It is no secret that the opera industry is contracting and that there are fewer professional opportunities. But what causes one singer to be in demand over another is not exclusively a special instrument or exceptional vocal technique—rather, the ability to interpret the music and portray character convincingly plays an increasingly vital role in today’s opera industry.
Beyond the Aria: Artistic Self-Empowerment for the Classical Singer provides singers with the tools to develop an inquisitive and analytical mindset about the artistic details found in scores. Neal Goren takes singers through a careful reading of clues provided by the librettist and composer, informed by performance practice, and empowers singers to make their own valid artistic choices. Sample analyses of six standard arias and songs are provided as a guide of characterization.
Chapters also address artistic collaboration and audition strategies. Also included are exclusive interviews with eight great singing actors of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including Jonas Kaufmann, Christa Ludwig, Audra McDonald, and Barbara Hannigan, who share their individual methods for constructing a character.
Neal Goren was the founder and artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera, which popularized and legitimized the formerly ignored genre of chamber opera. Goren’s newest opera venture is Catapult Opera. Goren has conducted standard operas, non-standard operas, and premieres throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a recital accompanist, Goren has concertized extensively with Leontyne Price, among others. He is an associate professor at Mannes College, The New School for Music, and a frequent judge of national and international vocal competitions. His writings on opera and the arts have appeared in numerous books and periodicals.
Having had the opportunity to work with Neal Goren early in my career, I learned so much about musical style. Neal is one of the true geniuses of classical repertoire coaching and his words and ideas have remained with me to this day.