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Cindy
Austin, TX
I'm not a character mezzo ... I'm a mezzo with character!
Interests: opera, classical music, writing, theater, cooking, health, hiking, travel, outdoors, wine, dogs, organics, locally grown food
Recent Activity
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For quite a long time, my non-singing work was sort of an open secret. When I started writing for Classical Singer Magazine, I used a pen name; and even after I started writing under my own name, I never mentioned to colleagues or admins at singing engagements; nor did I... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
Your "opening gambit" was to call me a pretentious cunt, Connor. However, since you appear to be trying to be civil, I'll be true to my word and respond to your criticisms. I disagree that my article is pretentious. It would be pretentious if I didn't know what I was talking about. My credentials in this field are solid, unlike the writers of the Wiki-How article, who demonstrated via their article that they do NOT have a good grip on either vocal technique or the business, and yet are setting themselves up as experts. They are also terrible writers, a criticism I made in the article and stand by. By presenting themselves as experts and writing such a terrible piece full of misinformation, incomplete information, and downright bad advice, they invited ridicule. So I reject your assertion that my article is pretentious. It is, however, snarky, in a way which is intended to be humorous. Admittedly, humor is subjective,and there are many people who don't enjoy that type of humor --- which is fine. There's plenty of free reading material out there and if you don't like someone's style, the smart thing to do is not read them anymore and go find someone you do like. I further reject your assertion that the WikiHow article is constructive. It may have been *intended* as a constructive article, but because it contains so much bad, wrong advice, wrong terminology, and incomplete information, it is actually destructive. Rather than helping someone who wants to learn how to sing or hopes to pursue a career as an opera singer, it repeatedly sends them down the wrong path. For someone who is sincere about learning to sing, bad vocal and business advice can be extremely damaging and expensive, and take many years and dollars to repair --- if it can be repaired at all. The Wikihow piece is a terrible article that real voice teachers and opera professionals ridicule, and rightly so. Regarding my "air of superiority", that's subjective --- you don't like the tone of my article or the fact that I do assert my expertise in the field, so you see it as being superior. I guess I'll have to agree with you in the sense that, in regards to my knowledge of the subject matter, I am superior to the writers of the WikiHow article. I don't apologize for this. Regarding your assertion that my article is "drivel", again I refer to my extensive credentials in this field and remind you that in a logical argument, assertions must be supported by evidence, or else they are worthless as points of debate. I did this in my article --- I gave solid reasons for every criticism I offered. When there was good advice, I acknowledged it (this was not, however, as you mistakenly assumed, an attempt to be impartial. I simply called it as I saw it). In this case, while you're certainly entitled to your personal opinion, you have yourself offered no evidence of any knowledge, let alone expertise, in the field, so I can't really give your opinion any weight.
More constructive suggestions for you, Connor: while you're looking up "constructive criticism", also look up "justification". I haven't justified anything. One set of bad behaviors -- such as your use of sexist and obscene names --- does not justify another. Look, it's clear that you're really taking my article personally. I don't know why that is, but I don't mind criticism, I stand by what I wrote, and I'm glad to have a civil discussion. If you have genuine questions about why I wrote what I did and you can manage to be polite and logical, I'll be happy to engage further with you. But if all you're here for is to spout outrage and call names, this conversation is over.
You may want to look up the definition of "constructive criticism", Connor. I'll give you an example: it's hard to be taken seriously when your opening and subsequent conversational gambits include sexist name-calling.
And thank *you*, Connor, for being a totally sexist troll.
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Recently, a WikiHow article entitled “How to Sing Opera” has been making the rounds on all my friends' timelines --- mainly for the purpose of making fun of and/or expressing outrage its hysterically oversimplified and often incorrect or incomplete advice, not to mention the creepy anime style illustrations. It's not... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
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Alas, Ellen, it's true. It's kind of shocking to me that a VOCAL competition would treat you so badly, though!
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WORLD SERIES STAGES A GIANT ROYAL CHESTNUT Cindy Sadler, ArtsBeat and Sports In the world of baseball, the tried and true takes precedence over innovation, as witnessed on Tuesday night when the World Series once again presented one of the chestnuts of the game, the San Francisco Giants. This the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
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The Whole Bolivian Army (a band) explains why music should be paid for. A couple of years ago, a small publishing house decided to come out with a new edition of Prosper Merimee's Carmen novella, and they wanted to publicize this event by having singers perform bits of the opera... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
UnholyMezzo, you just made me splorf. BRAVA, SISTAH!
