As a popular and extremely famous opera singer, I am sure that all of you would like to know my secret. How can you do what you do, you are thinking as you read this. Well, I will tell you, so that we can be famous opera singers together. That is just how nice of a guy I am. When learning an opera I always follow three basic rules, and they have always gotten me through any rehearsal, no matter the show.
1) KNOW YOUR MOTIVATION
Your motivation is “I like singing.”. It doesn’t matter what your character’s motivation is. You are not a character, you are a famous opera singer, and you like singing. As you sing your various roles, going through your head should always be: “I like singing! Sing-Sing-Singing!”. Take, for instance, the famous “Toreador” aria. The words are: “Toréador, en garde ! Toréador ! Toréador !”. This loosely translates to: “Toreador, en garde! Toreador! Toreador!”. That is not helpful, so what you should pretend the words are, is “I like singing. Singy singy sing. I like to sing, sing everything!”. If you are singing a happy song, it should be a joyous proclamation of your love of singing. If you are doing a sad scene, you should be thinking, “How sad that I love singing so much, for I will never make any money, and I will often have rehearsals on important national holidays, such as my birthday, and the Academy Awards.”
2) LEARN YOUR SOLOS FIRST
If you are singing in an ensemble, chances are your colleagues will have learned their parts, so why should you waste your time learning music that no one will be able to hear anyway? In a big ensemble there is so much going on, that as long as you are singing a note in the chord, no one will notice anything wrong. Singing notes not in the chord are also permissible. These are called passing tones, or, if they really sound bad, accidentals. But your solo you should learn very well. This is where you can get the most applause, so it’s very important not to sing any accidentals in these solo sections.
3) WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK A BLOCKING QUESTION
If you find yourself in a rehearsal in which you are expected to sing from memory (often a “staging” rehearsal), it is quite probable that you will forget most of your music. This is easily covered up by asking a blocking question. Let’s say, for example, that you have forgotten the name of your girlfriend, Norina. You could make the embarrassing gaffe of singing “Che adanni miei conguira. Perder N-na, num, ummm, perder no wiener?”. Instead, you should sing the correct line, “Che adanni miei conguira. Perder, wait, should I be facing stage left or stage right at this precise moment?”. Then the director will check their notes, giving you time to remember that it is time for a break.
With these time-tested operatic techniques you absolutely cannot fail to become the next Luciano Pava, hold on, should I be using italics for aria lyrics, or not?