On Friday afternoon, four Young American Artists, accompanied by pianist Jonathan Kelly, sang at a master class with Mary Dunleavy, the festival’s Violetta in La Traviata. Open to the public, the class was held at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown. Dunleavy’s coachings were highly specific to each singer, addressing dynamics, interpretation, diction and vocal style.
• While it is acceptable to slide between notes in a Verdi or Donizetti aria, one should not attempt to by “syrupy and slurpy” in Mozart.
• Singing a sad aria from a comedic opera requires a different interpretation than singing a sad aria from a tragic opera.
• When singing a vengeance aria, the voice itself should not sound angry, rather, the words, diction, dynamics and facial expressions should convey the emotion.
• The most repeated advice from Dunleavy was that, whether singing German, Italian or English, each word and phrase should be sung with a specific intention.
The afternoon was educational and enjoyable for the featured vocalists and audience members alike.