A conversation with Bruce Ford: A blog post in three acts with prologue and Epilogue

On January 15th, I had the distinct pleasure of having a richly fulfilling conversation with the accomplished and celebrated Bel Canto Tenor, Bruce Ford. I could not help but to take an artistic view of the structure of the conversation. I have divided the clip as if it were an opera. A short introduction or Prologue by me, three “acts” discussing: 1. Mr. Ford’s background and training (2 scenes), 2. Vocal technique (3 scenes) 3. The current operatic realities (2 scenes) and an epilogue, dealing with Mr. Ford’s current activities. I hope interviews of this kind will become a mainstay on the blog. The realities and future of classical singing depend greatly on the contribution of our great singers. These are audio clips over a Skype conversation and so the quality leaves a bit to be desired. However the quality is certainly clear enough not to cause any strain in listening. Future interviews will use video whenever available.

Prologue: TS speaks informally about the format of the interview


Act I, Scene 1: Bruce Ford speaks about his early vocal education including four important years with his teacher, Dr. Jerry Doan.


Act I, Scene 2: Bruce speaks about his early stage experiences at Houston Opera Studio, and fest contracts at Wuppertal, Mannheim and Düsseldorf. And the fatal meetings with Maestri Claudio Scimone and Alberto Zedda, two Rossini specialists.


Act II, Scene 1: Bruce Ford and TS exchange thoughts about the importance of breathing, and balancing heavy and light mechanism and developing a secure high C by the end of his undergrad years, and the importance of a teacher putting his foot down about the limits of the student, and the difference between a lyric voice that carries well and a bona fide dramatic voice.


Act II, Scene 2: Bruce and TS talk about the dangers of pushing the voice down to a lower tessitura, achieving proper vocal weight, and the importance of a balanced middle voice.


Act II, Scene 3: Bruce and TS discuss the passaggio and the different approaches between Bel Canto tenors and Verismo tenors, the mastery of Gigli and Lauri-Volpi, and the necessity of flexibility.


Act III, scene 1: Bruce and TS discuss the realities of the business and whether singers who have had lasting careers have influence on the development of the business; Microphones in opera, electronic vs. acoustic singing, economic realities, etc.


Epilogue: Bruce speaks candidly about a health scare and discusses his desire to do more teaching and masterclasses.


I enjoyed listening to the interview while formatting the blog post. To learn more about Bruce Ford, visit his website.
We wish Bruce the very best in his future endeavors and hope to speak with him again soon!

© 01/28/2009