You might be right. Amplified singing is, in some ways, more natural than
operatic singing and since I'm accustomed to it everywhere, the force of
operatic style is simply too much.
Wow. That may be one of the most wrong-headed (wrong-earred?)
assessments of operatic singing I've ever read! However, it is
instructive because I believe that in a nutshell it sums up the
problem most have with "operatic" singing.
First off, one needs to dispel the myth that operatic singers are
doing something unnatural. To the contrary, good operatic singing and
training usually involves the stripping away of accumulated bad habits
and regionalisms. In short, an opera singer works to get back to
square one. At that point, it's a matter of focussing and aligning all
of the muscles, brain functions etc of the individual to realize the
OPTIMUM realization of the vocal organ, as it were. You may not
believe it, but once a singer gets his stuff together, the dynamic
range (both loud AND soft) and colors available in their singing voice
increases. I've stood on stage next to a number of great singers in my
life (like Bergonzi, Cossutto, Giaotti, Fleming, Hines etc) who had
sizable voices, and I can tell you that their art was based on a
perfect blend of physical conditioning, muscular tone and
balance...and well-aligned and -developed vocal production. These
people - most of whom were rather short and stocky - produced great
volumes of sound and amazing pianissimi with little apparent effort -
EXCEPT FOR THAT "GOOD" PHYSICAL EFFORT ONE NEEDS TO SING WELL.
Bergonzi said to me, "if the effort isn't in your support, it will
travel to your throat."
In any case, my long-winded point is that GOOD operatic singing is
akin to a great athlete, ie: a person who - with the same muscles all
of us possess - takes their basic physicality and trains it to an
optimum level. That is the reason that an operatic singer with a great
technique can be heard over a 100-piece orchestra. It's NATURAL.
I would suggest you listen to some of the great singers of the past
decades - Corelli, Nilsson, Gedda, Tebaldi, Bergonzi, et al - in their
primes to see what the human voice is capable of achieving. It's not
fair to base your assessment on poor practitioners of the art. After
all, you could say that you disliked the violin as an instrument if
the only violinist you had ever heard was Jack Benny.
And, BTW - one of the worst ways to evaluate classical singers is via
recordings. Recordings have historically given much more favorable
results to small, mono-chromatic voices. Large, multi-colored voices
can be very difficult to reproduce accurately through recordings -
voices that bloom in the space of a large theatre can seem
over-bearing and one-dimensional when recorded with a mic scant inches
from their mouths!
In closing, let me say this - there are very few pop singers
(amplified singers) who sing in a "natural" way. Sinatra did, Tony
Bennett does, Aretha Franklin does, etc. Most pop singers of today -
ie: Madonna, Britney Spears, Christine what's-her-name, those country
types - sing with a technique full of bad habits and mis-aligned
muscles. Maybe that's why they all sound basically the same...sort of
like a cat in heat.
There's a big difference between what's natural and what's habitual.
We've confused the two in the past couple of decades when evaluating
There's nothing more inspirational to these ears than a well-produced
operatic voice doing what it does at its best.