‘Mystery’ of Opera Singing Revealed (2) – The Training


Patricia Stiles as ‘Preziosilla’ in “La Forza del Destino” by Verdi – Photo courtesy of Stiles

An in-person interview with Patricia Stiles presents a remarkable experience, especially so for a non-musician as I am, as she talked about the singing techniques with demonstrations. At close-up, an opera singer’s voice is obviously very powerful, not so much in terms of decibels as to pierce your ear drums but with the power, vibration, and warmth that inspire and lift your soul. One finds it difficult not to marvel at how wonderful it is what the human voice can do. Though this kind of demonstration is impossible to get in writing but can be made understandable with articulation the way Patricia Stiles did. Continue reading


‘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

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 (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