Singing with Orchestra

  Is it different to perform with orchestra or piano?


Elizabeth:  Oh yes.  Any time you are working with the orchestra instead of the piano it's a different exercise.  I remember the first time I stood to sing with an orchestra.  I was totally overwhelmed.  I saw all those people with all those instruments sitting there and I thought, I'm done for.  They are just going to bury me.  I had no idea how I was going to get my little one-inch voice over this huge group of people. 


What I hadn't experienced before was the actual carrying or soaring power of the voice over the orchestra.  I really didn't think my voice could do that.  Once I sang with orchestra, a few times, I found my way.  I did have to set up my voice differently than with the piano.  I had to project better.  I had to resonate better.  I had to enunciate better.  You have got a little more competition in the sound there. 


Little enough of the orchestra is parallel with the sonance of the voice to cancel it out so you can cut through.  It does require a higher level of energy and focus and concentration to sing with the orchestra.  I'm generally more fatigued physically, not vocally, after singing with the orchestra. 


You are going to have more staying power on the recital stage than in Opera or Concert because you can pace yourself.  The output is most extreme with opera because it is very physical work.

(Interview with Elizabeth Parcells 2005)