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Vocal injuries are common among singers, particularly those who have not studied formally.
Dessay says that it is her highest artistic ambition to embody a character so persuasively, and tell a story so convincingly, that the audience forgets that she is singing.
“What is interesting is to have this incredible, unbelievable way of expressing ourselves vocally paired with a total controlled and quiet body,” she says.
Jeannie's first book "Your Singing Voice" (Berklee Press, 2012) is also an excellent reference.
Jeanie has taught thousands of vocalists to sing with deep expression and healthy technique, primarily at Berklee College of Music.
Zimmerman’s singers would appear as members of an opera company rehearsing a production of “La Sonnambula,” with Dessay playing an adored, self-absorbed soprano cast as Amina, the sleepwalker of the title.
At the outset of the opera, the set would be a mock rehearsal room (coffee machine, water dispenser, a chalkboard reading “Act I, Scene 1”) and the cast would show up onstage wearing street clothes.“For me, acting is receiving, and singing is giving, and that is why it is so difficult, because your body does one thing and your mind does another.”Some of the most successful singers in the history of opera refrained from acting entirely—Pavarotti was most convincing as himself—but among the greatest of singers there have also been formidable actors and actresses, and Dessay, who calls herself a “singing actor,” is the performer who best represents that tradition today.David Gockley, the general director of the San Francisco Opera, said, “She is extraordinarily demanding on herself, and her colleagues.She seemed irritated by the words of her interlocutor—her agent in France, perhaps.She also seemed largely oblivious of the ministrations of a pair of company operatives who had rushed to disencumber her and were removing jacket, scarf, and—as Dessay carelessly extended each limp, queenly hand—an imaginary pair of gloves.Dessay was marking the notes: singing them in a tuneful but subdued near-whisper, an octave lower than they would be heard in performance.A spectator unfamiliar with Dessay’s capabilities might have taken her not for an opera singer who can act but for an actor with a surprisingly pretty little voice—a voice that, given some training, might really turn into something.But Callas was this character who was interesting on many different levels, certainly mythically, and she brought everyone in the cast up a notch.And I would say that of Natalie.” (Upon arriving at her pied-à-terre the day before rehearsals began, she spent three hours cleaning it, a chore that Zimmerman’s imagined diva would surely have delegated.) But whenever possible Dessay is in a suburb with a sleepy main street, half an hour outside Paris—like Pelham but with better pâtisserie—where she lives with her husband, Laurent Naouri, a baritone, and their thirteen-year-old son and ten-year-old daughter.“I live here because I couldn’t afford she meant her house, a former hunting lodge, set in a walled garden, which was designed by Jules Corboz, who made the famed chandelier at the Palais Garnier opera house, in Paris.That is what made Callas an extraordinary experience compared with Tebaldi, who was regal and stately and uninvolved dramatically.That’s good enough for some people—to hear the world’s most beautiful voice.