Welcome to the official Singerreise webpage! Join in the discussion as we talk about the life of an opera singer, and as we learn about Schubert's masterpiece Winterreise.

Entertain, Educate, Encourage

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winterreise No. 8 - Rückblick (017)

Merry Christmas to us all!

As 2016 closes, I've been thinking back on what has been accomplished so far with Singerreise. In the official count of the video podcast, attached below is Episode number 17 already, after only a couple months. Several people watching all of the videos. Some are reading these blog posts (of which there are 28!). A few have even signed on as patrons. I'm extremely grateful for all of you!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Großer Herr, o starker König (016)

Merry Christmas!

First a quick message - If you haven't heard, Singerreise is now on Patreon. You can check out this video to find out more about Patreon. I hope that you'll take a few minutes to watch at it, and that you'll consider financially supporting this Singerreise project. And if you have any questions about how Patreon works, send me a message!

So - the life of a singer is filled with more than just Winterreise.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Alt-Code charts are finally available!

To celebrate Christmas and the launch of this new Patreon campaign, I'm offering laminated versions of my handy Alt-Codes chart to anyone who signs on as a patron between now and the end of January! They're super durable, and they slip right underneath your keyboard so that you can always have them handy!

If you have no idea what an Alt-Codes chart is, check out this article:


In short, it can be used when you're typing in foreign languages and you need to figure out how to throw in the occasional ä or ß. It's a must-have for any classical musician!

These will likely go on sale shortly thereafter, so if you're on the fence about whether or not to sign up, now's your chance!

Patreon Launch! (015)

Today, I'm excited to announce a new phase in the Singerreise project, the launch of the Patreon website! You can find it at Patreon.com/singerreise .

Friday, December 16, 2016

#7 - Auf dem Flusse (014)

After having ourselves a good cry in No.6 Wasserflut, our Wanderer takes another look at the (actual) river flowing into town. It's presently covered with ice, so he steps onto it. "Auf dem Flusse" is No. 7 in the Winterreise cycle, and it means "On the river."

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Singerreise's Mission

It feels like it was just yesterday that Singerreise was launched! Now, there's nearly two months underfoot, over a dozen videos, and about two dozen articles. How'd that happen?

Even still, I feel like Singerreise is still in its infancy. I'm constantly evaluating and re-evaluating what precisely this project is, and where it is going.

Today, three words came to mind that sort of encapsulate what I'm trying to accomplish. In every video and every article that I write, in all the hours that I'm spending filming and editing, in every time I bring up the project in conversations, this is what I'm trying to accomplish:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

#6 - Wasserflut (013)

Number 6 in Winterreise is "Wasserflut," meaning "Flood Water." There's yet again a lot more tears and snow and ice and melting going on. Less freezing, this time, so that's kind of nice!

Here's the summary:

Friday, December 9, 2016

#5 - Der Lindenbaum (012)

So here we have "Der Lindenbaum." It is one of the most famous of the Winterreise cycle. It is so popular in Germanic culture that it has become a folk song of sorts.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Using Alt-Codes to type in foreign languages (011)

Working on "Gefrorne Tränen" brought up a familiar frustration - umlauts. Where on the keyboard is ä ? There's a few options out there, but let me tell you about my favorite: Alt-Codes.

Friday, December 2, 2016

#4 - Erstarrung (010)

And number four is complete! This means we are 1/6 the way through Winterreise! … Clearly we have a long way to go yet.

The title for this piece is "Erstarrung." According to my line by line translation, it supposedly means "numbness," but I will admit this does not make sense to me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#3 - Gefrorne Tränen (009)

On our march through Winterreise, for this article we get to talk about number 3, "Gefrorne Tränen." If you need to catch up, here's the first two pieces, "Gute Nacht" and "Die Wetterfahne." Here's a few interesting bits for #3!

The title of the piece is "Gefrorne Tränen," which means "frozen tears."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Writing in a translation #3 - Old and new technology (008)

Here we have the third article in a series on writing a translation into our score. If you missed the first two articles, you can find the first one here, and the second one here.

