Sir Tom on not listening to yourself
Sir Thomas Allen is one of my all-time favourite performers. I’ve never seen anyone draw focus without doing anything the way he did in a performance I saw. He is celebrating 40 years since his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and who of us would not wish for such a long and illustrious career? I wish I’d been around to see his Don in the flesh.
Have a watch of this short interview he did recently with the BBC:
He makes a very good point about how singers don’t actually have a very good idea of how their sound comes across. Even today, when we all carry around our mp3 recorders, we rely on trusted ears of others to give us the right feedback. We have to rely on sensations. One of my college tutors used to say that either you hear yourself, or the audience hears you. Having said that, I wonder how many of us can really rely only on sensation. I’m not the only one who complains when trying to sing in dry, dead acoustics.
There does often seem to be a real tension between paying attention to what’s happening (with sensations, not the sound) and not getting caught up in that so that it gets in the way of thinking ahead and, indeed, being in the moment in terms of dramatic interaction.
Just another pitfall?
What are your thoughts on listening to yourself?