Opera Conducting

Opera conducting is a specialized skill within the overall conducting domain. It combines gestures from symphonic conducting with specific gestures for the opera stage. These gestures include maintaining the singers' attention on the conductor's podium, indicating entries to singers with pre-emptive gestures to allow time for breathing, and others.

Module 9 (6 credits)

This Module introduces students to the world of opera conducting. Opera conducting is a specialised skill set within the overall conducting musical language. It utilises many of the gestures developed in the symphonic language coupled with gestures that are specific to the opera stage.

What exactly will you learn:

  1. Coach and rehearse individual singers and ensembles for staging and performance. 

  2. Rehearse and coach singers. 

  3. Rehearse the orchestra without soloists in preparation for the performance 

  4. Direct stage and execute other components in collaboration with the opera’s director to achieve an interpretation that reflects a shared artistic vision of the work. 

  5. Coach and lead the singers and mixed singer ensembles in musical rehearsals in preparation for the conductor’s participation 

  6. Act effectively as an opera repetiteur across a representative range of repertoire. 

  7. Create transliterations and instruct/coach singers in authentic diction and correct pronunciations in a variety of European languages (e.g. German, Italian, French, English)

Learning outcomes:

  • Maintaining the attention of the singers to the focal point of the conductor’s podium in the pit

  • Indicating entries to the singers that are pre-empted with additional gestures that allow for time for the singers to breathe 

  • In the course of ensemble singing on the stage where numerous singers are singing simultaneously but with individual/independent lines, the conductor must ensure that each singer must be supported equally 

  • Pre-performance preparation requires individual and group coaching of all the pertinent roles

  • The culmination of the application of all the above points brings to fruition the composer’s dramatic/musical intent.

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