Geraldine Farrar Points to the Pedagogical “Schism”

If your repertoire is The Barber, Lucia, Somnambula and all such Italian dainties, well and good. Nothing need disturb the complete enjoyment of this lace-work. But if your auditors weep at Butterfly and Zaza or thrill to Pagliacci, they demand you use a quite different technic, which comes to the point of my story. I believe it was Jean de Reszke who advocated the voice “in the mask” united to breath support from the diaphragm. From personal observation I should say our coloratura charmers lay small emphasis on that highly important factor and use their head voices with a freedom more or less God given. But the power and life-giving quality of this fundamental cannot be too highly estimated for us who must color our phrases to suit modern dramatics and evolve a carrying quality that will not only eliminate the difficulty of vocal demands, but at the same time insure immunity from harmful after-effects.

Cooke, James Francis. Great Singers on the Art of Singing. Presser, 1921.

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