February 23, 2017

Bone Breathing 2

In answer to your question, I would say that Lamperti is a successful old charlatan in Milan. His principal hobby is breathing. But in this he is a charlatan. His theory is: "You must inflate the bones and take your breath out of your bones." I believe that this was his original way of defining deep breathing. He had a considerable reputation among Americans at one time, but his professional standing has never been high. Madame Ridenti was a pupil of Lamperti before she failed in New York, in Italian Opera. In 1877-8 she studied with me, hence my information about him. 

K. L. 

"Letter Box," The Voice, January 1884: page 16.


It's not the first time I have come across a reference to Lamperti teaching "bone breathing," another letter appearing on these pages here. Of course, the idea of breathing from your bones is laughable if one is concerned with the physiological process of air entering the lungs. But I have the sense that Lamperti—if he indeed told students to inflate their bones—was not talking about the physiological process of air entering the lungs inasmuch as he was directing the student's attention to the feeling that is experienced when inhaling deeply for 18 seconds with the mouth closed—which was also his teaching. What happens? The inquiring mind observes the muscles of the body lift—a sensation that can also be understood as inflation. What brings the sensation into being? Two tiny muscles within the ear.

But back to the letter above. The writer is incorrect: Lamperti was considered—along with Manuel García—as one of the two most famous voice teachers of the 19th century. 

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