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December 30, 2012

End of the year 2012 Blog

I can’t believe that 2012 is over. Career wise this was probably the most successful and eventful year in the whole of my fifteen year career.  My latest album “Be my Love” topped the charts in several countries. From the Grammy award nomination to being nominated and winning the Gramophone Artist of the Year 2012 – I was so proud to bring these honors for the first time to my home country Malta to the delight of my compatriots whom I am privileged to call “fellow Maltese!”

Of course a lot went on stage as well and this year my best experiences both happened in London. The first, chronologically, was the run of “La Boheme” in London where I had the extraordinary privilege of working with director John Copley. Pushing 80 he has the exuberance and energy of a man 50 years his junior. His insight on acting and singing are truly revealing and it is simply unnerving to witness his still humongous “hunger” for this beautiful art form despite the fact that he clocked more than half a century on the world’s greatest stages. Add to this we ended up being a cast of “true bohemians.” Real friendship formed with Carmen Gianattasio, Fabio Capitanucci, Matthew Rose and Thomas Oliemans – what was going on stage was really a mirror of reality rather than being an imitation.  Semyon Bychkov in the pit aptly reminded us that even Puccini can be sung, not screamed, over the orchestra…

……and then the proms….Never in my life have I been so nervous knowing that I was going to sing the great tenor warhorses in front of a live audience of more than 10000 and a television audience running into millions. After Nessun Dorma the whole Royal Albert Hall erupted and “football stadium style cheering” ensued. Maestro Jiri Belohlavek immediately suggested an encore but I was frankly feeling too emotional of doing a “da capo.” It was a magical moment and I just wanted to breath it in…such an amazing event and wonderful colleagues like Nicky Benedetti, Mro Belohlavek, orchestra and the real stars of any Proms – the Prommers!

2013 is starting with a bang ie; a sold out concert at the Royal Festival Hall, another recital disk for Decca, a complete recording for the same label and performances in around 20 different cities around the globe including in my beloved Malta!

 

To all of you a great New Year without forgetting to thank the amazing team I have around me including (but not limited to) CSAM agency, 21c Media and Albion!

Comments

  1. Rosa Ulacia

    Felicidades por un año pleno de éxitos en tu carrera.
    Mis mejores para el 2013!
    El 14 de enero, espero con ilusión verle en su Concierto en España.

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Joseph's Blog

July 11th, 2014

10 tips to overcome vocal fatigue

The end of my operatic season is night and pretty much invariably, year after year, its when I feel most tired and in dire need of my annual summer break. Singing the last few performances culminating with my Malta yearly summer concert can be a challenge – especially when I have to tackle a total of around 19 arias/songs!
Thankfully there is stuff that works for a tired physique and voice. Here is what works for me -

1. Move! Working out, swimming and even a long brisk walk will do wonders for your circulatory system. Don’t do this on the day of the performance but definitely in between.

2. Silence. If you are singing a lot than it is imperative that you keep mum during other hours and only talk if its absolutely necessary. Limit phone conversations too as much as possible.

3. Diet – 3 main meals a day are a must. Avoid foods high in lactose and sugar and go instead for protein, veg and loads of fresh fruit. Keeping your blood sugar relatively constant is important and regular, healthy meals will lessen the likelihood of acid reflux. Its also important not to eat late in the evening. I try to avoid eating after 6pm whenever possible.

4. Steam inhalations – Get a big pot or steam inhalator, throw in some bicarbonate of soda and sea salt and just inhale the healing/relieving vapours! This is really beneficial to basically all your upper respiratory tract and will dislodge mucus and other impurities from your throat.

5. Nasal irrigation – Not the nicest “procedure” but it does remove all kinds of “junk” from your nose. Make sure you always rinse with saline water and there are prepared sachets you can get from virtually any pharmacy.

6. Sleep – Its boring but a good 8 hour sleep is unbeatable to get the voice back in shape. Acid reflux sufferers will also find relief by tilting their head upwards by using two pillows to avoid nasty acid creeping up their throat during their slumber.

7. Stress – or the lack of it. Absolutely avoid stressful situations which may include noisy places/bars. Your throat tenses up automatically even if you don’t speak apart from the fact that you can “tire” your ears out. There have been some studies that our “ears” tire out too so the avoidance of high decibel places is a must!

8. Vibrator – Yep that one. Apparently tests have shown that massaging your throat with a vibrator is beneficial to the surrounding neck muscles. Apparently there are some therapists that employ such “devices” already…

9. Humidity – A constant dry environment can spell disaster for your voice and general well being. If you are in a cold climate and the heating is at full blast, chances are that the relative humidity is low. Invest in a humidifier and let them rip! We all have slightly different comfort levels. For me what works best is around 55 to 65% – just like a good cigar!

10. Arguments – Whether of a business or personal nature do walk away from these when you are singing. Even if talking is not involved the mere thought or presence of something negative will automatically tense your neck muscles and raise the incidence of acid reflux!

 

If everything of the above fails than you need a vacation! Choose a high humid climate with beautiful, clear seas at hand. Swimming in the ocean/sea is truly beneficial for the voice as long as one avoids the worse hours of the sun.