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by James Anderson

The above is one book in two volumes which, for me, has become something of a bible of good singing. It's not a book on 'how to sing', but a collection of the spoken and written words mostly of great singers, but also of conductors, singing teachers, critics and other informed parties from 1800-1960. It is largely a series of tips on the aspects of singers and their art and their impressions of how it was achieved. Throughout, the underlying wisdom of these great artists is naturalness, patience, hard work and persistence. No short cuts for Farinelli, Rubini, Patti and Battistini. They worked on their instruments until they had purity of tone, flexibility and perfect dynamic control on every pitch in their range. Not until then did they launch their careers with justified confidence, healthy vocalism and a warranted longevity.

Having read these books three times (and that's not enough to absorb thoroughly the awesome amount of material Mr. Anderson has researched and collated), I have inevitably used some references - although others have also been duplicated from other sources. I cannot recommend these volumes too highly to the student, and indeed, the lover of good singing and suggest you look at his website 'Singers' Legacy'. Here you will find information about the volumes and also related articles, organisations, websites, etc..

by Christa Ludwig

It's always good fun to read the autobiographies of singers - particularly our favourite ones. Of the many that are available, I especially recommend this. Not only was Christa Ludwig acknowledged universally as one of the truly great singers of the twentieth century, but her warm, lively, generous and infectious personality shines through every page. She is also honest, down-to-earth, outspoken and very funny. There's no prima donna hyperbole and self-aggrandisement here and the book is rich in wit, interest and wisdom throughout. She simply says it as it is. One minute she talks of the wonders of Wagner and Strauss and the next about the appalling toilets in her dressing room! A real page turner.


Brindley Sherratt - as wise as many of the great basso characters he portrays on stage - muses on the continual development of artistry and of the emotive power of the human voice. You can find the Guardian article here
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