September 2009

Natalie Dessay takes you to Drama School

Natalie Dessay, one of the foremost sopranos of this generation, began in the lighter coloratura roles. Now moving into the fuller soprano repertoire, as seen in her debut as Violetta in Santa Fe’s 2009 summer season, Dessay continues to delight audiences in the U.S. and abroad. Classical Singer’s Amanda White met up with Dessay in Santa Fe to discuss her recent debut, her theater training, and how she finds the delicate balance between acting and singing.

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?

Ask Erda : Traveling Right

Last month Erda opined on the virtues of traveling light. This month she tells you how to travel right, with everything you need to know from booking your ticket, to sailing through airport security, to enjoying the perks of being a frequent flier.

Acting & Dancing for Singers

Find out what general directors expect of singers when it comes to acting and dancing on stage, and learn what universities are doing to help prepare students to meet those expectations.

The Tech-Savvy Singer : What Not to Tweet

What is Twitter, how do you do it, and how do you not do it?

Singing For Your Supper?

A pretty voice might not be enough. Know how to market yourself in the ever-changing and competitive business of singing.

Learning to Play Nice

In a profession where competition runs extremely
high, it’s the little things that often make the difference. Attitude is one of those seemingly little things that can actually determine whether you work or don’t, as well as how pleasant your life is when you are working. Regardless of where you are in your career—just beginning your freshman year or completing your fiftieth professional gig—these thoughts on attitude are for you.

Read Up! : Evoking Sound: The Choral Warm-Up

This new monthly feature in CS brings you book reviews for all facets of a singer’s life. This month, find out how a new book on healthy choral singing helps singers achieve a healthy, free sound in a choral environment.

The $50 Week : Watch Your Language

An important part of a singer’s education—both while in school and after—is proficiency in the basic operatic languages. Olivia Giovetti shows singers how to economically continue their study of languages at any age and stage of life.

Nine to Thrive : Building Your Freelance Career with Michelle Goodman

Michelle Goodman isn’t a singer. She has never worked for an opera company. Nor does she represent artists of any kind. And, yet, you may find her to be one of your best resources.

The Art of Revolution

Daniel Helfgot, the Classical Singer 2009 Stage Director of the Year, talks about creativity, progress, and why a score, with all its details, is a terrible thing to waste.

Center Stage : A Spotlight On Those In the Classical Singer Community

Center Stage spotlights a Classical Singer reader in each issue. If you would like to be featured, go to, click on “Center Stage” and follow the instructions.

From the Editor : 'Advance' Degrees?

While planning the annual back-to-school September issue you’re now holding in your hands, I sought out interviewees for April James’ article on hiring agents’ perceptions of advanced degrees. I contacted


Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear your response and reaction to the articles published each month, as well as your view on the classical singing community. Contact us via e-mail at or by mail at Classical Singer magazine, P.O. Box 1710, Draper, UT 84020.

Bulletin Board : News, Tidbits, Musings and More

. . . And the Show Continued to the End American soprano Joyce DiDonato was singing Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia on opening night at London’s Royal Opera House

What a DMA or PhD Says about You

If you have a doctorate degree or are considering earning one, read what five general directors and one manager have to say on the subject.

Countdown to Liftoff : How to Prepare to Launch Your Singing Career

Find out what you need to do during school so that, with diploma in hand, you’re ready to really start your singing career.

Practicing 101 : Ten Tips for Making the Most of Your Time between Lessons

A singer and voice professor, who started out as a pianist, shares insights on the how-to’s of effective practicing. Find out how to make the most of those moments in the practice room, including ways to practice without even opening your mouth.

More Than Words : Making Music with Language

Professors from six major universities weigh in on what helps to set singers apart in a college entrance audition when it comes to language, diction, and meaning.

Ten Steps to Selecting a Winning Audition Program

At the Classical Singer Convention last May, judges commented that many singers at every level, from high school to professional, were singing inappropriate repertoire. Read on to find out how you can avoid this far too common faux pas and know what songs are the right ones for you.

Acing the Grad School Application Process

Don’t be caught unawares come December 1 when graduate applications are due. Find out everything you need to know to begin preparing now.

Solo and Choral Singing : Are They Different

Nearly all voice majors will sing in a choir at some point during their education. Voice teachers’ and choral teachers’ opinions about the effects of choral singing vary greatly. A voice teacher and a choral instructor, both from Eastern New Mexico University, give their viewpoints on a few of the issues that affect the singer in a choral setting.