Signature Theatre is always doing something first, and doing it better than anyone else. They didn’t win a regional Tony in 2009 for nothing. People fly in from around the world regularly to see their productions.
Moi was there closing night and talked afterwards with one of the stars, Florence Lacey, above, about her vocal technique. Norma comes out and has to nail a blockbuster number, the first of 3 in the show. Signature’s run was 8 performances a week; twice on Saturday & Sunday, dark Monday. That’s a lotta singing, even with a mike.
Ms. Lacey said, “Lots of warm-ups and scales…” Another member told me Lacey was also working with a voice teacher. Imagine! With her great career, into something like her 4th decade performing, still taking lessons. There’s a real pro, dearies…
The role reminded me of the lead, Turandot, in Puccini’s last opera, Turandot. The ice princess comes out a few times and has to sing killer arias, just like Norma in Sunset Blvd. It’s a role that has probably ruined more voices than helped careers.
Take a listen to this soprano, Dame Eva Turner, the only one yours truly’s ever heard whose voice blooms on all those high notes. You can hear that freedom. Go ahead, clamp on those headphones and turn the volume up high. No knives in the back from this real soprano.
Staying in good vocal condition takes technique, dear readers, all the time. As long as you’re performing. Whether opera or theatre, you gotta do it right. That is, if you wanna be around, and in demand, as Ms. Lacey is, at 60+… and Eva was, until 90-something!