Not so long ago I had attended the birthday party of a friend of mine, who happens to be the owner of a private horse riding club. The club is located near Moscow, and the birthday itself was celebrated in the fields adjacent to the club. Of course, there were horse riding competitions and numerous gifts and surprises. One of the surprises was the performance of a bass (a bass-baritone, to be exact) opera singer, Roman Demidov. He performed his program, full of arias and romantic songs, right in the fields in the open air.
I knew and listened to this singer before. He is a very active person; he was the lead singer of one of Moscow’s opera houses, but had left it to try himself out as a “free agent”. He has his own website at http://romandemidov.ru/, he is an invitee soloist to a number of opera houses, he is the laureate of several competitions, he has sung here and there, and he is invited to perform by theaters, companies and wealthy people.
I am fond of opera and classical vocals, and despite having poor natural abilities, I had decided to take classical vocal lessons – purely for myself, just because I like it. My teacher – let’s call him Ivan – is also a bass-baritone, with a strong, very beautiful lush timbre and with good technique. Let’s hope Roman would forgive me, but I actually like Ivan’s voice better.
But here’s the thing – I cannot share with you the sound of Ivan’s voice, because he does not have a personal website. He has not participated in any competitions. Neither does he have a prepared repertoire for a performance.
In the world of vocals, such voices as Chaliapin’s and Caruso’s are not very common. Much more often the case would be that one would posses simply a good voice, with which one can make a career – or not. To make a career, it is not enough to just sing rather well. One needs to be able to promote oneself. And for this, one needs to be an active person. And to try, and try, and try again.
Even if we take the example of Chaliapin and Caruso… we would find that the beginning of their singing careers was not at all strewn with roses. Chaliapin had not possessed the obligatory opera singer’s two-octave range – he could not hit low notes, and could not sing a significant part of the bass repertoire, for example, Konchak’s part from “Prince Igor”. For most other singers, this could well be a verdict. And Caruso had spent his youth earning a living as a street singer in Naples.
The sleeping fox catches no chickens – as the saying goes. And I fully agree. What distinguishes successful people from the “not very successful” is the ability to try, and to try, and to get up and try again… never giving up. The ability to announce THEMSELVES to the world.
The alternative is to spend one’s whole life singing only for oneself… in one’s dreams. Or at best, in the shower in the morning.