Arts & Culture

Vocal artists learn from a generous teacher

Nelly Miricioiu conducting a masterclass

The morning after her SRO and acclaimed concert “Passione” at the Ayala Museum, soprano Nelly Miricioiu put on her no-nonsense pedagogue’s hat and assured her 14 masterclass students that she’s “probably one of the most generous singers to other singers.”

And she wasn’t exaggerating. She shared what she knew about the human anatomy, learning to exhale, not overstaying on a vowel, staying as long as they want on a double letter to do it correctly. At all times, she told the 14 to “keep your public interested in what you are doing.”

She advised them “not to be afraid to have a plan on what note you would like the audience to have its first impression of, not necessarily the first note.”

Constantly, she reminded them to find their flexibility. Don’t put your neck back—it cuts your breathing. You lose the nerves that’s giving you the air. If you hold your body, the air gets trapped.” Singing and breathing go together.

Miricioiu said, “When you want success in your career, you have to believe in yourself, equip yourself with knowledge and make sure you don’t hesitate. Take away the negative thoughts and concentrate on the phenomenon of singing. Your responsibility is to work harder than your teacher.”

The soprano with tenor Mark Bautista

She added that “the voice is not enough. You need to learn how to balance expectations with knowledge.”

Another tip she gave was “to let the air out more, literally squeeze out the air as the introductory music is being played. It’s the time to become the character. Stay absolutely centered to your larynx.”

In a chat during a short break, she traced her love of teaching to her childhood. “I’ve loved babysitting since I was six years old. When you teach, you see another being, and it’s the closest you can get to a soul and to find the purity of the spirit. Your job is to help them get in touch with that purity and to blossom.”

She continued, “We all need to find that little three-year-old child in us that we need to hold, hug, cherish, love and pay attention to. I get students with attitudes of rejection or ‘No, I don’t want to do this.’ But I know it’s fear.I try to take a step back and approach from another side. Everyone will let you in if you find the right door.”

Comparing the Filipino singers she met more than 30 years ago when she first came to the Philippines to the current ones, she said, “The singers now are wonderful people who are eager to learn. This must be an ode to Joseph Uy (of Cultural Arts Events Organizer, the concert and masterclass producer) who knows how to choose his people. The choices are very good. The singers are quick and gifted.”

Working with Tanya Corcuerra

A teacher who welcomes feedback, Miricioiu always reminded the class, “If there’s any confusion, please ask me. I don’t mind it if you tell me that what I suggest isn’t comfortable with you.”

The students are billed as “The Singers of Tomorrow” in a culminating concert on April 18 at 7 p.m. at the Ayala Museum, Makati City.

Sopranos Marielle Tuason, Stephanie Aguilar, Nerissa de Juan, Mheco Manlangit, Kay Balajadia-Liggayu, Tanya Corcuerra, mezzo soprano Krissan Tan, Aissa Guilatco, Roxy Aldioso,tenors Mark Baustista and Jan Brian Ashtom, baritones Roby Malugay, Renz Nathaniel Cruz and Miguel Espiritu will perform beautiful arias and duets from grand operas like Capuletti e Montecchi,Dinorah, Norma, Don Giovanni, La Boheme,Romeo et Juliette.

Taking turns in assisting them on the piano are Farley Asuncion and Gabriel Allan Paguirigan.

The recent masterclass is presented by the CAEO, Ayala Museum,Musicartes,DZFE 98.7 The Master’s Touch,Lyric Piano and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Tickets at Php1,000 and Php 500 for students and seniors are available. Call TicketWorld at 891-9999 or CAEO at tel. nos. 997-9483, 782-7164 or 0920-9540053, 0918-347-3027.