Acting for Singers: Creating Believable Singing Characters / Edition 1

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Written to meet the needs of thousands of students and pre-professional singers participating in production workshops and classes in opera and musical theater, Acting for Singers leads singing performers step by step from the studio or classroom through audition and rehearsals to a successful performance. Using a clear, systematic, positive approach, this practical guide explains how to analyze a script or libretto, shows how to develop a character building on material in the score, and gives the singing performer the tools to act believably. More than just a "how-to" acting book, however, Acting for Singers also addresses the problems of concentration, trust, projection, communication, and the self-doubt that often afflicts singers pursuing the goal of believable performance. Part I establishes the basic principles of acting and singing together, and teaches the reader how to improvise as a key tool to explore and develop characters. Part II teaches the singer how to analyze theatrical work for rehearsing and performing. Using concrete examples from Carmen and West Side Story, and imaginative exercises following each chapter, this text teaches all singers how to be effective singing actors.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[The book] has a great deal to offer to young professionals, as well as college and serious high school students and I highly recommend it to both teachers and students." --Carol Madill, Vocal Music Instructor and Fine Arts Department Head, Wyalusing Valley High School

"A fine text book...This is a well-designed systematic approach which clarifies a sequence of steps one can follow to develop convincing characters and interpretations in opera, musical theater, art songs and auditions." --Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs, Mezzo soprano, voice teacher, and choral director on Maui

"Singers and their teachers will benefit from this useful text that details the process of bringing believable characters to the stage." --Journal of Singing

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195145403
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/7/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 1,214,612
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Ostwald teaches and directs at the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute. He has taught at SUNY Purchase (where for ten years he headed the Opera Program), The Juilliard School, Queens College, New York, and the University of California, Berkeley.

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Table of Contents

PART I: Believability: The Territory and the Tools
1. The Divine Marriage: Combining Believable Acting with Expressive Singing
2. To Become or Not to Become: Using Yourself to Create a Believable Character
3. Playing in the Moment: Using Improvisation to Be Believable
4. Judgements and Trust: Improving Your Concentration
PART II: Creating Your Character
5. Neither Right nor Wrong: Making Believable Character Choices
6. Your Character's Universe: Analyzing the Dramatic Structure of Music-Theatre Pieces
7. Your Character's World: Fashioning a Theme Statement
8. Your Character's Heart's Desire: Fashioning Super-Objectives
9. Motivating Your Character's Actions: Fashioning Objectives and Acting Beats
10. Your Character's Inner Voice: Fashioning Subtext
PART III: Preparing for Performances
11. Being Believable in Any Role on Any Stage: Heightening
12. Getting the Part: Auditioning
13. Getting Good: Rehearsing
14. Delivering a Believable Character: Performing

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    Breathe life and artistry into your characters

    David Ostwald's new book, 'Acting for Singers,' is an important and helpful guide for singers-in-training, for professionals learning new roles, and for seasoned performers who wish to infuse new dramatic life into their repertory. As a former arts administrator for San Francisco Opera and Affiliate Artists, Inc., I feel that Ostwald's book is equally useful for stage directors, conductors, teachers, and coach/accompanists who strive to make their highly collaborative art form appear as seamless as possible. Ostwald covers a number of pertinent topics including the foundations of believable acting, ways to improve concentration, and how to motivate a character's actions. Having judged many auditions over the years, I found the chapter on 'Getting the Part' to be especially helpful to young singers who may not know how to dress for the occasion, speak to the judges, or introduce their selections from the stage. The author's 'Ten Maxim's of Believable Singing' provide a concise checklist of wisdom gleaned from his years of teaching and directing. Ostwald's analysis of how directors and teachers can help their singers grow and flourish, including the sage advice of 'Always be supportive' and 'Never humiliate anyone,' presents a pithy list that bosses in any business should read and take to heart. The text is lively, clear and well designed, with headings, bulleted points and enough white space to make the book¿s insights both accessible and memorable. Each chapter contains helpful exercises, summaries or trouble shooting techniques which will enable singers and their colleagues to create superior performances. 'Acting for Singers' will likely become an indispensable, dog-eared companion for any singers who wish to breathe life and artistry into their characters. Perry-Lynn Moffitt

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

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