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How to Make Your Monologue Sing (An Opera Singer's Advice)

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Advice on keeping audiences engaged, from the opera singer Kurt Moll, who died Mar. 5.

Quoted in the New York Times obit on how he held attention to King Marke’s monologue in Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde,” Moll said:

“His monologue contains some of the most ravishing music ever written, but it’s also very long and very inward. If the bass isn’t careful, he will find that his audience has fallen fast asleep by the end of it. You can stand there in your beard, and that beard will seem to get longer and longer as you sing. You have to remember to externalize what is essentially inward—to give the monologue life, variety, color, nuance. That’s what keeps the audience listening.” —DM