June 23, 2003
Practice makes perfect with new teaching tool
for opera students
By Scott Rappaport
UC Santa Cruz opera students may find preparing for their roles a bit
easier in the future thanks to a new teaching tool just donated to the
Brian Staufenbiel, director of UCSC's opera program, initiated
the acquisition of Opera Practice Perfect. Photo:
Courtesy of Brian Staufenbiel
Opera Practice Perfect is a comprehensive audio catalog of 209
CDs, including 20 operas in both complete versions and broken into operatic
roles, and 15 discs containing arias for five vocal ranges.
Providing the played piano part of the vocal score, it allows singers
to practice their parts at any time of the day and in any location--without
The tempo for each opera is additionally matched to historic recordings
by famous conductors.
Acquisition of Opera Practice Perfect was initiated by lecturer/voice
instructor Brian Staufenbiel, director of UCSCs opera program.
He had used selected discs with his students to prepare for performances
of Donizettis Elixir of Love two years ago for UCSCs
annual spring opera production.
"I think it makes it easier for them to prepare," Staufenbiel
noted. "It cant replace coaches because you lose the live
interaction between the accompanist and the student. But what it does
do is allow the students to practice with accompaniment as much as they
need to gain a solid understanding of their part. It helps them to practice
"My students were certainly happy to have had a copy of their
entire role and to be able to practice any time they wanted," he
added. "Im very happy that we have it."
McHenry Library bibliographer Paul Machlis said the collection--worth
more than $8,000--was made available to UCSC at less than half its retail
price by Opera Practice Perfect founders Cary and Carole Fisher.
Substantial donations by an anonymous donor, Razia Nathani-Suleman,
and the Friends of the UCSC Library combined to help make the gift possible.
"The Music Department is one of the strongest supporters of the
library," Machlis noted. "Musicians depend upon a strong score
and recordings collection that only an academic library can provide.
So its a particular pleasure for the library to be able to support
the department with the acquisition of this teaching resource."
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