My experience with the great Maestro Anthony Frisell.
Anthony Frisell: The great modern reference in Vocal Technique and Author of The Soprano Voice, The Tenor Voice, A Singers Notebook, Verismo!, a.o.*.
As many know, I have made an important and arduous pilgrimage through different countries and singing teachers around the world in search of answers concerning #singing, #voice, vocal technique and breathing, in general, and during singing in particular. . There were so many doubts I had and many the contradictions I found between one teacher and another!... Between passionate about knowing and understanding and desperate for so much confusion, I tirelessly researched and read everything that came into my hands about vocal technique and #breathing; from Mancini (1714-1800), through the #Lamperti´s and the García´s (of both father and son), Shakespeare, #Tetrazzini, Lehmann and a lot more until reaching the books of my great teacher, Anthony Frisell *.
I liked what I read and testing it, it worked quite well for me. What excited me then was that maybe studying with him was possible because he was alive and so I would be able to experience the famous Frisell's Technique!!! So, so very characteristic of me, I got down to work and organized everything to go to New York for a couple of weeks to study with him.
"I was very disappointed when Maestro Frisell told me, in his singing studio, that what I was doing was not right!”
Still in Berlin, where I lived, and until reaching the great moment of being in front of him, I began to exercise what he said in his books and, according to my experience, quite successfully. I was very disappointed when he told me, already in his studio, that what I was doing was not right! Obviously, despite the fact that there was a lot of information in his vast bibliography, it had not been possible for me to deeply understand what he meant by, for example, the UDH sound, the proper adjustment and sound of the different vowels and their open and closed versions, or the deep meaning of the colors chiaro & scuro. The good news was that I was there to take another 15 lessons, about one per day, and to learn from him as much as possible. How exciting!!!
"The learning process was longer and harder than I expected. My voice and my way of singing were improving a lot but I didn't really understand what I was doing.”
Unfortunately, the path and learning process were longer and harder than I expected. I haven't done the math yet but I think I've taken more than 70 lessons with the Maestro. He had a very own way of teaching. He didn’t really explain why or what for we were doing what we did. My voice and my way of singing were changing and improving a lot but, to be honest, I didn't really understand what I was doing, and when I asked him I received vague answers, most of the time… When suddenly, I thought I had understood something and said to him: "Ah! I should do this thing in that way!?”, he answered very calmly: “Oh, you are very smart.” Ha ha ha! But he didn't add any extra explanation! I was understanding everything by deduction since over time and the sum of lessons I began to glimpse relationships between the different exercises and certain vocal qualities gained.
"I am very grateful to Anthony Frisell because he taught me many things about Singing and gave me tools to later understand many other very important about Vocal Technique.”
And in this way, although I understood some things along the way, I understood many many others testing, as I told you in my first #blog, by trying and failing, years later. Each mistake caused me a lot of anguish because I did not fully understand what I had done wrong or what was missing. Sometimes I made and unmade certain adjustments without understanding the relationship between one and the other (one?). It took me weeks to figure out the misunderstanding and many more to undo it!
"Each mistake caused me a lot of anguish because I did not fully understand what I had done wrong or what was missing (...). It took me weeks to figure out the misunderstanding and many more to undo it!"
For example, when I found something that worked good for me I exaggerated that vocal aspect, position or body adjustment with the consequent tension of the voice, the support and the parts; or when some particular adjustment worked especially well for me, I concentrated only on it "because it had opened new vocal doors for me!!!" and I neglected the rest, thus losing, once again, the old, which he had just neglected and abandoned, and the new, which without the old no longer worked well. And again to start from zero… Sorry, from -10, because first I had to repair what I did/had done wrong and only then try something new!!! I think you understand very well from your own experience what I mean!
In my next Blog I will tell you a little about what I learned through working with Master Frisell.
The truth is that I am very, very grateful to Anthony Frisell because he taught me many things about singing and gave me valuable tools to later understand many other very important things about vocal technique. Today I find myself many times, at precise moments, repeating the same words from him and a wave of gratitude for his teachings comes to me. And although he is no longer with us, I take the opportunity to say: “Thank you deeply, dear Maestro Frisell!”
In my next #blog I will tell you a little about what I’ve learned through working with him.
I thank You very much for your presence and for sharing this moment of memories with me!
I greet you with love,
*Teacher of Sàndor Konya and Flaviano Labó. Author of The Soprano Voice, The Tenor Voice, A Singers Notebook and Verismo!, among others. He directed operas with many of the great singers of the past like Mario Del Monaco, Zinka Milanov, Richard Tucker, Leonard Warren, Victoria de los Angeles, a.o. and was the teacher of the great Tenor Sandor Konya. Font: https://operawire.com/obituary-legendary-voice-teacher-anthony-frisell-dies/