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Subject: Singing Technique
From: Stefan Zucker <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Stefan Zucker <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 20 Nov 2012 11:27:52 -0500

text/plain (64 lines)

For background about Joseph Schmidt please visit, where I hold forth on film about him.

If you want to see his tongue go up, visit to view his "Una furtiva lagrima."

Theresa, on a couple of occasions I've watched Magda sing from four feet away. For example, in October 1996, I audited a master class she gave at the Amici del loggione, of La Scala. A student sang "Poveri fiori," with Olivero seated in the auditorium, on an aisle. When the student was done, while remaining seated Olivero sang the piece. I was seated on the opposite side of the aisle.

Dr. Marc Alan Innes, you disagree with Jean de Reszke, who held that the palate should be up only sometimes. (See his assistant Walter Johnstone Douglas's “Jean de Reszke’s Principles of Singing,” reprinted in “Clara Leiser's de Reszke bio.)

My point isn't that Jean de Reszke's right and you're not, but that when it comes to singing technique it's possible to find an eminent authority to contradict just about any pronouncement one might make. One would do well not to box oneself in with one God, one country, one singing technique.

Domingo? He uses mask placement. There's of course nothing unusual in that.


On Nov 19, 2012, at 8:54 PM, Ashley Adams wrote:

> Hi Stefan - thank you for your response.
> Of course, singers have good days and bad days. Sometimes, when pushing 
> too much or singing unsuitable repertoire, a jaw may shake - I have seen 
> Fleming's do it on rare occasion. Pavarotti's did at the end of his career. It is 
> about consistency. 
> However, I would say that no, Domingo did/does not have the best technique 
> out of all the tenors that have ever sung, and I think many would agree. Yes, 
> he is famous, but what does that mean? One may wonder at whether his 
> voice - as amazing as it was and is - could have been improved upon in terms 
> of resonance - if he had addressed that tongue tension. 
> I do not know Joseph Schmidt's singing, and it will take some time to 
> familiarize myself with it; would it be possible to provide any video evidence of 
> his tongue tension? Perhaps it began to happen when he was older?
> Also, could you tell me where to find evidence of Olivero's tongue tension? 
> She was a stunning technician. I would wonder what repertoire she was 
> singing when it happened, and how old she was when you witnessed this 
> (although at 103 years old on youtube I saw nothing shaking). 
> As for how a person can tell if this anything seems tense: most recital halls 
> are fairly small; also if you are sitting rather close. Youtube, DVDs, and the 
> broadcasts help, too. 
> The reason I bring this up is because to my way of thinking, part of what is 
> amazing about opera is the virtuosity that it requires. Technical genius CAN be 
> attained through practice and work, with the guidance of intuition and a 
> desire for ease and freedom. When I see a singer overtly disregarding health, 
> it causes me to question their artistry. I offer two ultimatums for discussion 
> (and disagreement): Singing should not be to the detriment of a voice.  The 
> healthiest singing will serve the music the best. 

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