Q: How do you tell when your lead singer is at the door?
A: He can’t find the key and doesn’t know when to come in.
Q: What is the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and an All-Pro offensive lineman?
A: Stage makeup.
Q: How many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One. He holds the bulb while the world revolves around him.
Q: What is the difference between a soprano and a Porsche?
A: Most musicians have never been inside a Porsche.
Q: Did you hear about the female opera singer who had quite a range at the lower end of the scale.
A: She was known as the deep C diva.
Q: What is the missing link between the bass and the ape?
A: The baritone.
Q: What is the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and a Wagnerian Tenor?
A: About 10 pounds.
Q: How can you tell when a tenor is really stupid?
A: When the other tenors notice.
Ever hear the one about the tenor who was so off-key that even the other tenors could tell?
Q: How many tenors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Six. One to do it, and five to say, “It’s too high for him.”
Q: What’s the inscription on dead blues-singers tombstones?
A: “I didn’t wake up this morning…”
Person 1: It must be terrible for an opera singer to realize that he can never sing again.
Person 2: Yes, but it’s much more terrible if he doesn’t realize it.
Q: Dad, why do the singers rock left and right while performing on stage?
A: Because, son, it is more difficult to hit a moving target.
Q: Mom, why do you always stand by the window when I practice for my singing lessons?
A: I don’t want the neighbours to think I’m employing corporal punishment, dear.
Q: How many altos does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They can’t get up that high.
Q: How many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Get the drummer to do it.
Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings.
This must be heaven
So this trumpet player dies. When he reaches is everlasting reward, the guy in the robe says, “You’re going to spend eternity with this combo, okay? There’s a bass player named ‘Mingus’ and a pianist named ‘Monk’, and any day now we expect this ‘Blakey’ guy to show up with his drums.
“Wow!” the guy says, “I never imagined heaven would be this good.”
The man in the robe says, “This is hell, not heaven. There’s a girl singer.”
A Choristers’ Guide To Keeping Conductors In Line
The basic training of every singer should, of course, include myriad types of practical and theoretical emphases. One important area which is often neglected, however, is the art of one-upmanship. The following rules are intended as guides to the development of habits which will promote the proper type of relationship between singer and conductor.
1. Never be satisfied with the starting pitch. If the conductor uses a pitch-pipe, make known your preference for pitches from the piano and vice-versa.
2. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, and of a draft. It’s best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.
3. Bury your head in the music just before cues.
4. Ask for a re-audition or seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you’re about to quit. Let the conductor know you’re there as a personal favour.
5. Loudly clear your throat during pauses (tenors are trained to do this from birth). Quiet instrumental interludes are a good chance to blow your nose.
6. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your C# was in tune. This is especially effective if you had no C# or were not singing at the time.
7. At dramatic moments in the music (which the conductor is emoting), be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.
8. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know that you don’t have the music.
9. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.
10. When possible, sing your part either an octave above or below what is written. This is excellent ear-training for the conductor. If he hears the pitch, deny it vehemently and claim that it must have been the combination tone.
11. Tell the conductor, “I can’t find the beat.” Conductors are always sensitive about their “stick technique” so challenge it frequently.
12. If you are singing in a language with which the conductor is the least bit unfamiliar, ask her as many questions as possible about the meaning of individual words. If this fails, ask her about the pronunciation of the most difficult words. Occasionally, say the word twice and ask her preference, making to say it exactly the same both times. If she remarks on their similarity, give her a look of utter disdain and mumble under your breath about the “subtleties of inflection”.
13. Ask the conductor if he has listened to the von Karajan recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also good: ask, “Is this the first time you’ve conducted this piece?”
14. If your articulation differs from that of others singing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.
15. Find an excuse to leave the rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that others will become restless and start to fidget.
Make every effort to take the attention away from the podium and put it on you, where it belongs!
The amazing conductor
When a young hotshot conductor was making his debut at the Met, he showed the jaded and skeptical orchestra how well he knew the music by singing all parts of the Lucia sextet during rehearsal.
Afterwards, one musician was overheard whispering to the other, impressed, “Well, this kid really knows his stuff!”
The other replied, “I don’t think he is so hot. Did you notice how flat his high E was at the end?”
Arriving at Heaven
A soprano died and went to Heaven. St. Peter stopped her at the gate asking, “Well, how many false notes did you sing in your life?”
The soprano answers, “Three.”
“Three times, fellows!” says Pete, and along comes an angel and sticks the soprano three times with a needle.
“Ow! What was that for?” asks the soprano.
Pete explains, “Here in heaven, we stick you once for each false note you’ve sung down on Earth.”
“Oh,” says the soprano, and is just about to step through the gates when she suddenly hears a horrible screaming from behind a door. “Oh my goodness, what is that?” asks the soprano, horrified.
“Oh,” says Pete, “that’s a tenor we got some time back. He’s just about to start his third week in the sewing machine.”
Operas that never made it
Britten: A Midsummer Nightmare.
Mozart: The Magic Tuba.
Puccini: La Bamba.
Rossini: The Plumber of Seville.