Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Frank Porretta: A tenor talks (2 of 2)

Part two of an interview with San Diego star Frank Porretta.

Past Event

San Diego Opera: Leoncavallo's Pagliacci

San Diego Opera's production of Pagliacci opens on Saturday, January 26th. The show starts at 7:00 pm at The Civic Theater. There are only four performances: January 26th, 28th, 31st and February 2nd.

Read part one of this interview.

FP: Technique is always, I don’t know...again, it’s opinions. We’re talking about sensations. We’re talking about using language to convey what something feels like. Wouldn’t it be great if you could say, “just turn that dial one centimeter tighter and you’re in”? But you can’t, technique is about sensations. We can talk about technique but the person who really figures it out is the person who is singing. If you have a teacher who is teaching A technique, I might buy part of that but the teacher is still just talking — they’re trying to convey an idea. When someone says, “bring that more forward” you might try it but it keeps getting worse.Then you might stop and try something else and the teacher says, “that’s it!” it might be that the sensation was to let the voice go really far back. You can end up describing “the correct” thing in completely opposite ways. There’s no standardization in it. Therefor, I find it very difficult to talk about technique in general as opposed to technique specifically, as in your technique. I can talk about what your singing sounds like to me and then give you my opinion. I could say that if you’re going for more of what I do, which is the only thing I’m an authority on, then you might want to try this and this. It’s all just suggestions.

SDR: Would you say that the most important skill a teacher has is their ear as opposed to their ability to tell you what to do?

FP: No, no, It’s both. There is no accreditation process for voice teachers. I’ve always felt that if you want to study voice, study with someone who has had a career. Find someone who understands a little about what it takes to be working. There’s more to being a singer than just a good technique. A good technique is going to get things started but if you’re with someone who has been in the business, they’ve heard a lot of different kinds of singing and they nudge you in different ways than someone who just went to school to become a voice teacher. I’m not saying those teacher have nothing to give. Everyone who teaches voice has something to give. None of them are walking around being completely wrong but not every teacher is right for every student. You have to be able to communicate with each other and that’s hard. Learning how to sing is really about two individuals seeking something for one individual. You want to talk about vocal technique? I think that’s a big, messy subject and the second you say something, everyone else starts trying to say something different —which is why I don’t talk technique in interviews. If you want to sit down at a piano and talk about your singing — anytime — I’m easy that way but when it comes to technique in general, I really don’t have that much to say.

SDR: How often have you sung Canio?

FP: I think this is the fifth time.

SDR: Have you set the character or are you still exploring?

FP: Every role is different every time you do it and if it isn’t, then you’re way too big for your own britches. You’re making everybody change to your show.

SDR: You're talking about the rest of the cast?

FP: I’m talking about everybody. The conductor has to do what you do, Nedda has to do what you want. I think it’s important that these things be collaborative. That’s what makes it different than watching a DVD. It’s different each time you perform it. You can play characters in lots of different ways. This one, Canio, is an extremely dark character. What we’re doing with Canio for this production is probably the darkest depiction I’ve done. He’s tormented in this one from a lot of different directions. His ire and anger is about a man coming unglued and not just because of Nedda. It’s also because of his company falling apart, because of his career never going where he wanted it to, there is a falling and failing sense to the character in this production which isn’t like what I’ve done in any of the others. That’s [director] Andrew. He said, “I’d like to go really dark,” and I said, "okey-doke. How evil shall I be?"

SDR: I like that. It gives us a greater perspective. Canio isn’t just jealous. His entire life is failing. I’m not sure about portraying him as drunk throughout the entire show.

FP: This is the first production I’ve been in where he’s busy drinking the whole way through. In a sense he’s not sober for the entire show. He’s either coming down off a great big binge and having a few belts to get himself up and running or he’s just come back from the tavern but he’s always taking little snorts off the flask. While I’ve never done it before, we do these operas more than once so I have no problem exploring this so long as we stay within the parameters of the show. You know, in Germany they have a propensity for going way outside what the story is. Sometimes you have the music of the opera and a story that is from some other place. That, to me, is a little depressing. But as long as you keep the relationships between the characters and tell the story, in one way or another, that the composer wanted then I’m good with it and we’ll see what it yields.

SDR: A man coming unglued is certainly the story of Pagliacci.

FP: The idea of this Canio is that everything is spiraling on him and again, that’s new for me. It lends the darkest of the dark to this Canio. So, we’ll see because I’m not a dark person by nature. I’m more of a jovialonni.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Dead Cross cover Black Flag’s “Rise Above” in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Jonny Tarr, Dead Cross, Electric Mud, Howard Blank’s Outsiders, Trees
Next Article

What opera is closest to California redwoods?

