Nicolai Gedda on Laying a “Lyric Track” into the Voice

Magische Töne indeed!

She (Paola Novikova) was meticulous in that the instrument always had to be right. If it was not right, I would be required to start again until the sound was right. And she was just as attentive to language accent and interpretation in my roles. She was a genius for me. One interesting thing about this method is that the technique hides itself. She taught on an Italian AH which was very bright. This makes the voice carry in the largest auditoriums and enables both coloratura and long line singing. My messa di voce and my use of the falsetto were trained by her. It is also a method which keeps the voice from becoming heavy beyond its years. I hear many singers who try to make their voices overly dramatic to their detriment; in fact their voices “dry out” and their careers are shortened. Such cannot be the case when the voice is trained as a lyric instrument whether the voice is large or small.

Nicolai Gedda, as quoted in Berton Coffin’s “The Sounds of Singing, Principles and applications of vocal techniques with chromatic vowel chart.” Scarecrow Press, 2002.

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