Any singer longing to have a career in opera, particularly in Europe, should be familiar with the European system of classifying voices know as Fach. The Opera Singer's Career Guide: Understanding the European Fach System presents valuable information to help readers learn, understand, and use the Fach system to their professional advantage. More than just soprano, alto, tenor, or bass, students and professionals alike should know the 25 different Fach categories fully defined here, along with the examples of roles, audition arias, and European opera houses and agents provided.
Based on careful research and personal experience, singer and teacher Pearl Yeadon McGinnis describes the features, characteristics, and benefits of the Fach system, including voice categorization and classification and using Fach to train the young voice. She provides practical information on maintaining a career in opera, such as the different types, procedures, and pitfalls of opera auditions; types of opera contracts and contract negotiations; and the value of networking. She explains the different styles of European opera houses and gives an example of life in a state level German opera house, including the various performance spaces, the makeup and responsibilities of an ensemble, and the jobs and functions of opera house personnel. A glossary and several appendixes supply tools for auditioning, such as newly classified roles for Children, Lyric, and Beginner singers; roles for the established Fach categories; lists of opera agents and houses in the German speaking countries; and suggested audition arias by Fach. In addition, practical details are offered about establishing and maintaining residency in Europe, obtaining permission to live and work in Europe, and helpful hints about customs and travel.
[This work] is an exceptionally practical text for singers and teachers, in that it addresses every aspect of the craft and career management that a North American singer who is not yet familiar with the European system should consider. It may, in fact, be of just as much value to a German or European singer sharing the same aspirations. . . .[T]his is the first text that combines all of this information in one volume, making it a most convenient reference. The appendixes will prove excellent references to anyone considering employment in Europe, as they contain not only listings of all major opera houses in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, including contact information for all the major agencies, but also extensive role and audition repertoire lists for all voice types (including children). * Music Education Research *
Dr. Pearl Yeadon McGinnis' new book, The Opera Singer's Career Guide, is part handbook, part guidebook, part love letter to a genre. She has created a marvel of utility: an efficient and painstakingly compiled book full of organized thought, pertinent and useful information with the success of the singer in mind. For the aspiring artist seeking a career abroad, Dr. Yeadon's work will provide both direction and assurance; the amateur opera lover will delight in the behind-the-scenes descriptions of people, places, and performances. The book will serve as a great encouragement to young singers in their career pursuit, and stands as a fitting legacy: a final gift from a formidable, unfailingly generous artist and gifted teacher whose passion for helping students knew no bounds. -- Dr. Andrew Childs, Lyric Tenor, and Professor and Chair of Music at St. Mary's College