‘Mystery’ of Opera Singing Revealed (1) – Personal Reflections


Patricia Stiles as ‘Nancy’ in “Martha” by Flotow – Photo courtesy of Patricia Stiles

With the experience of twenty years singing in Germany and more than ten years teaching at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Patricia Stiles is undoubtedly a deep well of knowledge when it comes to opera singing. She is still performing and has recently released a new album titled “Song Tapestry” in which the Hồ Xuân Hương songs collection called Spring Confession by P.Q. Phan is included.

Is it true that Asian women tend to have soprano voices? Continue reading


The Connection Among PQ Phan – Patricia Stiles – Hồ Xuân Hương

P.Q. Phan set some poems by Hồ Xuân Hương to music. In way of an introduction, here is some explanation or clarification from the Program Notes for the songs, and quotes from John Balaban’s Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hồ Xuân Hương.

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Composer, who are thee? – Claude Baker (3): The willingness to open yourself up to things that are unfamiliar

Anvi Hoàng: What kind of personality is conductive to having a successful career as a composer?

Claude Baker: It’s got to be a certain degree of arrogance and a certain degree of self-confidence that what you do is worthwhile. And despite what I say about being daunted by the past, you still can’t deny that there is a certain degree of self-confidence in what you do, otherwise you wouldn’t put yourself out there in the world for ridicule. It takes willingness to get performances, to enter competitions, to apply for grants and all that. It is bruising to get rejected but something in the core keeps you going to reapply and send it back out. Continue reading

Composer, who are thee? – Claude Baker (2): The happy by-product is the exploration into yourself

Read Claude Baker (1).

Anvi Hoàng: How do you recharge yourself when you are burnt out?

Claude Baker: If I am in the middle of a piece I don’t ever feel let down, not until the piece is over. Then there is usually a long gap between one piece and the next and that’s when the let-down occurs. But during the process, I don’t feel like that, I am never bored anytime. How can anyone be bored of the world? Even just sitting down looking at the sky isn’t boring. Continue reading

Composer, who are thee? – Claude Baker (1): Our sensibilities are shaped by studies of music in the past

Anyone who is learning to appreciate the “new language” of new music will speed up their music appreciation course by talking to Claude Baker. With his superb knowledge and skills of composition, his thoughts on composition, music and life are refreshingly delightful. He talks to you about music composition in terms you can easily relate to, regardless of your profession. Doubt it? Then check out the interview below, as well as his music from the link. And let patience be your guide! Continue reading

Composer, who are thee? – The Russians love him: Lantuat Nguen

Listed in the Russian Composer’s Union as a Russian composer, Lantuat Nguen (Nguyễn Lân Tuất) is author of numerous vocal and instrumental works and five symphonies, the latter being his main stream of creativity. His music has received highest acclaims from critics as possessing the natural combination of classical tradition and modern language. Even for those unfamiliar with classical music, listening to Lantuat’s symponies for the first time will bring their emotions to the surface. Continue reading