How I Find Inspiration

Before closing this chapter on Intensity, I should advise singers whose voices possess great natural volume or power not to abuse this valuable quality by employing it too frequently. The ear of a listener tires sooner of extreme sonority than of any other effect. Talma, the great actor, wrought many reforms on the French dramatic stage, not only in costume—prior to his time Greek or Roman dress only was worn in tragedy—but also in the manner of delivering tragic verse. Against the custom, then prevalent, of always hurling forth long tirades at full voice, he inveighed in these terms: “Of all monotonous things, uproar is the most intolerable” (de toutes les monotonies, celle de la force est la plus insupportable). An artistic singer will use his most powerful tones, as a painter employs his most vivid colours, sparingly.