“One day I definitely will do my part to keep opera alive!”, – says Jared Ice – amazing baritone and vocal coach from Frankfurt.
Sincere conversation with Jared (@icejared) about realities of classical music, modern audiences, dreams and happiest days on stage – as the perfect start for @10questionstomusician blog.
My voice… is always changing. In terms of months and years, but also day to day. Allowing my voice to change and following those changes instead of trying to fit my voice into where I hope it will be ultimately leads to more honesty, freedom and artistic expression.
Opera for me… is a release. It’s an outlet, where I can focus all my energy into a single thing instead of spreading myself too thin. In a world of over-exposure and growing sensationalism I find a certain freedom in being in a quiet room and focusing all my energy towards a single goal. It’s a balance of mind and body that is sometimes frustrating, but more often than not rewarding and satisfying. The experience of being in a large concert hall and hearing thousands of people holding their breath as the whole room focuses on a single moment free from cell phones and the internet is inspiring everytime.
If I could change anything in the existing realities of classical music world, this would be… I wish classical musicians and administrators wouldn’t be so afraid of adapting to modern audiences and trends. In terms of performances, but also modern marketing techniques. Some companies like LA Opera, as well as many individual artists, are doing a fantastic job of this, but it definitely isn’t the common trend yet.
Modern audience… modern audiences are tough to define. A large portion of current audiences is made up of people who like opera as a tradition. The goal of opera should be to grow our audience, not to maintain it. Exposing people to the art form is a growing challenge. I’m personally a fan of translating, shortening and adding dialog to operas for the sake of outreach and exposure.
One day I definitely will… do my part to keep opera alive. When not performing, I help run a small agency called Künstlermeile @kuenstlermeile with three other team members. Our goal is to bring opera to the public in a more approachable setting. We’ve had successful concerts in bars and other non-traditional venues and are constantly looking for new ways to keep the edge in opera.
The most complicated aspect of being an opera singer today is… how entrepreneurial you have to be and how little information there is for young singers. You of course have to sing great, be healthy and be put together, but this really only allows one to compete. Budgeting, self-promotion, networking and negotiating are skills that are now falling directly to the responsibility of the singer but are often in short supply and untrained.
The best advice I’ve ever been given… don’t go to an audition trying to be what they are looking for – you can only go as yourself. They will like you or not and it often has nothing to do with your skill. If you’re purple and they’re looking for red, there’s nothing you can do. Desperation and insincerity however will often lose you an audition.
My happiest day on stage… I’ve had many successes, exciting days and funny stories but my happiest day on stage hasn’t happened yet. I do think there will be a day when I stand on stage and take a deep breath and say to myself “I did it”, but that day is probably waiting on the other end of years more of hard work.
One of my biggest dreams…. My biggest dream is to be part of a movement that brings opera to a point where it will not only survive, but be alive and well.
My way is…to just start… I may not be the best planner, but I’m a good finisher. We all have hopes and dreams, but if you are waiting for the perfect moment to jump it’ll pass you by. Show people who you really are, your strengths and your weaknesses. My best voice lessons came from colleagues, not teachers. I originally started in rock music and there is much more unity there than in the classical world. People share techniques, riffs and ideas. My biggest leaps in ability as an opera singer came when I opened up to colleagues or classmates and said “I can’t do that, can you show me how?”.