An Opera Singer’s Tips for Hitting High Notes

Photo by Clive Barda for a Royal Opera House

At a Metropolitan Opera final fall, in a uncover called “The Exterminating Angel,” soprano Audrey Luna sang a high A, environment a new record for a top note ever sung during a Met. You competence be some-more informed with a word “High C,” a unequivocally standard high note during a Met—the high A is 5 records higher. And it’s a initial thing Luna sings in a show. She spent years operative her voice adult to that pitch. So we asked her how she did it.

Be Born With It

The Times calls a high A “a multiple of genetic gifts, severe training and psychological fortify over dual frail outspoken cords.” And Luna tells us she “had” a note when she started outspoken lessons during age 15. That didn’t meant she could perform it onstage any time soon, though it did meant she could work toward that. Not everyone’s outspoken chords are physically able of that. But whatever your range, we can extend it with years of practice.

Get a Good Voice Coach

If your voice isn’t anything special, there’s an upside: Any efficient voice manager can assistance we extend your range. “You need a outward set of ears,” Luna says, and we need them to get informed with your voice. Luna has worked for 15 years with outspoken manager Barbara Honn, and they’ve grown a tighten connection: “Barbara can only place a finger on my shoulder or jaw, and we know what she means.”

Rediscover Your Range

Before “The Exterminating Angel,” Luna hadn’t sung a high A in years. She worked her approach behind adult to it by singing scales, and was relieved to learn that she still had it. But she still had to get behind into practice.

Earlier in her career, Luna once took some time off singing to devise her wedding. When she returned, she indispensable a few days to practice, “but all was right there where I’d left it.” Even when she’s active, infrequently she’ll lapse to a sold purpose after a year or more, and notice changes. “It’s so engaging to see what has happened to your voice in a year’s time, what’s grown or developed. You can unequivocally hear a difference.”

Shape Your Sounds

Just attack a high note isn’t adequate to make it pleasant, or transcendent, to listen to. Luna works on modifying a figure of a vowel, progressing her breath, and gripping records from removing too tight. This is where we need good communication with your outspoken coach.


There are opposite tricks for opposite versions of a note. In “The Exterminating Angel,” Luna has to start with that high note, so she puts a “y” sound during a front of a vowel sound to assistance cocktail a note up. In other cases, she competence have to means a high note longer, or strech it several times over a march of an opera.

Learn a Science

“The tellurian voice is an impossibly difficult instrument, that distinct any other we can’t see or touch,” says Luna. “So there is a lot of imagery and flesh memory concerned in training an operatic voice, many of it involving a breath. The mechanics behind how it indeed functions are fascinating.”


She shares some videos that “spread like wildfire via a show village since they are so mark on in display and explaining how a voice functions.” In a one below, a soprano, mezzo, effort and drum sing together with an inner camera bound on their outspoken chords.

Luna also recommends this MRI footage of baritone Michael Volle behaving an aria by Wagner, and “The Physiology of Opera Singers,” an hour-long speak by soprano Sheri Greenawald. (“8:30-10:30 is good stuff,” says Luna.) Greenawald describes a operatic voice as “controlled screaming.” “I determine with her,” says Luna. “Especially when it comes to a A.”

Protect Your Voice

Unlike a Broadway actor, an show thespian can’t do 8 shows a week. Opera singers work though microphones, so their training focuses some-more on amplifying their voices. The Met staggers a performances to safety a singers’ voices. The earthy highlight of singing hits sopranos a hardest. Luna schedules voice-heavy activities, like press interviews, for off-days.


We asked Luna if she sings “Happy Birthday” a same as everybody else, or if she ends adult sounding like an show singer. “I consider we do,” she says. “I’m a default show singer.” And only since she’s an glorious thespian doesn’t make her every kind of glorious singer: “I don’t know how to sing like a cocktail singer. we can’t belt.”

Learn a Words

An show thespian needs to sing in several languages, so Luna took dual years any of Italian and French, and 4 years of German. “I’m not smooth in any of these languages,” she says. “I get by flattering good when I’m in Germany. There’s a lot of work there for show singers.”


When Luna gets a new measure she’s never listened before, she buys a interpretation (she recommends books by former effort and outspoken manager Nico Costel, though records they’re not cheap) or sits down with a compendium and translates it herself. Some of a comparison operas use superannuated difference and syntax, so she can’t always strech a accurate interpretation on her own. By a time she goes to rehearsal, she’s suspicion about her character, and she knows what everybody else is singing.

Get in Your Head

During a performance, Luna is profitable courtesy to a lot during once. If she’s singing in Italian, she’s still not meditative in Italian: “I’m translating in my conduct into English.” She’s interpreting a line, as good as concentrating on certain sounds, like doubling a t in notte. At a same time, she’s listening to her stage partners. “It’s covering on layer. And while that layer’s going on, I’m meditative ‘I can’t see a conductor’ or ‘did we flow tea for myself?’”

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Posted by on Jan 10 2018. Filed under Gadgets. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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