Idina Menzel’s New Year’s Eve Performance – A Voice Teacher’s Perspective - The Liberated Voice

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01/04/2015

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Amanda Haggett

I completely agree with your analysis. It sounded as though her voice was wavering just after the bridge, and she felt it was coming. Although, based on how she sounded when she tried to hit the note, I believe she was singing from her throat. Breathing from your diaphragm can prove to be very difficult in colder weather, and if her costume is restricting that makes things even harder. I completely agree with your stress point as well though.
She is a fantastic performer, and she did marvelously, even with the various factors. I also hope that she recognizes if there is an issue.
Very well written post. You most definitely know your stuff!

Claudia Friedlander

Glad you liked the post, Amanda. These were certainly abysmal conditions in which to perform!

Broadway performance schedules have continued to become more and more grueling. The If/Then schedule has her performing a matinee and an evening performance on Saturdays and then a Sunday matinee - that's three shows in a 27-hour period! Extremely demanding, even for a performer in top shape.

The SAVI Savant

Claudia, thanks for your thoughtful examination of a moment that's received too much sensational attention. Musical theater performers are like athletes, and must have solid technique to meet the incredible challenges they are faced with. Unfortunately, we now live in an age when high-profile artists like Idina are subject to relentless scrutiny, even when they're performing under adverse conditions. I've often felt that MT performers don't do their best in high-stress situations outside the dramatic context of the theater - the videos of Tony Award performances can attest to that. I like your blog and will recommend it to my students and followers at The SAVI Singing Actor (www.savisingingactor.com).

Donna Capone Romano

I don't think it's fair to judge someone who's singing eight shows a week on Broadway. She's out in the freezing cold and she's singing a LIVE performance! I think she should be applauded and admired for her sheer guts! I Love Her! If she loses her skills someday, she can always teach!

Claudia Friedlander

I'm a voice teacher, and I write this blog to provide information that will help people to become better and more successful singers. That is my reason for evaluating the vocal technique of a star performer who is an inspiration and role model to thousands of aspiring singers world-wide.

It is my opinion that the adverse circumstances under with Idina Menzel performed on New Year's Eve did not create the vocal problems that were widely observed but merely exacerbated them. It’s important to understand that the flaws in her performance are in all likelihood technical issues that can be resolved with good instruction and diligent practice. Otherwise, singers just think that problems can erupt out of nowhere and derail their career, that professional consistency is something over which they have no control whatsoever, and that all voices are doomed to deteriorate at some point. Singers who tend well to their vocal technique and health will not lose their skills. And make no mistake: those who lose their skills due to poor technique cannot effectively teach good technique to others.

Another lesson from Menzel's NYE performance is the importance of saying "no" when prudent. While it is very difficult to turn down an exciting, high-profile opportunity, singers need to maintain a realistic idea of the conditions that will make it possible for them to represent the best of what they can do and to determine boundaries that will help them avoid performing below the standards they set for themselves. You can't be a great artist while always playing it safe, so miscalculations will happen from time to time. Use them to help you establish better boundaries in the future.

As should be clear from my post, I am an avid admirer of Idina Menzel's talent and contributions. Those of use who love her singing should wish her a long, healthy career. We do her a grave disservice by lowering our expectations of her exceptional abilities and by accepting her vocal decline as inevitable.

DavidFletcher__

I don't think the recording of "let it go' is an accurate depiction of her vocal ability, we all know how much recorded vocals are augmented and altered. Idina has long had the issues you discus, however, I believe her to be one of the best at what she does and that's why she's so popular. Idina is a full on belter and there aren't many who do what she does, there are some who belt with more reliance on a mx and thus have a different timbre and play different roles.

I think a common problem among singers is we rely on techniques that use to work when we were younger. But as one ages it's important to reevaluate and examine the changes in your voice and find new techniques to suit your 'new' voice.

Jo Brock

I would like to hear your professional opinion and evaluation of this singer singing songs from the Balkans (southeast Europe) please.
She sings 5 songs live at a memorial concert (so it isn't completely formal) and I'll post the start times of when she actually starts singing so you can move the time slider and don't have to wait so much. She starts singing the first song at about the 1:48 mark. If you only have time for one of them, listen to the 3rd one. These are traditional style songs. She is a professional and also sings ballads and pop music but not on this video.

1) 1:48-4:51
2) 5:48-8:46
3) 9:47-12:43
4) 13:06-15:36
5) 16:10-18:38

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ_1ejtNI0c

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