Sarah Long Holland, Development Manager, New England Foundation for the Arts at Boston, USA, conducted a workshop in operatic singing at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) Sunday evening.
In her lecture, Holland highlighted the role of theatrical talent alongside the voice and aptitude for becoming a successful opera star.
Talking about opera as a career in the US, she said: “We start very early because that is the best way one’s voice can be moulded in the desired fashion.”
“We have to study history and four languages (since most operatic pieces are in Italian). We have to be well acquainted with history because opera is all about conveying feelings and events. So we have to be well up in history and literature.”
She also highlighted the indispensable importance of make-up and stage lighting while staging an opera.
In her rich, floating soprano (the highest singing voice), she sang three pieces: an aria (a long accompanied song for a solo voice in an opera or oratorio) from the opera Tosca by Puccini, and from two American operas, Susannah by Carlyle Floyd, and Porgy and Bess by Gershwin.
She also demonstrated the technique of transiting from the lowest to the highest note and highlighted the role of the vocal cords and manoeuvring of the diaphragm while singing for opera. She also demonstrated breathing techniques to induce stamina for singing long pieces.
Among the leading opera houses in the US, she named the New York Metropolitan Opera (New York Met); the Lyrics Opera, Chicago; and the Los Angeles Opera.
Pakistani TV musician Arshad Mehmood interjected every now and then to elaborate on what the lady said, and also presented his views.
Opera, he said, was a medium for expressing sentiments and situations. “It is a tool for making the voice sound profound.” The workshop ended with an engaging question-and-answer session.