In general, and particularly as I'm preparing my upcoming concert in Tel Aviv on March 7, one fundamental concept I keep coming back to is that singing departs from speech. This is a crucial foundation, from a singing technique standpoint--rather than merely trying to manipulate my voice to creating sounds, I am singing all throughout my range from the foundation of my natural voice. (Of course, this is something I'm constantly working at, and for this reason, my singing warmups and practice sessions all start with simply speaking.)
Most importantly, however, the concept of singing departing from speech doesn't merely inform my approach to technique, but also to what I have to say when I sing for an audience. I believe expressing ourselves through phonation is one of the most fundamental needs many human beings have (whether speaking, singing, yelling, what-have-you.) When I sing the texts that any of the brilliant poets or librettists have written (whether Verlaine, Sterbini, Goethe, or anyone else), I focus on whether I'm doing it from the perspective of saying the text honestly, as it means to me. While this is a thrilling adventure, it can also be scary because it requires breaking away from trying to sing it "like insert-brilliant-singer's-name-here". To sing a song the way someone else did it might seem safe, because that tried-and-true method worked for that particular artist. That does not mean, however, that imitating that artist, no matter how brilliant she may be, would be healthy for my voice, and it likely wouldn't result in my being able to express myself honestly. If I were to sing, taking the way I naturally speak as my point of departure, though, then it would open up the most vulnerable and honest performance from me possible, and this is the point of performing live for an audience.
On this note (no pun intended!), I'm thrilled to announce my upcoming concert in Tel Aviv this March, with more concerts TBA! In no other category of performance (whether opera, musical theatre, or anything else) is the challenge of always trying to get the most honest performance out of myself more pertinent. That is because, instead of playing one character over several hours, 1. My recital programs are potpourris of various songs and arias which I have handpicked (along with the linguistic and stylistic challenges that come with them!). Also, 2. these pieces have all resonated with me on some level, making my selection of them even more personal.
I will keep you posted about the road to getting this concert off the ground, and if you're in Tel Aviv, I hope to see you on March 7th for beautiful (honest!) music-making!