Theatre & Opera Magazine

The Art of Singing (for Tenors) Part 3

Posted on the 29 June 2011 by Pinkall @pinkall
Aria #3 - Nessun Dorma
We ended yesterday's post with some Lithuanian talent, and unfortunately that leads us to our last aria - let's see if his technique improved as he sings one of the most famed tenor arias of all time in the Semifinal round of Lithuania's Got Talent.  You may want to take your dogs outside now, so they don't howl for 3 minutes straight!

Yes, you saw that correctly.  He got a standing ovation. And, in case you have said "well that didn't sound too bad", let's get some things straight.
Besides the fact that there are thousands of tenors that can sing Nessun Dorma better than that, you probably are considering many other criteria and attributing them to being a "singer". For example, Susan Boyle is an average singer - technically that is - but some believe she is a great singer because of her personal story and that emotion comes across in her performance. It's ok to say that you enjoy her singing because you feel so inspired, but you are likely not separating her technical ability from things that have nothing to do with her voice.  This is really common in pop music - an average singer may be a very gifted performer - and with the help of techno beats and auto-tune, they are a multimillionaire.
The Art of Singing (for tenors) Part 3
Well, tenors, most Americans, as hard as they try, will have difficulty separating singing and performing.  So it is important to be proficient at both!  Some are so bad at determining a great singer that they will insist that Susan Boyle has the best voice ever given to a mortal.  However, from past experience, they are likely just trying to make you mad.  If that's the case, you should ignore them - or if they're family, a nice religious or political jab should do.
By the way, I am completely terrified to hear what Lithuanians actually listen to.  In the end our guy eventually lost to an accordion.  I give him credit for trying, but that just doesn't cut it, except in Lithuanian pop culture obviously.

So what does a tenor do in a world that doesn't know any better?  Well, Pavarotti made this aria a pop culture phenomenon because of his charisma and power and unfortunately many pop stars have tried their luck at it.  People will appreciate music for many reasons, just perhaps not technique - which is a strange thing since people throw around the word "talent" all the time.  In the end, tenors, if you capture someone's emotion beyond their reach of their own capabilities, that's the end game.  Being the best is one thing - being appreciated is another.
If you're not a musician, please take the time to consider technique, before you are "drugged" by the performance.  However, if you are a singer, make sure to always be accepting of peoples' appreciation.  Even though American's aren't the smartest when it comes to art music, they are very generous and have little contempt in their praise.  It can be depressing and lonely when no one appreciates your music like it was intended, but always remember that your performance can touch the inner self of every person out there.  That is the magic and beauty of art.
In the end, being a tenor takes great technique in proper resonance and in breathing, but it also takes a great mind and a performer's mentality to really effect people.  For most, it takes years of tireless practice to come close to being proficient in these things, however there certainly are exceptions.  Some people with little education develop great instruments - still very raw though - here's the story of one such tenor...

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