A Soprano's Soul: A Conversation with Julie Reumert
Posted Tuesday, June 1st 2021 by Meredith Davis
Here at New York Vocal Coaching, we have sophisticated, sparkling soprano among us!
Julie Reumert is a distinguished opera singer celebrated in both the United States and Europe.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Opera from the Royal Danish Academy of Music as well as the Manhattan School of Music. Gracing the stages of Carnegie Hall, New York Lyric Opera and Lincoln Center, Julie has shared her talents across every corner of Manhattan’s prestigious opera community.
As a Senior Associate Instructor at New York Vocal Coaching, Julie’s brings all of her musical gifts together, sharing her knowledge and her gift with the singers of tomorrow.
But what is it about opera music specifically that is so timeless? No matter how the years go by, the magic of opera never seems to fade. Perhaps Julie can tell us why!
What drew you to opera above all other forms of music?
I saw an opera with my dad when I was six years old. The soprano came out on stage and I just knew.
It was the beauty and the glamour. I didn’t know that could exist in the world. It was like a spell had been cast. I started listening to opera music all the time. I was already in children’s choir and we were just starting to sing classical music. So the timing was meant to be.
In that one moment, I knew what I wanted to be.
Opera has such a rich history. Is there a specific period in opera that you find to be the most outstanding?
I’ve always admired Baroque opera. Most companies today want to do the comic operas, like The Magic Flute and The Marriage of Figaro. But now Baroque is coming back! Prior to the season being postponed, Agrippina was performed at the Metropolitan Opera.
I find it so interesting! There is so much skill woven into that style of opera. How masterful singers can take on the challenge and breath life into such old scores.
Some say that opera is the basis for all music, like ballet is for dance. Do you find that to be true?
Well, it is true that there are basic things that opera can help with, like breathing and flexibility and overall control. Jazz music specifically incorporates opera technique into their vocal exercises. But if you want to do musical theatre and belt, opera technique wouldn’t be recommended. That is a whole other discussion. And quite a long discussion at that!
Ultimately, I think that the skills learned through opera can never harm you. It will just take you in a different musical direction.
Should all vocalists study opera at some point in their vocal journey?
Study the technique that you want to pursue. All of the musical genres are unique in their vocal technique. At a certain point, singers need to hone in on what they truly want.
What can other artists in other musical fields learn from opera?
Self discipline! Just as you play the piano eight hours a day, so you do with opera.
All of the musical skills needed to perform opera are necessary across all music. There is repetition, projection (as most opera stages will find you singing outdoors without a microphone) and diction. You’re exposed to different languages like German, French and Italian.
And of course, there is the acting. There is a deeply felt interpretation of a character and a song. Sometimes, the entire storyline can be held within one character’s song and it’s up to the performer to deliver the message, to fill and feel the moment.
For a full artistic experience, you really find everything in opera!
Meredith is the Studio Manager at New York Vocal Coaching, as well as an experienced actor, director, and choreographer. She served as the director of Musical Theatre for the North Carolina Young Artists Program. During the summer of 2011, 2012 and 2013, NCYAP traveled internationally to Bulgaria and Italy to perform her works. She has also worked as the Assistant to the Producer of North Carolina Theatre where she maintained the daily workings of every production throughout the spring season of 2013.
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