This article deals with the last two tools on our list: a language dictionary and a laptop.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Writing in a translation #2 - Finding a good starting translation (007)

Welcome back! This is the second article in a series about writing a translation into your score. In the previous article we talked about the Why, the When, and some of the obvious tools necessary.

Now for a trickier part. We will need a starting translation at hand. There's a number of options here. Roughly, translations will fall into four types: Poetic or freeform, singable, line-by-line, and word-for-word.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Writing in a translation #1 - Why we do it, and the tools we need (006)

This is the first article in a series about the nuts and bolts of writing in a translation into a score. It's a standard part of preparing a score for that first day of an opera rehearsal, or preparing a piece to work on with a teacher. I'm going to get into some pretty boring details here, and share my habits and experience. But stick with me! You may pick up something useful here! Today we'll talk about the Why, the When, and the tools that we're going to need.

Friday, November 11, 2016

#2 - Die Wetterfahne (005)

Today's video is for Winterreise No. 2, "Die Wetterfahne." It was mercifully shorter to record than "Gute Nacht" but still had its challenges. Probably the trickiest part was that most of the time, it moved so fast that my mind had to be super focused to get a take with (almost) no mistakes in the German.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#1 - Gute Nacht (004)

Here we go! Today's video is the first in the Winterreise song cycle: #1 Gute Nacht. Before we get into the performance itself, I'll highlight just a few things.

Of course, I'm not a scholar. Here, at the start of the Singerreise project, I can't give you a full analysis, line-by-line of the significance of every dot and wiggle on the page. You probably wouldn't want to read that, either. If you did, you'd buy a book on the subject on Amazon. Instead, you're here for my biased, unfiltered opinions, and the opinions of anyone who leaves comments. I'm hoping that those will be far more interesting, and it that you might get more out of the experience that way.

Now that I've sufficiently lowered your expectations, here's a few thoughts on Gute Nacht:

Monday, November 7, 2016

First impressions - Background

This is the third article in a series of first impressions. Check out my remarks about music and text, too!

To put Winterreise into a context, I'm going to use two resources for now, and add more as I go. The first is the one everyone goes to first - Wikipedia - and the second, a published book on the subject.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

First Impressions - Text

Okay, now that we've talked about music, let's talk about the text in Winterreise. I'll get into the specifics of each song as we go, but I did want to get a general, unedited idea of what is going on in this poetry.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

First Impressions - music

Here's a report on some first impressions of Winterreise.

Disclaimer: Prior to starting this project, my experience with Winterreise is actually pretty limited. I've performed sung a few songs from it, taught a couple more, and listened to it once in college to pass a test, promptly forgetting all but the most common knowledge. So I'm coming into this with pretty fresh eyes, and we get to unpack it together.

For these first impressions, I'll talk about it in three parts: the music, the poetry, and the background and history of the piece.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Singerreise 003 - A word about facial hair

Greetings all! We start off Friday morning with a new Singerreise video! This one is about facial hair, and, well, maybe you should just see it.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Singerreise 002 video posted!

Winterreise at-a-glance

Today we're going to do a quick overview of Winterreise.

Straight off, let's get the basics down. Winterreise is a song cycle in German, composed in 1827 by Franz Schubert, who used a text by the poet Wilhelm Müller. Got all that? No? Okay let's try that again.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How to pronounce "Singerreise"

At rehearsal this evening, a good friend and colleague, who happens to be German, asked me about the word "Singerreise." It seems that not even 24 hours had gone by before I had shown every friend, acquaintance, and relative exactly how rusty my German is...

Concert Announcement!

Yes, this is October and I'm announcing something in January. I'm not sure what I'm eating for lunch today, but I felt you should know about this concert.

It's the concert that got this whole Singerreise thing going.

January 29, 2017, 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


You may have noticed that I'm ending most of the blogs thus far with some questions. As with the YouTube videos, I am hoping that this blog can start some interesting discussions. The more voices that join in, the more interesting this experience will be for everyone (especially me).

