Singing master class asks Linfield students to reinterpret their music

Braelyn Swan, Staff writer

The music department hosted Daniel Helfgot for a master class, “The Singer as Interpreter,” Thursday afternoon in Delkin Recital hall.

Helfgot is an opera director and coach who listened to students perform and coached them on their performances.

The first singer Helfgot coached was Marcos Galvez who performed “Johanna” from the musical “Sweeney Todd.” Helfgot’s first comment was on visual presentation and how to present oneself during a performance.

He said that wearing glasses may cause a glare and be distracting for an audience. “What we do is a visual art or we would be doing CDs,” Helfgot said.

Helfgot asked Galvez to visualize his Joanna and sing the subtexts of the score he was provided.

Galvez was instructed to act out his emotions and find the meaning of what he was singing.

“If you go too far you can always come back, if you don’t go far enough you never know how far you can go,” Helfgot said.

Helfgot is the author of “The Third Line: The Opera Performer as Interpreter.” This book was mentioned during his coaching telling Galvez to find the third line of the score. The third line is the movement, focus, facial expression and vocal inflections implied by the music.

These are the things that a performer and director can interpret from the original lines of the score to give meaning and color to a character or the words being spoken.

Helfgot then coached a group of three performing a piece from “Company.” Marcos Galvez, Melory Mirashrafi, and Jaime Foglesong. “The worst thing you can do as interpreters is listen to a recording,” Helfgot said, because you may take that performers mistakes with you. They were then told,

“The worst thing you can do is not listen to recordings,” but they should listen to many interpretations of the pieces.

The next instruction that Helfgot gave was to find their focus.

Each performer needed to find someone or something that they were singing to; they had to find that focus and sing toward it.