Thinking of getting into opera? Look no further – RWCMD’s Head of Opera Angela Livingstone spoke to The Stage about the most important things to consider if you’ve set your sights on a career in opera. We’ve condensed Angela’s advice into 10 top tips to guide all budding singers in the right direction.
- Strong vocal technique is crucial – you have to learn to fill a large space without amplification
- But remember, voice isn’t everything. You also need acting skills
- The ability to collaborate and work well with others is also essential. Opera needs strong team players rather than people with fixations about being centre stage
- Understand how the industry works – how to behave in rehearsals, for example
- Look after your health – your voice is your instrument and it’s a part of your body. Don’t neglect it
- Have a portfolio of skills at your disposal – you’ll need them when you’re starting out. Teaching, workshops, and other tangential activities all develop your communications skills which are vital
- See as much opera, theatre and film as you can. Get the feel of how storytelling works on stage. Go to concerts too.
- Get a good singing teacher who specialises in classical voice
- Learn to read music – piano lessons for example might be a good idea
- Work on your languages – knowledge of French, German and (most importantly) Italian are vital in Opera.
Bonus advice about perseverance comes from from Principal Hilary Boulding:
“There are many routes into opera, and it’s a long, slow burn. You have to get the technique right to allow the creativity to come through and that takes time.”