Working with young spirits in die Zauberflöte
As a young singer, my greatest natural ability was that of communicator. It was always easy for me find great depth of feeling in poetry set to music. This sounds like it should be a good thing. Shouldn't we allow ourselves to be touched by the music we sing? Of course we should. How can the listener be touched if we are not? In point of fact, I often found myself ( or my throat ) tied up in knots when moved through a landscape of emotions by great music. Experience has taught me that physical manifestation of emotions often spells disaster for a singer.
The fact is, if we desire to take the audience along with us on a journey, to move them through the emotional landscape of our story, we must learn the discipline of believable expression while remaining physically free to do our job and sing beautifully. This is what I teach, whether in my Acting in Opera class at MSU Denver, or in the context of directing a production. I work with singers as they research and discover the person of their character to learn what big emotions look like in the face and in the body and discover the secret of expressing those emotions in the context of physical freedom.