Lisa Houston

Lisa Houston

Lisa Houston is a writer and dramatic soprano who divides her time between Berlin and Berkeley. She recently performed Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra and the title role in The Last Diva on Broadway with the Leipzig Kammeroper. She can be reached at

Keeping Up with the Jones : Part II

Read more from Warren Jones in this continuation of Lisa Houston’s interview with this collaborative pianist extraordinaire.

Inspirazione! : A Singer's Many Families

Family can be so much more than simply those to whom you are genetically tied. Be inspired by the powerful, unifying effect of music making that can create family ties among the most different of people in a whole host of settings.

Inspirazione! : The Singer and the Poet

To be a poet is to speak for the group by giving voice to our collective emotions and stories—and, as singers, it is our job to interpret and express those stories. As we start the New Year and begin our song again, it might be a good time to look at this important relationship. Let’s hear what the singer’s next-of-kin, the poet, has to say about us.

Inspirazione! : Opera's Most Liberating Moments

With the coming of the holiday season and the end of one year and the beginning of another, find inspiration through three operatic moments to leave the past behind and embrace the future.

It’s All About Approach : An Interview with Jeffrey Thomas

Jeffrey Thomas, cofounder and sitting conductor of American Bach Soloists, shares his insights on what it takes to truly excel as an early music artist.

Inspirazione! : The Incomparable Judy Kaye

While in San Francisco performing her Tony Award-winning role as Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir, two-time Tony winner and all-around non-diva Judy Kaye held a masterclass, teaching alongside her husband of 21 years, actor and acting coach, David Green. Lisa Houston had the pleasure of both singing for the class and seeing Kaye perform. Here are a few bits of wisdom she picked up during this latest leg of Kaye’s amazing journey in the world of musical theatre.

Inspirazione! : Mamet for Singers

“Acting for Singers” is increasingly a topic included in conservatory curricula, but the name itself is misleading. It implies that acting and singing are two different endeavors, and that singers, by the nature of what they do, are not actors. Frederica von Stade once said in a masterclass that singers are essentially storytellers, nothing more. What is essential for singers to know about how to be a good storyteller and where, in the vast array of writings and techniques available to actors, should a singer turn?

Inspirazione! : Equitable Solutions: A Singer's Guide to Actor's Equity

Singing jobs are scarce enough without limiting your options. If you’ve done enough homework to know you feel comfortable vocally in musical theatre repertoire, then it may be time to pursue work there. The union that governs the contracts for this work is Actor’s Equity—and to have an Equity contract, you need to be a member of that union. Here’s what you need to know about how, why, and when to join.

The Importance of Being Yourself : Lessons from Westminster

What is it that makes a performer stand out and be admired? Technique? Acting ability? Beauty? Sure. But there is something that audiences value above all else, something that no one can teach you: being comfortable with yourself.

Inspirazione! : Join the Chorus

Get the lowdown on chorus work. How much work is there? What does it pay? What are the pros and cons, financially and artistically? Pursuing professional chorus work is an opportunity to get to know the singing industry better and a valuable chance to look at yourself as an artist and ask: What do I want? What’s important to me, and where can I find it?

Inspirazione! : Leaving 'Die Tote Stadt'

Once in a while, when the stars are aligned, when the director, conductor, singers, and designers are all on the same page and of the same skill level, opera has the potential to become what the composer in Ariadne auf Naxos calls “die heilige unter den Künsten” (the highest of the arts). What follows is not a review, but an appreciation of one recent occasion where singer and writer Lisa Houston saw that potential realized, causing her to reevaluate the possibilities for the art form of opera.

The Singer’s Autobiography : Get Your Information- and Your Inspiration- from the Horse's Mouth

Aspiring singers are always looking for clues on how to achieve success, so it’s natural to seek and find a community of other aspiring singers for support. In many instances, however, such relationships are a bit like the blind leading the blind. For gaining a deep understanding of what the singer’s life entails, you can’t find a better source than first-hand information from singers who are doing it, or have done it—and the most detailed accounts are in successful singers’ autobiographies. Here are some tidbits from three autobiographies by singers whose careers span the past 80 years.