incredibly polished for their age.  Problem is, they just look like they have it together, when in reality, there is a major technique problem.  They have built for the moment and not the long haul.  It sounds impressive right now, but it lasts a short while, and they have no clue what is wrong when muscles decide they won't work like that any more, and they have no clue where to turn, and burn out.

Then there is the problem of dishonesty within the performance.  Very quickly it becomes evident that every movement, every look, every hand gesture has been practiced over and over and there is no honesty in that kind of performance.  There is no real connection to that person's soul.  It is someone else's and they are perfectly content to steal it without putting an asterik by it.

Organic.  Natural.  Honest. And build for the LONG HAUL, not the moment. Those are the ingredients that make real artists.  That is why there are very, very few today. In my opinion, We only have Domingo and Thomas Hampson.  Please don't insult my intelligence by throwing Renee Fleming in my face.  That would make me laugh.  Robert Orth comes to mind very quickly.  

This is one of the problems why the tenor situation is what it is.  Listening to the young tenor yeaterday singing "Che gelida manina".  It should be easy for him, he is a leggiero and his voice sits high.  But the color of the voice definitely is not even for the most lyric of Puccini, even in a small Euro house.  He should have been singing Nemerino (which is still pretty big for him), Rossini's Ramiro or Count Almaviva.  But some moron might hire him just because the c is kinda easy for him and he looks great. It should be easy, the voice is purt near female.  

That is why the folks with DMA's are useless.  98% of them have no experience in the field, and have no real idea of just what the sound is.  If the singer's voice is large, and since they all have issues producing and more than likely are small voiced, they think the singer pushes. They don't realize the pain that the big voices go through to find themselves, to build a solid technique.

Then they get a kid with a very easy top, but doesn't have the color to do anything other than Rossini, light Donizetti, ect, and they think they have found the next Corelli.  That becomes criminal.

And that is another thing.  Funny how Americans are supposed to be the best technical singers on the planet.  No, they are just the most vain. I hear more poor technique that people gush over than I can shake a stick at.  Case in point:  As I judged Musical Theater Advanced High School Men yesterday, the kid that won blew my two fellow judges away.  I was pretty ho-hum.  The kid really loved his sound, you could tell.  He was manufacturing a darkness that was pretty unnatural, and his tounge was on his chords.  The sound was pretty unhealthy. The performance was cold and not very good in my opinion.  

The next singe to come in was Billy Binion from Richmond.  The performance was energetic, and his sound was organic and healthy, not stuck in his throat.  This young tenor had the notes, sent them out, and the kid sang.  It was a joy listening to that voice spin, especially after the Sam Ramey wannabe I had just heard.

But my colleagues still gushed over the baritone.  I looked at them and smiled.  That is why this business has become so crappy in this country.  So many people don't have a clue as to what they are doing, but they will be bowled over by an unhealthy sound that is dark and they think is big in a small room, and they equate as professional.

This is why University and College Presidents should be sued.  They are allowing people who could never be experts to masquerade around like they are.  You don't learn it by sitting on your ass in a library for eight to ten years.  You learn it by doing.  You learn it by suffering.  You learn it by living and breathing it.  

Books are great to read, but they honestely can't teach you a darned thing.

If they ever stood by a real professional on stage a few times, their opinions would definitely change.  but then again, people are always enamoured by the Emperor's new clothes.


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