The Art of the Opera Coach

When asked what he “really” thinks of actors, the film director Alfred Hitchcock famously replied “Fundamentally, actors are a race apart.  This group is divided into two sections: first, those who have talent and have never received any recognition for it, and, second, those who have received recognition without having any talent.  Either way, they’re cattle.”  One wonders what Hitchcock thoughts about singers were.  In any case, as far as the opera house is concerned, singers – be they with or without talent – have a secret advantage that few, if any of us, ever recognize: before singers even get close to the stage, they are coached by a super-musician called an opera coach.  These coaches are at once a singer’s singing teacher, orchestra, conductor, psychologist and best friend.  And no matter how strong-willed and confident looking a singer appears, she or he knows their coach holds the keys to success on stage.  So, whenever you read a great review of a star singer’s performance, don’t forget whom that performance is indebted to.  With that in mind, our show is privileged to simultaneously interview four of the very best coaches in the business: Beatrice Benzi, coach at Teatro alla Scala, Nino Sanikidze, coach at the LA Opera, Yelena Kurdina, coach at the Metropolitan Opera and Luisella Germano, coach at the Vienna State Opera.  Let’s welcome these extraordinary musicians who always have talent and yet, never receive the recognition they deserve.  

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