An Experiment

“What in the balls is this blathering libspeak?” comments a YouTube viewer. I’m happy to answer that question: it is a video version of an essay on singing, Sappho, bones, holes, bird people, worms, and the Queen of the Night. Originally published in Numero Cinq.

Sampled images and sounds are used with gratitude. The clip of a woman singing the Queen of the Night’s aria is Diana Damrau. The image of “The Girl with No Door on her Mouth” is Fides Krucker in her production of the same name.

My singing teacher at the time I wrote the essay was Susan Carr. Susan is based in Seattle, and once coached Seahawks fans on how to scream healthily, so that the fans could set a world record for loud cheering.

I met my current teacher, Fides Krucker, through a past teacher, Richard Armstrong. Their work with voice considers not only the sound produced, but the body and soul producing that sound. I am an intermittent voice student, but working with these teachers is, for me, endlessly interesting, fun, and profound.

3 works that have been hugely influential are Anne Carson’s essay “The Gender of Sound” in her collection, “Glass, Irony, and God,” Mary Beard’s “Confronting the Classics,” and Giulia Sissa’s “Greek Virginity.” A more complete list of sources accompanies the written form of this essay at Numero Cinq online magazine.