Tough competing with the English and Austrians
Past Event

San Diego Opera: Leoncavallo's Pagliacci

San Diego Opera's production of Pagliacci opens on Saturday, January 26th. The show starts at 7:00 pm at The Civic Theater. There are only four performances: January 26th, 28th, 31st and February 2nd.

Read part one of this interview.

FP: Technique is always, I don’t know...again, it’s opinions. We’re talking about sensations. We’re talking about using language to convey what something feels like. Wouldn’t it be great if you could say, “just turn that dial one centimeter tighter and you’re in”? But you can’t, technique is about sensations. We can talk about technique but the person who really figures it out is the person who is singing. If you have a teacher who is teaching A technique, I might buy part of that but the teacher is still just talking — they’re trying to convey an idea. When someone says, “bring that more forward” you might try it but it keeps getting worse.Then you might stop and try something else and the teacher says, “that’s it!” it might be that the sensation was to let the voice go really far back. You can end up describing “the correct” thing in completely opposite ways. There’s no standardization in it. Therefor, I find it very difficult to talk about technique in general as opposed to technique specifically, as in your technique. I can talk about what your singing sounds like to me and then give you my opinion. I could say that if you’re going for more of what I do, which is the only thing I’m an authority on, then you might want to try this and this. It’s all just suggestions.

SDR: Would you say that the most important skill a teacher has is their ear as opposed to their ability to tell you what to do?

FP: No, no, It’s both. There is no accreditation process for voice teachers. I’ve always felt that if you want to study voice, study with someone who has had a career. Find someone who understands a little about what it takes to be working. There’s more to being a singer than just a good technique. A good technique is going to get things started but if you’re with someone who has been in the business, they’ve heard a lot of different kinds of singing and they nudge you in different ways than someone who just went to school to become a voice teacher. I’m not saying those teacher have nothing to give. Everyone who teaches voice has something to give. None of them are walking around being completely wrong but not every teacher is right for every student. You have to be able to communicate with each other and that’s hard. Learning how to sing is really about two individuals seeking something for one individual. You want to talk about vocal technique? I think that’s a big, messy subject and the second you say something, everyone else starts trying to say something different —which is why I don’t talk technique in interviews. If you want to sit down at a piano and talk about your singing — anytime — I’m easy that way but when it comes to technique in general, I really don’t have that much to say.

SDR: How often have you sung Canio?

FP: I think this is the fifth time.

SDR: Have you set the character or are you still exploring?

FP: Every role is different every time you do it and if it isn’t, then you’re way too big for your own britches. You’re making everybody change to your show.

SDR: You're talking about the rest of the cast?

FP: I’m talking about everybody. The conductor has to do what you do, Nedda has to do what you want. I think it’s important that these things be collaborative. That’s what makes it different than watching a DVD. It’s different each time you perform it. You can play characters in lots of different ways. This one, Canio, is an extremely dark character. What we’re doing with Canio for this production is probably the darkest depiction I’ve done. He’s tormented in this one from a lot of different directions. His ire and anger is about a man coming unglued and not just because of Nedda. It’s also because of his company falling apart, because of his career never going where he wanted it to, there is a falling and failing sense to the character in this production which isn’t like what I’ve done in any of the others. That’s [director] Andrew. He said, “I’d like to go really dark,” and I said, "okey-doke. How evil shall I be?"

SDR: I like that. It gives us a greater perspective. Canio isn’t just jealous. His entire life is failing. I’m not sure about portraying him as drunk throughout the entire show.

FP: This is the first production I’ve been in where he’s busy drinking the whole way through. In a sense he’s not sober for the entire show. He’s either coming down off a great big binge and having a few belts to get himself up and running or he’s just come back from the tavern but he’s always taking little snorts off the flask. While I’ve never done it before, we do these operas more than once so I have no problem exploring this so long as we stay within the parameters of the show. You know, in Germany they have a propensity for going way outside what the story is. Sometimes you have the music of the opera and a story that is from some other place. That, to me, is a little depressing. But as long as you keep the relationships between the characters and tell the story, in one way or another, that the composer wanted then I’m good with it and we’ll see what it yields.

SDR: A man coming unglued is certainly the story of Pagliacci.

FP: The idea of this Canio is that everything is spiraling on him and again, that’s new for me. It lends the darkest of the dark to this Canio. So, we’ll see because I’m not a dark person by nature. I’m more of a jovialonni.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

How to get to the river path from Sports Arena Boulevard

Maybe you shouldn't try
Next Article

Nathan Fletcher's viral propaganda push

County supervisor to pack staff with video maker, social media star
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close