Come diventare un personaggio più autentico?
As an opera singer, one must find a way to touch the heart of each audience member. The performer accomplishes this through the beauty of her voice, a capacity for portraying a plethora of emotions, and a talent for acting. The ability to fuse all three of these skills can bring a character to life. The consequence is an unforgettable performance.
Opera lovers frequent the theatre to listen to the beauty of the human voice, as well as to experience the emotional journey that characters like Tosca, Rigoletto, and other personages face. Therefore, the way in which the singer portrays the character’s sentiments is very important. It is a common misperception that, in order to give a great performance, a singer need only sing well; he must also become the character. If the audience cannot feel empathy for the character, then it would not be a satisfying theatre-going experience. After all, why wouldn’t an opera aficionado simply listen to it on Itunes or Youtube instead?
The question for a singer is: how does one become a singing actor? How does one succeed in making the character come to life? In my opinion, there are three different ways in which singers study an opera and prepare for a role. First, one does not only need to master the melodies; one also needs to understand the motivations of their character. Why does this persona sing certain notes or recite specific words? Why, instead of singing a line in a lower octave, does my character actually sing in a higher register? These questions, and others like them, are those that one must ask in order to fully understand one’s part. Once a performer can truly feel the emotions of the role they play, his portrayal of his character will become unique.
Another way that helps a performer to transform into a character is to learn and study more about the culture of where and when a story takes place. For example, when I had to study the role of Lauretta for Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, I learned as much as I could about Florence, the Casa de’ Medici, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Once I immersed myself in that place and period, I discovered the personal needs and societal expectations of Lauretta. It definitely helps to know every aspect of a piece before performing it on the stage.
As artists, we owe it to the audience to find a way into our characters. Even if we sing perfectly on a technical level, what will we as individual artists gain from that? One must take each and every detail into consideration so that one can transform into the character. That will endear opera’s most famous characters to new audiences, which will help to restore opera’s standing in the world.