You are more than welcome to add your comments to any of the blog posts. Today, however, you can directly help by answering a few specific questions:
  1. What books about Lieder or about Schubert would you recommend? I will be doing some reading on the subject for the making of these videos, and would love to share what I find out. So if you have some fantastic resources, let everyone here know with your comments.
  2. Where do you go to find translations? Winterreise, of course, is the focal point of the discussion, but if you have suggestions for other works (more art song, more languages, operas, etc.), share those too! I'll have a few to suggest, myself.
  3. What is your preferred edition of Winterreise? Here, I'm talking about sheet music. Examples include Dover, Peters, and International, but if you have some favorites, let everyone know about it and why you like it. I have a copy presently, but I'd love some other options.
  4. What are your favorite recordings of Winterreise? There's lots to choose from!
I'll be incorporating the answers into videos and the blog as I go. By offering your answers, you will be altering the course of this series directly.

So... Discuss amongst yourselves...

What is Singerreise?

If you haven't watched the video yet, you may be wondering what "Singerreise" is. Let me tell you a story.

To do that, we'll need to back up several months. Back then I was trying to think of new ways that I could create something new and useful, something that I hadn't seen done before, and was doing a ton of brainstorming. I had just discovered the wonders of podcasts, but I couldn't figure out why someone would want to listen to what I had to say. For that matter, I didn't think I had anything all that interesting to begin with.

On the other hand - I'm an opera singer. While I hang out with those kind of people all the time, apparently, it isn't every day that you run into one. Apparently, opera singers are very interesting people to meet. It kind of gets a "Wow!" when it comes up. Who knew?

So I have a few talking points that I can use at a cash register or in a church narthex-lobby (aka. the "narby"). That would be good for... maybe, two videos?

However, when my colleagues and I first started talking about putting a together a performance of Winterreise by Schubert, I had an "aha!" moment. Winterreise happens to be a large work -- 24 songs in total and over 70 minutes of German Lieder goodness. I could do videos of all 24 of them, one at a time over an extended period of time.

Even then, the world doesn't need more recordings of Winterreise (well, maybe it does, but that's besides the point). There's plenty to choose from out there. If this was to be useful to people, something different needed to be done, something of a personal approach to it. So I inserted myself into the equation, and out came "Singerreise."

"Singerreise" will take the best of what I know to do and mesh it together with the Schubert song cycle. There will be teaching, singing, language study, memorization, and so on. For example, I'll perform each piece in the song cycle, but prior to performing it, I'll dig into what the text of the piece means and highlight some of my favorite moments in it. I'll dedicate some videos to how to go about translating a piece, how to memorize, my personal philosophies on marking scores, a lesson on IPA (no, not the beer... unless Opera on Tap wants to co-produce a video...), etc. etc., essentially, everything that I do on a daily basis as an opera singer. As I say in the intro video, you'll get a "backstage look, straight into my living room." I hope you won't be too disappointed by what you see in there -- it is just another room like in your house. Even still, I think we're going to have some fun together.

Sound exciting? Let me know by commenting below! And do me a favor by "sharing" the fun, too.

Singerreise video podcast 001

The very first video has been published! Check it out below.


Welcome to the very first Singerreise blog post!

The purpose of this blog is to support and enrich the Singerreise video series. If you haven't seen it yet, check out the video channel here. The video series is meant to be the main focus, but perhaps there are some folks who prefer to read posts instead of watching videos. I confess, I am actually one of them!

At times, this blog will be a sort of repetition of the information in the videos. More often, though, this blog will get into more detail than I can do in a few sound bytes and frames. And I can cover an even wider variety of topics in this medium. Who knows? I may find that I am more at home writing these blogs than I am doing the videos. Perhaps in a written style I can actually be more conversational. Perhaps this will be a more unfiltered musing than I can achieve in a single broadcast. We shall see!

One of the objectives in Singerreise is to start some dialogue around the topics of art song, the business of singing, pedagogy, and so on. If you prefer offering your comments on a blog post more than YouTube comments, then you've found a home here. Let me know you're listening by leaving a comment below!