Theatre & Opera Magazine

Opera Singers Under Water & On Fire!

Posted on the 03 October 2011 by Pinkall @pinkall
I know you all love the "good ol' days" of a brown globe background and the lovely orange links and titles of this old blog.  But as conservative as you may be - "times, they are a changin'".  The simple fact remains: it is somewhat ugly, and since last month saw more visitors to this blog than ever before - I think it's time to change to something more modern.  Soon, this will be the new look for my blog:
You can go ahead and try it out right now, but I am still trying to get all the kinks worked out.
Evidently, I have to step it up in the content department to keep this as entertaining as the last month has been.  Last month alone, I've had readers from 40 countries around the world - visitors from every continent!  Thank you all!  But seriously, I don't know how to top all of the Kauffman Center and Placido Domingo excitement.
But I'll take another shot at it with the help of some German ingenuity.  Anyone who knows me, knows my fascination with anything German (I think it's in my blood).  Well, over the summer, I was told of something crazy going on over there, and I just had to do some research on it.  And what is this showcase of German ingenuity? Underwater Opera!?

I wonder what it was like to audition for the role of Shelf Ice?
Opera Singers Under Water & On Fire!
Obviously the large "environmentalist" overtone cannot be missed with the trash cans on the pool floor.  But a floating-plastic-bag-littering chorus!? - now that is art!  If you didn't catch it (because you don't understand German) they recorded sounds from 100 meters below the sea ice in Antarctica and played a mix of those sounds in the opera itself.   I am seriously impressed in one sense, that there is an area culturally healthy enough to support an endeavor like this.  HOWEVER, this whole thing is quite a strange idea.  Plus, the point of operatic singing is to sing acoustically (without amplification).  I would like to see the audience get some goggles and a snorkeling mask and have to listen to the underwater portions without the use of recording equipment - like the perspective in the following aria.

I was certainly interested to see what else these singers performed.  Low and behold they have made a "Flame Opera" where the characters literally burn themselves alive (with protective clothing, natürlich). I am wondering (and perhaps I should patent this idea) if the composer wrote in coughing attacks, for rhythmic purposes obviously. Take a look:

And then there is the more subtle "Culinary Opera" that uses the sounds of preparing a meal as the accompaniment.

The Flame Opera, awesome! The Underwater Opera, really awesome! But as for the Culinary Opera, I seriously need more ice cream and less nagging!  Watching her complain and cook, I can't help but feel as though I did something wrong, but have no idea what it was or why...guys, you know the feeling.  But the ideas are awesome.  I can't wait to find out what they do next.
Anyway, hopefully that's enough entertainment (torture) for right now.  If you hear of any other odd opera productions, I would love to hear about it - email me at [email protected]
Next week, I will start a segment about my audition process and how I go about preparing and actually performing in an audition - you'll know about all the places that I'm applying to as well.
This week, I will be performing a masterclass with Diana Soviero. She has performed at the Met, La Scala, the Royal Opera house, Paris Opera, etc.  I am very excited, and I will hopefully let you know how that goes as well.
Opera Singers Under Water & On Fire!
Lastly, I wanted to let you know about how this year's KCVI Celebrity Auction is coming along.  Last week, I began contacting musicians, artists, authors, athletes, and other celebrities about donating to the Kansas City Vocal Institute to begin a scholarship in their names, providing voice lessons to area children and families here in Kansas City.  Well, already I have been in talks with the Kansas City Chiefs - nothing official yet, but I'm hoping to hear some good news from them.  However Zubin Mehta (one of the greatest conductors on earth), who donated last year, has contributed again this year to continue his scholarship fund.  This year we will be auctioning an autographed baton from him, and as always, whatever we earn will support his scholarship fund.
Opera Singers Under Water & On Fire!
And the Kansas City Royals have graciously donated to the Kansas City Vocal Institute to begin a new scholarship.  This winter we will be auctioning some tickets for next year's baseball season.  And, if you are not a baseball fan, the Royals are the host for next year's All Star Game.  So it will be an exciting year, and you will be able to bid on those this holiday season.
Opera Singers Under Water & On Fire!
For more, including my upcoming schedule, please visit

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