Sunday, March 02, 2008

Advice to young singers

From Hugues Cuenod as published in "With a Nimble Voice—Conversations with François Hudry" Translated by Albert Fuller (1999)

"I would say first of all to take music seriously and not try to advance too quickly. Then I would say not to make a recording before having matured at length in their roles. Above all, I believe it's necessary to acquire an extra-musical culture and to profit by having other activities of a refined nature. I always remember a young man in Copenhagen with whom I was working on Don Quichotte à Dulcinée of Ravel. A little while before the lesson I had gone to visit a museum where there is a beautiful canvas by Daumier depicting Don Quixote. I told this young man to go look at this picture for a half-hour so that he could understand why his interpretation was not satisfactory. He did, and sang much better at the following lesson. That's the kind of advice I like to give. Go to museums, read, don't restrict yourself by working only on music and your exercises. Take half your time for study and use the other half to see the world, to look at painting, to eat well. (I don't dare speak about the rest . . . ) All that is of the utmost importance for having a balanced and interesting life."

And then this for all of us, singers or not. Hudry observes to Hughie that "happiness seems to have been the principal companion of your life."

The singer's responds, "That's because I am content with little and turn to advantage all the tiresome things that happen to me. I remember uniquely the good moments of my life, and I believe that my existence could be summed up by a completely secular trinity: the gift of music, the gift of idleness, and the gift of being kind and agreeable with my friends. Voilà!"

Voilà, indeed.


Yankeediva said...

How utterly inspiring. I feel the urge to yell "AMEN!!!"

Thank you for posting this (and your other engaging entries, as well!)


James Roe said...

Joyce, Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words. Were you to shout "AMEN!!!" I'd buy a ticket to hear it. Best, Jim