**The following is submitted with love, and the tongue at least partially in cheek.** Once upon a time, as a callow young apprentice in what was then called the Lyric Opera of Chicago Center for American Artists (now the Ryan Center), another mezzo and I were traveling by car with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
So, apparently Idina Menzel screwed up a high note in the most public of ways, singing her signature tune live in Times Square for Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve, which was of course broadcast. The Twittersphere went nuts and it's been a point of discussion on singer bulletin boards... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2015 at Mezzo with Character
New Year's resolutions are not really my thing. For one thing, after so many years of formal education, fall seems like the real beginning of the year to me. For another, if there's anything I learned from cognitive therapy, it's that there's no time like the present to begin the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
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I've given up on fashion magazines. I want to like them, I really do, but the fact is that I have yet to find a so-called woman's magazine that is marketed to my demographic and doesn't make me feel like crap when I flip through its pages. She looks gorgeous,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
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Fall is one of my favorite seasons, largely because it's the time when it finally gets a little cooler in Texas, but also because it has the really fun holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving). It's especially exciting when I get to be HOME for these holidays. Fall is a busy time... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
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For the past few days, I’ve been monitoring a number of conversations on social media regarding the audition/application fee argument, the application process, and the frustrations both singers and administrators feel . It’s clear that there are things both parties can be doing better. Singers need to do a better... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Shirley, if an opera company has an AGMA apprenticeship, then AGMA might have some influence, but it's possible for a company to be an AGMA signatory for chorus only, or mainstage only, or mainstage and chorus, and STILL not have an AGMA apprenticeship. And if you want AGMA to be involved, then you as an AGMA member have to demand it. AGMA is a union and unions are made up of members. Although there is a paid staff that runs administrative things, it is the membership that decides what it wants and makes things happen. So, if you are an AGMA member and you want changes in the way AGMA signatories run their apprenticeships, you need to bring it to your fellow union members and start making it happen. There is no Big Daddy who is going to make things happen for you. Also, this would only affect AGMA apprenticeships, and there are plenty of companies that are non-union.
1timeadmin, thank you SO much for adding to the dialogue. I can't tell you what a soapbox issue singers' education is for me and it's great for someone who's been on your side of the table to speak out about the way things really are. There's a lot to be said about education reform for musicians and that's the next big conversation I hope to have. Not only are those music degrees being handed out willy-nilly, kids are being encouraged to run up crippling amounts of debt they will NEVER be able to pay off with a job in music. NO ONE SHOULD GO INTO DEBT FOR A MUSIC DEGREE.
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Last year, inspired by (anonymized) singer shenanigans my friends in administration were sharing on social media, I wrote an article for Classical Singer Magazine entitled “Singers Behaving Badly”. You can read it in their archives if you have a subscription. It chronicled some of the more outrageous behavior certain singers... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Hi friends, Thank you all for such a great discussion! Please keep it going! I am in the process of compiling a list of "What Singers Want", which attempts to encapsulate the collected concerns and proposals that singers have for improving the system from the various social media discussions I've been monitoring. I'm also putting together a list of questions which I will then present to a panel of admins for response. The results will be published on this blog and I will submit them to Classical Singer as well. If you have questions, anecdotes, proposals, commentary, etc., please feel free to post them here or email them to me directly at Info @ TheBusinessOfSinging dot com (or you can do it through my website). I would also VERY much welcome the input of any administrators who want to comment on this thread. If you prefer to be anonymous so that you can speak freely, please email or FB message me. Thank you all, and let's keep talking! Cindy
Anon4, thanks for your comment. I've created a file of questions singers are asking, and intend to present them to a panel of administrators who agree to answer them. :) I believe we'll see that there's no one-size-fits-all response, but I also think that if we as a community can come up with some proposals that work, some of these companies might be willing to revise their policies.
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In recent days, a strongly-worded petition has been making the rounds on social media. It decries the "predatory fees" young singers are charged and demands that Opera America work with independent businesses such as YAP Tracker and Classical Singer Magazine to "prohibit" advertising any organization that requires an application fee.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
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Long time no see! When things get crazy on the performing side, the blog tends to slide. This is the fall of Roles I Don't Usually Get to Do, which makes it even more fun and busy. In October, we launched Spotlight Concerts, a new concert opera organization in Austin,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
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"Despite knowing so many details of your life, of say what you scrounged up to eat at another ungodly hour at some nondescript airport, I was finally able to hear your voice.... It was worth the wait to hear your artistry," kindly wrote a reader of my old blog, The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2014 at Mezzo with Character
Singers spend a lot of time worrying about Fach. For the civilians in the audience, Fach is a German word meaning strength, sort of like forte; but more specifically for singers, the specific type of repertoire, the collection of roles, they might be required to sing. There are a lot... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at Mezzo with Character