Take Care to Care

In the first video I notice that the line seems to be pretty good, but then again, it all sounds good to me. I haven't yet trained my ear to hear beyond this point of good phrasing, good dynamics, good etc. What exactly do I need to do to take a person to the next level? I have no idea, but for now I can definitely tell whether or not he or she is singing well or not. At least I think I can for the most part. I can hear when something isn't right, however, my ability of focusing on what the cause may be hasn't yet been honed. But it sounds nice to me. I didn't see anything wrong with it. Is it MET worthy, I don't know. Maybe perhaps. I would hate to say no, but find out he won MET years ago or something lol.

Let's talk about phrasing and line. Listen to Cesare Siepi sing O Isis Unt Osiris


The Spot

The first video focuses on American Bass Jerome Hines. First off, I could tell how his speaking voice sounds because the tones that he's producing sound as if he's elongating his speech patterns. Nothing seems forced of manufactured. Nothing but normal, healthy tones. I could also hear the squillo that everyone talks about. That's something I'm really focusing on this semester. One of my remarks from the MET competition was that I didn't have enough resonance in my sound, and how it just needed to be more forward. The good news is that at the tender age of 26, I finally accepted the fact that I'm a baby bass, and it's okay. I don't have to try and sound like I'm 40, because I'm not. So I'm looking for the squillo to start introducing itself to all of my new repertoire. What a sad story about Tatiana Troyanos however. She really had a beautiful gift. The sound was very focused and forward. Honestly I couldn't tell if she was a mezzo or soprano if I was never informed. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or if that's just a personal issue for me. As she prepares for her high notes, you can hear that the lower notes are sung in the space of the highest note of the phrase. In Essence making it sound super easy. Leontyne Price is a stunning! I did notice how she left her chest voice to better focus more on her upper register, but it didn't sound out of place which, at times, can be an extremely difficult thing to pull off. There was no way that she could've made it up there that high without abandoning her chest voice voice. Wouldn't it have been too much weight?

Listen as Nicolai Ghiaurov finds "the spot" in Il Lacerato Spirito. The resonance is excellent!




Battle and Norman

In the first video of the two beautiful ladies, Kathleen's style of singing is really committed to the art of gospel. There are lots of slides and drags in her line that make it really sound authentic. Yet, at the same time she keeping that space and connection. Now Jessye's style is more toward the classical realm. She still keeps this huge open space directing her sound forward out into the audience. She still manages to keep the glissando style of gospel music in her lines. In other words, Kathleen is more gospel here, while keeping a classical approach, while Jessye is more connected classically than gospel, however she stills pulls off the style correctly. THEY SINGING!!!!!!! When Jessye sings Ride On King Jesus, I can't believe all the space that she consistently creates. Not one note was sung without the proper space and connection. The last note at the end was heavenly. I noticed that her mouth was probably as wider singing on that [a] vowel than any other vowel preceding it. That's one great instrument. Kathleen is sensationally astounding. I find her ability to authentically switch different styles are absolutely unmatched. No matter what style she sings, the space and connection stays the same. Unlike Jessye, Kathleen doesn't sing with the wide vowel space, but somehow is still able to be very forward. If you were to listen to these two on mute, Kathleen looks like she mimicking a comedian or telling a story about something that stinks because she scrunches her face a lot. On the other hand, if you were to look at Jessye, then would would probably think that she's either really tired (because she keeps yawning) or that she's preparing for a dental visit. All in all, these women are spectacular to say the least.

Sam Ramey singing Ella Giammai M'amo (starts at 3:00) his high E on "non amor" is life changing.


Keep It Plaint - Keep It FLowing

Bonney [a] vowel tends to take on a myriad of shapes (especially through her melissmas) but somehow has the ability to maintain a consistent vowel sound. I'm not sure how she pulls this technique off, but it works for her. Perhaps vowels modification is something that all singers must play around with. I also notice that during her tight melissmas (notes floating around no more than an interval of a perfect fourth) her mouth is more closed singing on the [a] vowel, however, when there is a sudden leap in the music directing her to sing higher, her mouth widens more and more to give her more space to the upper register. Commonly as singers, when we think high in register, we psychologically believe we should squeeze, and make a smaller space, when in fact, it's the complete opposite of what should be exercised. 

Polenzani has a really weird but gorgeous [a] vowel sound. On the high corta sung in the early stages of the aria sounded like a mixture of a pure [a] vowel sound and [u] as in "uncle". This seems to really work wonderfully for him. I believe that it was a slight cover that possibly made the [u] vowel present on the high note. Again, like Bonney, the higher he sings in the register, the wider his mouth becomes. Now this is either a really good technical concept approach to singing healthy in the upper parts of the voice, or this very well may be just one big coincidence. I'll take my bets on it being a staple of having a good technical approach to singing in the upper registry.

Good [A] Vowels from Nicolai Ghiaurov; Click here to view

[a] Humbug

Cecilia Bartoli sounds absolutely amazing. But yes, I do believe that she has to do what she needs to do in order to produce a particular sound that's pleasing to most if not all. Kathleen Battle [a] is on the brighter side and very forward resting on her hard palate. Though her facial expressions could probably directed traffic alone, it seems to not interfere with the production of the [a] sound. Justin Timberlake's and Morris' [a] vowel is more [uh]. I strongly believe that a more conscious [a] vowel could keep the integrity and beauty of the word "hallelujah". However, I'd probably still listen to it over and over again.

Sidenote: Here's a video of Kurt Moll playing Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail.