June 12, 2014

Sing Differently with Michele Troise

Michele Troise 
Eight singers stand in a circle, warming-up their minds and muscles, preparing for a four-hour class that is so engrossing time seems to stop. That it also passes much too quickly speaks to the environment Michele Troise facilitates, one which utilizes "an innovative approach to the art of singing." 

An American in Paris for more than a decade, Michele is a lyric soprano, voice educator and the creator of Sing Differently, which was presented at The National Opera Center and Manhattan School of Music earlier this Spring. Having been invited to the Opera Center event, but not being able to attend, Michele and I made plans to meet before she returned to Paris (both curious about our respective endeavors), which we subsequently did at the Film Forum Cafe at Lincoln Center. That we found ourselves to be birds of a feather and in Paris at the same time a few weeks later seemed a matter of synchronicity. 

Arriving at Michele's Parisian studio a bit early on a cool bright morning, I stopped and picked up a warm croissant and steaming cafe creme,  then sat in the park across the street and thought about what I would see and hear, having already studied various videos on her website. Talking to a voice professional about the art of teaching (and it is an art) and observing their teaching in the studio is a whole other matter, inasmuch as listening to opera singers on an HD broadcast is no substitute for hearing them in live performance. The voice often having a very difference presence, I was curious if I would witness the compelling changes heard online. 

Michele works with the speaking voice before the singing voice (Francesco Lamperti and Manuel García did this too), eschewing the technical terms often found in voice studios—a conscious choice on her part, one born of the observation that they often lead to manipulation which takes the singer away, rather than towards, full expressivity. In this regard, her work, which incorporates research into neuroplasticity, brought to mind my own in psychoacoustics, since both awaken the student's innate ability without recall of anatomy, physiology or acoustics.  

Patient and kind, with a wry sense of humor that put everyone as ease, Michele's instruction brought out the beauty of the person and the music in songs rendered in a vibrant, honest, and intimate manner. The thought crossed my mind that her work echoed that of the Old Italian School, which sought the fior di labbra—the full flowering of tone and word. 

Michele will be presenting Sing Differently in New York City in coming months. That she works equally well with actors as she does singers simply reflects the efficacy of her method, which, as far as I can tell, is unique in the world of vocal pedagogy.

Contact Michele at Sing Differently. 

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