How many times have you heard a person give his reason for shying away from opera singing as because it is "unnatural"? "I like the natural voice," he claims. But if that same person stopped to think or research the operatic voice, he would find that it is the most natural and the most, as you might say, organic, form of singing.
Operatic singing was one of the very earliest forms of singing. When people sing operatically, they stretch their vocal cords tight, producing a naturally and healthfully loud sound. This technique was developed, of course, because of the lack of other means of projection at the time. Nowadays, singers need not use this technique because they have microphones and amplifiers: artificial assistance. With an operatic voice, all that is needed is the voice. A pop voice, however, invariably needs the effects and amplifiers of electronic devices.
What people usually refer to as the natural voice is the untrained voice – the nasal voice that is so easy to imitate. This is not intended as a criticism of pop music, which is a valid and enjoyable form of entertainment. However, operatic training truly develops and stimulates the voice to the level of excellence it can achieve. Just as an athlete develops his muscles and agility to the best he can make them (and we have the Olympics where people worldwide celebrate this); just as a scholar uses all capacities of his brain to remember information (and we have television shows like "Jeopardy" and "The Scholar" to celebrate this); just as all of these people are pushing their natural abilities to their highest level, cultivating a natural talent, so do those individuals who are trained in the operatic form of singing. This developmental process is commended in athletes and in scholars. Why should it not be commended in singers?
I attribute this loss of respect for the natural voice as part of our society's growing scorn for the natural. Athletes used steroids; women use birth control. Abnormal practices such as plastic surgery are rampant. Natural, unrefined sounds have been out of style for a long time, and the genres of metallica and hip-hop take the rank of most popular music. Orchestras full of hardworking, brilliant and talented individuals are being replaced with synthesizers. Unnatural things are prevalent and the natural is lost – unappreciated – forgotten.
It is a shame that our society is in this mindset, but it need not prevent individuals who value the natural flow of things from understanding and appreciating the art of operatic singing. These people who are aware of the refined capabilities of the human body should share their awareness with as many people as possible so that a respect for the art may be cultivated. If more people would think and be open to the art of operatic singing – an art that has lasted throughout all of five centuries – they would find that it is both a natural and beautiful form of art that elevates the resources of the human body with grace and health.