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Saturday, January 21, 2012

THE PASSING OF DR. THOMAS LOMONACO - REST IN PEACE!!

Today is an extremely sad day for me and all the student's of Tom LoMonaco. Tom lead a long and very full life. What he gave to us and to the opera world was enormous. I am so honored that I was able to study with him for about a decade, taking two lessons a week, and sitting in on countless other lessons, masterclasses as well as becoming a good friend of Tom's later on. He was truly a genius in every way. A brilliant technician and an amazing singer in his prime. He also could draw and paint at an extremely high level although he never had any training. I hope to someday be able to share some of his recordings from when he was singing in his prime, before he got sick with Parkinson's.


I was truly honored when he asked me on several occasions to make sure I, "continued the work". I was also honored when he told students that to come me for continued work on their voices when the time would come.

Rest in peace Tom. You have blessed my life and the lives of countless others with your relentless quest for the truth and your love of singing and opera! May we all bring you honor with our continued work!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

HOW TO SING MEZZA VOCI AND PIANISSIMI?

This is one of the most important topics to cover because the misconception on how exactly one sings mezza voce and pianissimi has destroyed or limited many voices. In addition to how these skills are done correctly are also the incorrect ideas on when one is ready to do them and what it means if a singer cannot do them - especially early on in their training and/or if they have a big voice.

Let me first start by explaining how one actually sings mezza voci and pianissimi correctly. Basically, the more chest/lower register one sings with the more the thyroarytenoid muscles are engaged. The less TA is engaged the more towards mezza voci and pianissimi one sings; or the more towards the falsetto one sings. The TA no longer dominates in production, but rather the cricothyroids become dominant; as well as other muscles that need to engage. Therefore, it is important that one have a strong falsetto and chest register so as to easily move more towards one or the other.

The mistake in trying to sing mezza voci and pianissimi is to start to close the throat to diminish the sound. This leads to the closing muscles of the throat becoming very strong. When that happens it becomes more and more difficult to open the throat. And it can cause many different issues such as a wobble. This is exactly what happened to Maria Callas.