Sunday, August 5, 2012

Why Being in Shape Matters for Singers

Donovan Singletary is a regular at the gym
We have a lot of people ask us if the focus on looking good physically is good for opera. That question almost presumes that it's a voice vs. physical appearance, when both are important to a long, successful career.

Here are our Top 10 reasons that an opera singers should stay in shape:

1. HEALTH - Good health will allow you to endure the stress and physicality of the business. Out of shape singers often have shortened careers and obesity can take years off of a singers life.
2. COMPETITIVENESS - Opera directors and companies are making increasing demands on singers. If two singers come in to audition with equal vocal gifts and one is fit and appears to have the endurance for a demanding role, who do you think is more likely to get cast?
3. HIGH DEFINITION BROADCASTS - More people will see opera on TV and in movie houses than will see live performances in the theater. Opera is competing with television and the movies for audiences. Are you ready for your closeup?

Andrew Garland bikes to improve his cardio
4. TRAVEL - Not only can travel take an increased toll on your body, but it can effect your voice. It's also easy to slip into the routine of vegging out in a hotel room and getting out of shape. A disciplined workout routine can help a singer overcome the challenges of life on the road.
5. ACTING - Being limber and fit enhances not just endurance but what you can do as an actor. It also creates stamina to sing as well at the end of Act 4 as in your opening aria.
6. UNDERSTUDIES - These guys are just waiting for you to cancel and score their own success. Singers like Renata Scotto and Leonie Rysanek shot to stardom after taking advantage of an indisposed singer.

Michael Mayes is so into his Spartacus workout, he'll use a rock when there are no barbells
7. BROADWAY - Many opera singers are now being cast on Broadway and in touring shows. Imagine singing eight shows in seven days (even with a microphone!).
8. MEMORY - Singers are asked to learn a lot of music and research has shown that fitness increases memory function. Don't take a chance that your prompter might have dozed off.
9. SLEEP  - A successful opera singer will travel a lot and change time zones regularly. Exercise promotes healthy sleep patterns. You'll be better rested, your mood will be enhanced and you'll perform better.
10. BARIHUNKS - You won't have to write us one of those emails that starts, "What do I have to do to get on Barihunks...? If you sound good and look good, we'll find you.

Keith Miller trains fellow opera singers
One opera singer has even developed his own training program for opera singers. Former football player Keith Miller offers Puissance training to keep singers in top shape. Check it out at

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