Vocal Technique, Interpretation, Style
Ira Siff is a native New Yorker who grew up in the standing room line at the old Met worshipping the great singers of the time. His avid interest in opera led to voice lessons, his musical studies, and a debut as a tenor in 1970. Ira performed in many new operas and shows at The New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons and other New York venues, as well as in various cabarets where he did a one-man show featuring spoofs of opera. This led to an interest in blending opera with comedy. In 1981 he founded La Gran Scena Opera Co., and the troupe became an instant hit, their musically skilled, hilarious-but-affectionate spoofs of opera divas winning great acclaim from the press, public and music world. Gran Scena performed in major New York venues and toured internationally through 2002 to many of the world’s great opera houses and festivals: Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center Edinburgh Festival, Venice Festival, Munich Festival, Covent Garden Festival, and literally countless others in the U.S., Great Britain, Europe, South America and Australia. Ira continued to perform as Gran Scena’s “prima donna” Madame Vera, in a critically acclaimed solo spin-off of Gran Scena, entitled the Annual Farewell Recital, through 2009.
He has been teaching voice and coaching singers on interpretation and style for forty years in New York, as well as giving Master Classes in Israel, Italy, China, Holland and in the U.S. for conservatories, and for the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He is Permanent Guest Teacher at the Amsterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, as well as regular guest teacher at the Opera Academy in Amsterdam. Ira began staging opera in 2000, directing two dozen productions since then internationally, and collaborating with such conductors as James Levine, Richard Bonynge and Christoph von Dohnanyi. Ira also lectures on opera and writes for Opera News. He is now in his 12th season as Commentator on the Saturday Afternoon International Metropolitan Opera Broadcasts. Visit his web site at www.irasiff.com
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