Vocal Observations

Breathing Capacity Last week, I mentioned the way the Bradfordians prepared their performers so that they could better project their voices in a Tithe Barn.  The other exercise they did in the same workshop was designed to increase the performer’s breathing capacity. The exercise was simple but it is effective if practiced; the recommendation was … Read More

40 Voices Challenge #4

Old Man #1 The fourth voice challenge shall be Mr Woodhouse from Jane Austin’s novel, Emma.   Emma was published in 1816 and captures life in the fictional village of Highbury somewhere in Suffolk, which is an agricultural stronghold in the southeast of England.  Sparknotes.com describes Mr Woodhouse as Emma’s father and the patriarch of … Read More


Performing the part of Angeolotti in Puccini’s Tosca as part of Tessitoura’s 2011 production. Photo by Andrew Chinery.

Famously called a “shabby little shocker”, Tosca is a very melodramatic opera with a powerful score and lovely interactions especially between the famous singer Tosca and the villaneous Baron Scarpia.

Angelotti is a relatively small role but he starts the opera by running into the first scene; the Sant’Andrea della Valle church in Rome. Wounded, he staggers around, speaks to Cavaradossi the painter before going into hiding. Although mentioned later on he is essentially a plot device. I played other parts in Act II.

Vocal Observations

Voice Projection For a recent stage performance the Bradfordians (based in Bradford on Avon, England) prepared their actors the daunting task of projecting the voice so that everyone in the auditorium – in this case, a long Tithe Barn – can hear what is being said. John Palmer had us partner up and one half … Read More

40 Voices Challenge #3

Middle-aged man #1 The third voice challenge shall be Edward Fairfax Rochester from Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre.  As with voice challenge #1, I am not familiar with this novel and will need to do some research to better understand the chosen character.  Sparknotes says Edward Rochester has a stern manner and is not particularly … Read More

Gianni Schicchi

Performing the part of Marco in Puccini’s one-act opera Gianni Schicchi as part of Stetorphon Opera’s 2009 production. Photo by Lynsey Docherty.

Gianni Schicchi is about village inhabitants who wish to stop the deceased Buoso’s money going to the monks, so they entrust Gianni Schicchi to resolve their problem.The music and plot is fast and chaotic to mirror the bickering relatives and yet this one act opera also contains the sumptuous soprano aria, ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’.

This was probably the hardest music I have had to learn because the music is mostly ensemble characters interjecting and arguing and the tonality is not predictable. The result was learning all the parts to get the cues and notes right.

Vocal Observations

Warm ups One thing I am finding very useful and which is recommended by both vocal artists and my book (Voice-Over for Animation by Jean Ann Wright and MJ Lallo) is the warm-up. I’m used to doing a brief warm up as part of performing musicals on stage, but hadn’t really considered what was required … Read More

40 Voices Challenge #2

Young Man #1 Character : Lysander from William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. OK, first up I have a confession to make.  I was initially going to try to do Holden Caulfield, the main character and narrator of J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye, but I am simply not ready to produce a New … Read More


Performing the part of Buff in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (Impressario) as part of Stentorphon Opera’s production in 2009-10. Photo by Michael Smith.

This is a one act opera in which two Soprano’s battle it out for the main role in a new opera. Buff is the comical assistant to the director. This is a light role in both music and acting style. It was also when I first tried a yorkshire accent in a performance. A little to broad and mixed an effort, so I dropped it for the remainder of the performances.

For those who don’t know it, I recommend listening to the trio, “Ich bin die erste Sangerin” – wonderful overlapping harmonies.

40 Voices Challenge #1

Boy #1 My first Voice Challenge shall be… Pip (Philip Pirrip), from Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Great Expectations’.  I should say what ‘Boy #1’ means.  In the 40 Voices Table, I have categorised the voices into types and will have a go at each type 5 times, so creating 5 variants.  In this example, this is … Read More