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As the majority of professional classical singers earn a significant part of their living in opera, it is vital that conservatoires and studios are able to provide fit-for-purpose education for these trainee artists. As opera productions today are increasingly influenced by the trends in cinema and live-streamed media, this study sought to identify and clarify the range and detail of acting and performance skills required of opera singers in this evolving professional environment. A significant part of the data collected relates to the participants’ perceptions about the relevance of technical stagecraft skills. These techniques mainly relate to how performers negotiate and occupy space when on stage, in terms of angle, direction and distance. The main component of the investigation has been conducted through a series of online and live interviews with a wide profile of practitioners including stage directors, performers, conductors, designers, teachers and intendants (company managers - usually artistic directors). The questions have been devised in order to evaluate the skills, resources and attributes which singers need to acquire in order to be able to succeed in this competitive industry. The data revealed the fact that opera singers today are required to possess a high standard of acting skills. The investigation also confirmed that there is an increasing demand for these performers to be instigative and creative in the rehearsal process while working collaboratively. The findings also revealed that all the performers in the study consciously employ technical performance skills. The conclusions from the investigation proposed that conservatoire programming therefore needs to incorporate technical performance training along with classes which will engender and develop creative and imaginative resources. It is advisable that these skills are contextualised regularly through participation in performance projects.
Hamilton, J. (2015). Acting for opera singers. DIT Teaching Fellowship Reports 2014-2015.