I attended the local regional round of the Met Opera National Council auditions on Saturday. My first observation was there was only one District winner from Minnesota. That is rare. Usually there are several from the Minnesota district because of the Twin Cities metropolitan area and the Minnesota Opera Resident program. The level of singing was good, but not what I would pay to hear in the opera house. Only a couple voices were solid enough to be ready for real singing in the theater. It was no surprise that they were the two winners that will go to New York for the National Semi-Finals. I doubt that either of them will be one of the winners. I left feeling a little disappointed by the state of singing. I’m sure it doesn’t help that the age limits are lower so only 20 somethings are competing. But the whole attitude toward how to use the voice has shifted to a weaker production that just does not communicate the thrill and excitement, not to mention beauty, that the voice is capable of that we hear in older singers. Granted, there were plenty of older singers that sang the way they do now. But they were not the great singers that people still talk about. They were the second or third tier singers. The major difference is in the efficiency of the phonation. The skill of managing the action of the glottis has been lost. Now we hear people talk of managing the breath, but that still ignores the action of the glottis. The old school training lead the vocal gesture with the larynx. Now singers are trained to lead with the breath. This makes the larynx have to deal with too much breath and causes deterioration in the strength of the vocal folds. It also saps the voice of intensity, which has to be compensated for by loudness. The difference is important and I will discuss it in a future post.