Over the past year I’ve been blessed to find an excellent voice teacher in Philadelphia: Don Marrazzo.
Yes, we singers continue voice lessons throughout our careers, especially for the operatic/classical voice. And Don teaches both classical and pop vocals styles. He studied at Curtis and also apprenticed with Bill Riley (Celine Dion’s teacher) so he knows how to work both techniques.
Thanks to Don I’ve had some real breakthroughs – for one, I learned how to do a “mixed belt” so I could carry my “chest voice” higher and mix it with head to give it more power. Now we’re focused on something even more exciting with my classical singing …
For years I’ve been a lyric coloratura, which means I sing repertoire that moves fast and goes high. When Don first heard me, he felt I was imposing vibrato onto the voice and not fully engaging my breathing (“support” as it’s called in singing vocabulary.) Well .. what was discovered after we worked on moving me towards a more natural, fully supported voice, was a much warmer, wider, more vibrant sound with a slower vibrato. It sounds full and rich in the lower register especially. And Don said, “you know what, Emily, I think you are a full lyric, not a lyric coloratura.”
What?!?!?!? Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the past weeks Don and I have just been freaking out in the studio hearing this voice come out of my face. (So crazy!!!!) It’s WILD to hear so much sound and color. For those of you that know me, I’m a relatively small and skinny lady, we’re wondering where on earth does this sound come from???
So for those of you who don’t know opera so well, and for those of you that do, the lyric sopranos are some of the biggest prima donnas who get exquisite music to sing. And it’s so exciting to hear that kind of voice come out of my mouth! It’s like a whole new me. Renée Fleming is a lyric, as is Kiri TeKanawa. Here’s is Kiri singing the aria from the lyric repertoire that I am now learning: “Je dis” from Carmen. (Seriously this is crazy exciting for me that I can sing this aria!!!)
A lyric coloratura today that Don references is Sarah Coburn, who apparently has a sound that will “rip your face off” it’s so rich and big. The natural vocal color is the difference.
(Sarah is a bad a** and Don worked with her at Glimmerglass when he ran the young artist program).
So besides the voice coming in, now I need to work on a new way of approaching the coloratura and legato and work on new arias. What a trip, so much new to discover!
Don is now head of Astral Artists in Philadelphia and if you are a pro in need of an excellent classical vocal teacher, he’s your man.
Now back to the weather .. it’s 72 F and sunny!!!