Monday, June 08, 2015

Frank Merriman (1941- a long, time in the future...)

I learned Bel Canto from my teacher Julian Miller in the traditional and conventional way, with an emphasis on clarity of pronunciation, especially the vowels, and endless hours working on classical arias.

I realized through our work together that the singers who made the most enduring impact on the singing world through their artistry were the ones who focused all of their efforts on telling the story of the song. The true essence of the expressive Bel Canto artistry in singers like Jean de Reske, John McCormack, Zinka Millanov and Jussi Bjorling came from storytelling.
Telling the story was what allowed them to use their voices effortlessly in the most beautiful, powerful and natural way. I made sure to tell the story every time I opened my mouth to sing.

I began teaching singing because my co-performers in the opera company in Duesseldorf, Germany started asking me to help them improve their performances. When I eventually realized that over half the entire opera company was coming to my flat for singing lessons I decided that the life of a full-time teacher was the life I was born for. I taught in Germany for a while and then for several years in London.

When I came back to Dublin to teach singing in the year 1983 I expanded my teaching base to include not only classical singers, but also singers from other styles of music such as Irish folk singers, pop singers, showband singers and rock and roll singers. I revolutionized the Bel Canto tradition by taking it out of the opera house and putting it into the hands (and voices) of all Irish singers. Thus a new singing tradition, unique to Ireland, was born: "Bel Canto Storytelling."

In 1987 I purchased a historic Georgian building on North Great Georges Street in Dublin as a permanent home for the Bel Canto House School of Singing. It truly is the home of "beautiful singing" where singers of all styles, whether beginners or experienced performers, have a positive environment to work towards VOCAL FREEDOM.

I have been the singing teacher of hundreds and hundreds of students, including Sinead O’Connor, Heidi Talbot, Leslie Dowdall, Christy Digman and most importantly my associate teacher Edwin Williamson.

No comments: