A singing lesson with Giacomo Lauri-Volpi

The great tenor Giacomo Lauri-Volpi talks about the art of singing. This lesson was recorded in 1933 at the National Phonotheque. I think that the interviewer may be Gavino Gabriel, a well-known musicologist who directed the phonotheque during that period.

I hope you enjoy it.

33 thoughts on “A singing lesson with Giacomo Lauri-Volpi”

  1. This is a terrific posting and very inventive to provide a translation for
    those who need it divided between visuals for LV and for his interviewer.
    Thank you so much. So was this done the same year as the filmed opera at
    Verona and he does a demonstration from Ugonotti as well. Ottimo!

  2. Edmund StAustell

    I directed the readers of my opera blog yesterday to this recording, and
    talked about what a spectacular document it was. Gracias a Dios que este
    tenor magnifico nos dejara documento tan notable y de tanto valor
    historico! Muchisimas gracias, mi amigo, por un servicio a todo amante de
    bel canto!

  3. Now what can i say ? Bravo Maestro !!! Apart from the musical examples he
    gives here, i enjoyed very much what he said about the musical knowledge a
    singer must have …i totally agree with his words that we have to respect
    all kinds of music and to study carefully the musical pages of all nations
    i will add ! Great lessons from one tenor who possessed vocal health till
    his old age …..

  4. главное — это то, что ученику желательно в начале мысленно чувствовать и
    изучать позицию всего певческого аппарата своего маэстро и копировать его
    эталонную гласную И, пока со временем это всё само не станет частью ученика

  5. @maferreira1984 I have no idea what you’re talking about. The note is the
    same… it’s just named differently according to what scale it appears in.
    Moreover, darkness or lightness are added depending on interpretation or
    setting–not to do with the key of a piece… If you approach the note as
    two different things, it’s like understanding ‘plátano’ and ‘banana’ as two
    different concepts, although they point out the exact same object.

  6. Matheus A. Ferreira

    @flaze3: they sound the same (it’s enarmony, not equality of tone) only in
    tempered instruments or in non-tempered instruments playing along with
    tempered ones (say a violin accompanying a piano, v.g.), but that’s just
    because the tempered system is, nowadays, taken as the standard one. The
    notes themselves are NOT the same. That’s pure music theory and physics.
    For a practical approach, you might consider that an minor – or rather
    irrelevant – point. I’m just saying that the difference exists.

  7. @maferreira1984 I still don’t understand why they would be fundamentally
    different notes. What is this ‘non-standard’ system which pointers gb and
    f# as different? How many notes are then possible? An infinity, surely.

  8. Matheus A. Ferreira

    @flaze3: I just now realized that you are just speculating, and don’t
    really know much ’bout what you’re talking about, right? For instance,
    there’s the full chromatic system, in which there are 24 notes (C, C-sharp,
    D-flat, D and so on…), the dodecaphonic system (12 notes – enarmonics are
    counted once) and early-times diatonic system (6 or 7 notes). In eastern
    music (Japan, Arabia etc), they have plenty of notes that are aparted by
    less than 4,5 commas (and we call 1/4 tone, 1/8 etc)…

  9. Matheus A. Ferreira

    @flaze3: But as to singing, GENERALLY we use the tempered system (violins,
    voice and other non-tempered instruments tune along with the piano or other
    instruments). But if you take some different approaches to western music,
    like the English Baroque Soloists chamber orchestra – which uses reissued
    versions of the seventeenth century instruments -, you’ll notice those
    differences, I suppose.

  10. @maferreira1984 My original comment was made from my standard classical
    background, and was not an attack: merely reflecting the logic of the
    ‘tempered’ system. I suppose this earlier system you’re talking about has
    an entirely different set up where you’d have to learn the way it works
    before it can be comprehensible.

  11. @stefakamelpash According to Alfredo Kraus, Lauri-Volpi was a heroic tenor
    rather than a lyric one. Have you seen him in this video? I find it
    impressive that he was able to be both sweet and delicate and extremely
    powerful, as he chose : BC4qLbDUFtA

  12. Ottima lezione ma scarna. Ha omesso di dire come si dà il fiato, come si
    porta la voce in risonanza, come si appoggiano i suoni del registro acuto
    al punto di emissione. In ogni caso la mezza voce degli esempi manca,
    volutamente, di risonanze ed è emessa con voce di testa spontanea. Come
    lezione di canto è un po’ poco. È stato il cantante migliore ma criptico ed
    egocentrico. Peccato, conosceva a perfezione la tecnica belcantista.

  13. Here lies the problem with taking lessons from super gifted singers like
    Lauri Volpi. Those Fs shouldn’t be so open. Any singer without the
    qualities of Lauri Volpi’s voice would sound open and ugly. Corelli did not
    approach them that way.

  14. Mind you he uses particularly soft, lyrical songs. The more dramatic voices
    that have trouble with this could still use the fundamental idea of the
    open vowel, but their placement would be unique to where they feel
    comfortable.

  15. Every singer should read this! It is much like what the great teacher
    Manuel Garcia taught, but he added the use of falsetto to save wear on the
    voice. My little addition would be DO NOT SING PARTS THAT DO NOT SUIT YOUR
    VOICE LV’s singing is beautiful.Henry Webb

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