Melba Trust 10 Year Anniversary Magazine June 2020


THE MELBA MENTORS


CHUCK HUDSON Chuck is an American theatre and opera director. His Melba workshops focus on movement and aria interpretation. Helping singers to stand out from the hundreds of others during auditions is one of the primary goals for Chuck during his sessions with Melba Artists. New York-based Chuck has been a mentor at the Melba since 2011. He assists singers in helping to exercise dramatic control over any piece of music, regardless of where it is being performed. “Even under the high stress and limiting conditions of an audition or competition, I provide singers with the tools they need to prepare audition material that is both grounded in tradition and that dares to create a unique, honest and motivated performance.” Chuck’s group classes revolve around four elements: a “psychophysical” warm-up, exploring dramatic movement techniques, analysing a dramatic text to create character and action, and discussion of how these all combine in performance. In individual sessions with Chuck, the singers apply what they have learnt to arias in several languages. Chuck maintains that there are specific acting challenges for opera singers. “Any performer must behave truthfully under imaginary circumstances. We want the opera singer to be able to perform truthfully just like actors in the theatre or on film; however, the demands of the opera world are not always those of cinematic realism. There are no close-ups when you are on stage. “In a world where a character sings rather than speaks, we need the singer to discover and portray the dramatic truth, but not the factual reality.” For this reason, Chuck’s work with the Melba Artists helps to inform their singing with meaning, character and action. “These techniques provide a genuine multi-dimensional structure that helps singers create a grounded, motivated and honest performance when they have ‘nothing’ around them. They are then confident to do their best moment-to-moment work in the audition room itself.”