Is There a Good Reason Opera Singers Sing the Way They Do?

Question:

Is There a Good Reason Opera Singers Sing the Way They Do? Opera singing seems rather contrived. I find the tone and excessive vibrato exceptionally grating. What is the reason for these strangely forced vocal techniques if they don’t actually make a voice sound better?”

Answer:

Haha, GREAT question. I felt exactly that way. I come from a family of 4th generation musicians and classical singers, and I wanted NOTHING to do with the whole thing. I thought it was sooo over the top. (The only opera I really loved was the Magic Flute because of the story.)

That being said, when I had my major health crisis—because I was so shy and introvert, I got really sick—I had to learn to sing. Deepak Chopra told me back then: If you want to heal, you HAVE to learn to sing, speak up, and express yourself!

So I spent years listening to opera singers (it’s called payback, haha), because the way they sing is actually the way we’re all designed to be able to sing.

Here’s my thoughts:

  • Opera singers use their FULL body, full breath, and entire vocal range. We are trained to be as holistic as possible. When you train that way properly, it is literally athletic, like being an athletic.

Athletes use their body, and you might say, well, I don’t really like those MUSCLES, yuck, why, that looks so body-builderish, and artificial.

Is it? Really? Not for the athlete who uses their full body. I feel that using our full voice and breath is something we actually all have a right to do.

  • Maybe it’s the fact that when they sing they seem to be so expanded and emotionally expressive that this scares us. Most of us live in our own world, with our own emotions, often feeling trapped by them.

How about we blow the whole thing out of proportion, so we are so large, and expanded that we can feel and express all our emotions more freely, and overall be happier?

  • When the breath and voice work the way they’re originally designed as they are in babies, the vibrato is a natural function of the motor—the tummy muscles and diaphragm—working properly. When that motor works, the throat can be open, and the vocal cords flutter about effortlessly without being pushed or controlled, as they can be in straight singing.

I agree with you, it’s a VERY acquired taste, haha, so I totally get your aaaaaak feeling about it. Good thing is:

You don’t HAVE to become an opera singer, and not even LIKE opera. You can (and frankly should) still reap the benefits of that kind of singing, even if it’s in the comfort of your own home, for a few minutes or even seconds a day. Treat it like a work out.

  • Research shows: your immune system gets strengthened, your lung capacity increases, your emotional well being benefits, you feel happier, more energetic, more confident and overall, less mopey. Believe me, the many times I cured my “mopes” simply by strutting around the room in an exaggerated style, singing a dramatic operatic scale for a few seconds, I can’t even count!

Try it! If you feel silly doing it? Good! You’re on your way to being healthier and happier. 🙂

So, enjoy your full voice, it’s yours to use as your tool! Walk around your room pretending to be one of those “full of themselves” (in a good way, actually) opera singers, and see how it affects how you feel. We all need to play more to be healthier and happier, and using our full voice and breath are a way to do that. Enjoy, and thanks again for this very legit question!

 

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