How to Sing Opera

Opera can be a profoundly and highly emotional experience.

As an art form, it has lasted for centuries not only because it often tells an epic story, but because it often touches on the human spirit. Love, loss, betrayal, guilt: a good opera will touch all of these emotions and more. Sometimes, even the language used cannot blunt its impact. After all, audience can build up empathy for a Carmen opera or other characters just by watching and hearing the tones used in the actor’s singing voice.

For these reasons and others, it is easy to get bitten by the opera bug.

Sometimes, learning how to sing in that style will help an audience member appreciate the spectacle on the stage even more. Also, if you have a child that demonstrates vocal talent, you may want to encourage them by not only building an appreciation for the art, but also by having them trained in operatic singing styles.

There are a few highly important things to realize first.

Opera can be very taxing on the body. It requires a strong set of lungs and a voice that modulate to different pitches and notes. Trying to sing opera by yourself may be a little unhealthy, but that is only if you go overboard and try to sing at the volumes heard in the concert hall. Plus, you may end up trying to sing at a level that is unnatural for your body type. So, if you are a baritone and you try to sing at alto soprano levels, you can hurt your larynx as a result. A good instructor will help you not only learn some basics, but find the vocal range that is best suited for you and your body.

Also, an instructor can help you with the proper breathing exercises.

There are some things, though, that a vocal coach can not help you with. A lot of opera is sung in Italian, Spanish, German or French. Since the art form is centuries old, there is not a comparable amount of operas written specifically for English. This is important because if you plan on signing the classics, you need to have a fundamental and basic appreciation for the original language.

Language operates on a lot of different sound qualities.

German, for example, is a high grating and guttural language. There are more hard consonants than what one would find in Italian. Romance languages like Italian or Spanish tend to use words that end in “o” or “a.” All of this will impact how you will be able to sing in that language. For example, it is not uncommon for people to come away from German with a slightly sore throat. Trying yourself ahead of time will allow you to use the language without injuring your voice.

Learning how to sing opera will not make you or your child international sensations overnight, if ever. However, it will take your appreciation for the art and greatly enhance it. This way, attending new productions of classical opera will be less of a passive experience.