Beyond Talent: Understanding Longevity in Classical Music




Drury, Blayke

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The opera industry is brimming with talent, and yet, career longevity in classical music is uncommon. Students and young artists often observe this phenomenon and wonder: what really helps an individual achieve success in the opera business? This project attempts to answer that question by taking a cross-section of the habits and experiences of several singers, directors, and teachers involved in the business of classical singing. Over twenty interviews were conducted, delving into each individual’s journey and approach to a successful career. These interviews informed an in-depth discussion of what an opera career really looks like, and how best to achieve balance. All of the direct quotes and analysis are intended to highlight any continuities within the overall group in order to provide guidance and inspiration for a new generation of singers. The discussion takes an honest look at the realities of loneliness and relationships while on the road, and offers advice and strategies for finding comfort and confidence through the rigorous audition processes experienced by singers. It also examines the role that spirituality plays in career longevity and suggests characteristics that are conducive to a successful career, questioning the definition of success as an opera singer.



Classical Music, Opera, Advice, Loneliness, Audition Anxiety, Success