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Great Singers on Great Singing: A Famous Opera Star Interviews 40 Famous Opera Singers on the Technique of Singing Paperback – July 1, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If some of renowned bass Hines's "great singers" seem to have been included more for political reasons (after all, he had to work with these people) than because they were truly great, most of them do rate the title, and there's something for the singer to learn from almost all of them--about technique, learning music, developing the voice, preserving the voice--even if in a few cases it's what not to do. If nothing else, the book proves what an inexact science vocal pedagogy really is, and the anecdotes are worth reading. Hines's subjects include Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, Luciano Pavarotti, and other operatic stars, primarily of the generation just passing, that which came to prominence in the '60s and '70s.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 358 pages
  • Publisher: Limelight Editions; 7 edition (July 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780879100254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879100254
  • ASIN: 0879100257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

A very good and importante book for Singing Teachers and Singers.
Eduardo Xavier
There are exercises and hints from the great singers on how they warm up, their views on proper breathing and the fundamentals of singing.
Chorus GIrl
I bought this book for him for his birthday, and he is delighted with it.
Norene R. Emerson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Linda C. Davis on March 21, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a mezzo soprano with more than 40 years of performance experience and I learned new things when I read this book. It's not for beginners as the technical references would be confusing. But for the experienced singer who always wants to learn and improve there is a wealth of information. On the first read through I just examined what the mezzos had to say...a good way to get info quickly for your particular voice type...then I sat down and read it all. This will be a permanent part of my music library.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By BDSinC on January 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was young (borrowed it from the Library) then bought it later. At the time I first read it, I was studying singing myself and I really wanted to make sense of what teachers were saying and what great singers had to say about singing. I found the book wonderfully insightful, but completely contradictory. It seemed so few singers agreed with one another. It was like black was white to some of them. The descriptions of the passagio left me more than confused, "Making the throat space larger by making it smaller?" Or Corelli's idea of shoving your tongue down your throat to hold the larynx low (a thing that literally choked me!).

I concluded that there were as many ways of singing as there were singers. And NONE of their insight helped me one bit in understanding my own voice teacher (who I left because in the end, I was getting no where, and only getting a sore throat).

Once I had found a great teacher (a former very famous Wagnerian soprano) who really seemed to understand about freeing the voice, I began to understand what things meant. She was able to tell me what the different terms people used meant, and that sometimes terms that sound in contradiction really were explaining the same thing. At this point, I purchased the book and read it again. With this new insight I was able to make more sense of what the various singers were saying. It is true, they still contradicted each other as far as their methods, but at least I was able to see they were still talking about achieving the same things. Some of the singers were using the same technique I was being taught, and they explained it well enough (though in different terms) so I could see what they were all about. I also listened to their recordings and could hear the same things I was being taught.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
What to say about this book?
Jerome Hines, in my view one of the great singers of this century, in his long career as a professional singer, got to work with and meet some of the greatest voices in recent history.
Mr. Hines got responses from these great artists, and collected them in a book as an inestimable resource for the rest of us, and I am truly grateful for having had the chance to share in what they brought to the world of music and vocal performance.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in vocal performance or vocal pedagogy, or anyone who would love to read about some of the great voices of our time having a friendly chat about their lives and art with another great artist.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Orde on May 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This has long been one of my favourite books on singing. I lent my copy to a fellow singer and never saw it again. Fortunately I recently managed to buy a second-hand first edition, and this copy is never going to leave my house. If you are a singer, it is one of those books that you will want to read again and again at various points in your career, gaining more insight from it at each reading and as your experience grows. Jerome Hines interviewed a selection of forty opera singers - including Domingo, Pavarotti, Ponselle and Sutherland (to name four of the best known) - and prompted them to voice their opinions, experiences, impressions, sensations, tricks of the trade and routines on what is so often invisible, intangible and elusive about the art of singing. He sensibly chose, for the most part, singers who were well into their years of prime or nearing the end of their careers rather than young stars who might not have acquired enough experience to be suitably analytical about their art. What is so endlessly fascinating about this book is what has to be inferred rather than what is actually stated. The reader is often left to try to imagine what the interviewee could possibly mean when he (in this case Nicolai Gedda) said in response to a question about what he feels when he sings a high note: "I think it's a double kind of movement ... of working of muscles ... even up a little. It's both." This is the kind of stuff that a singer will ponder for many a year, and one wishes that Hines could have been just a little bit more probing at times. Nevertheless I still give him five stars because it was such an original idea for a book.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E F Isaacs on October 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
Hines, at a time when he needed vocal advice himself, asked his operatic peers to tell him just how they sing. Their unguarded answers are greatly revealing, and greatly useful to the aspiring singer; that's why this book has been in demand for decades.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Proving once again that there is no "just follow these simple steps and you'll be a great performing vocalist" recipe to greatness. Through many interviews with accomplished singers, this book proves that each artist must struggle (even with great talent in hand) to find their own unique way to vocal greatness. Many of the interviews confirm the universal vocal truths we all know too well. But there are also some unique pearls of wisdom and insight from highly accomplished vocalists which makes this book well worth the read.
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Great Singers on Great Singing: A Famous Opera Star Interviews 40 Famous Opera Singers on the Technique of Singing
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