August 22, 2013

From the Archives and Beyond: Arthur de Guichard, Ida Caron & the Lamperti School

It's a very curious thing to find one's work when looking for something completely different and realize that one has forgotten all about it. Such was the case when I found a copy of VOICEPrints (I was the founding editor) from 2008 in which I had written an article about a member of The New York Singing Teachers Association who had studied with Lamperti. You can find it here. (I have also placed a link in the right hand column where other articles I have written for the same publication can be found.) 

Here's the deal. If you don't toot your own horn, well...no one is going to hear what you have to say. Speaking of which: I once interviewed a very well-known soprano (who has since retired), who told me that she was brought up with the mindset that one should not put one's self forward. She rather regretted this towards the end of her career. Why? It was a false premise to think that it was bad to "put it out there." She thought she might have had greater opportunities if she hadn't held back on self-promotion. 

The idea that one is only good enough if others recognize how good you are and push you forward? Guess what? That only happens to outstanding voices, the kind of which- I have to tell you- are quite rare. As it is, you can have a fabulous voice and have to fight for air! Why? There may be something missing in the "package."  

When I was hired at New York City Opera, I was told outright that I was hired because I fit the costume. Tis true. Yes, I could sing - and yes- I didn't look bad either. But from the costume department's point of view, I was a hired because I fit their specifications. I had the "package" that was required, and was in the right place at the right time.

Back to the brass section. There is a way to toot your horn without being obnoxious about it. In my case, that means giving the reader useful information. What one doesn't want to do is be the person at the party who can't talk about anything but themselves: "Enough about me! What do you think of me?" That gets boring pretty quick! 

Enjoy the article! When I read it again, I was struck by how the Lamperti School emphasized breathing. Of course, that was the focus of my last post. 

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