Pursuing a singing career may have seemed the obvious choice for Renée Fleming—after all, both of her parents were voice teachers—but her path to stardom turned out to be neither direct nor ordinary. Diversions along the way included studying music education and singing jazz. Eventually, however, this two-time Grammy award winner made her way to the top, even if not by the most direct route—although, as she shares in this Classical Singer exclusive, being at the top isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in an audition or competition? Or what the judges have to say once you leave the room? Cristina Necula got an inside look at part of the combined audition/competition AudComps at this year’s Classical Singer Convention. From her insights, as well as those of two of our distinguished judges, you can learn what to do—and what not to do—at your next audition.
After 33 years as head of HGO, David Gockley leaves an award-winning legacy behind as he looks to new opportunities as the recently appointed general director of San Francisco Opera. Here he shares with CS readers thoughts on his own failed singing career, the issue of age for aspiring singers, and some of the secrets to his success.
How many singers would have loved to have quality vocal and dramatic instruction available during high school? Well, Houston Grand Opera has created a program with just that in mind. Karen Reeves shares with CS readers how what was once just an idea for a high school age young artist program has become a reality.
Catherine Heiser will be helping singers with their audition and concert looks at the 2005 Classical Singer Convention May 27-30 in New York City as well as displaying her designs in a fashion show just for classical singers. See page 38 for convention information.
Hailed as history’s most recorded bass, Samuel Ramey is one of the music world’s leading interpreters of the bass and bass-baritone operatic and concert repertoire. His career spans three decades and an astoundingly versatile range, covering practically every musical style, from Handel to Rossini, Bellini, and Donizetti; from Mozart to Verdi; from the Russian and French repertoire to Puccini’s Scarpia and Gianni Schicchi. His most performed role is that of Mephistopheles in Gounod’s Faust, with more than 200 performances to his credit. It is one of the several devil or villain roles that have become one of Mr. Ramey’s calling cards, resulting in his successful concert program: A Date With the Devil.
For four decades, American bass-baritone Simon Estes has touched the hearts of the world’s most demanding audiences through his rich, velvety voice and versatile stage presence. His extraordinary gift—guided by the faith and values instilled in him early on—has taken him on a spectacular journey from artist and teacher to benefactor and cultural ambassador.
"What's your passion?" With that question, conductor James Conlon turned the tables on his interviewer, causing yours truly to be at a complete loss for coherent answers and simply blurt out: "Everything!"
During years of oppression in Romania, the only escape the author's family had was to go to the opera. The opera house opened its doors and became a place of refuge.
One of the greatest artists of our century was happy to talk to CS readers about his career, young artists, older artists and where he sees the art form going.
This rising opera star seemed destined to play a different role- as a Catholic priest- until his mentor who woke him up to his true life's calling.
Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova made her operatic debut in her native country with the Sofia Opera. She came to international attention in 1989, making her first appearances at the Zurich Opera, and only two years later debuting in both Salzburg and Vienna.
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