Singing Teacher Linguist Opera Director Massage Therapist

teaching philosophy

"I love to teach young people who are serious about classical music, to give them the “right stuff” right from the beginning, and also the young of heart of all ages who know what they want, want to improve, to pursue a professional singing career..."

Lyric-coloratura soprano Marianne Weltmann is a direct vocal descendant of the great master of Bel Canto Singing Giovannni Battista Lamperti. After she earned a B.S. and M.S. degree in Voice and Opera at the Julliard School of Music, Ms. Weltmann apprenticed herself for 5 years to the Verdi Baritone Rocco Pandiscio, who studied with a student of Lamperti in Naples, Italy. In addition to her own development which led to winning major competitions, such as the Joy in Singing N.Y. Recital Debut, the Frank Huntington Beebe Award which underwrote two years of career development abroad, the Fromm Fellowship in Contemporary Music at Tanglewood under Aaron Copland and Wolfgang Fortner, she witnessed thousands of lessons at the Pandiscio Studio of every voice type, learning specifics of technique, the registers and the repertoire of each. She met the leading baritones and basses of the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway, who would come to have Rocco "approximate their vocal cords" after they had sung too much, too hard, or repertoire too dramatic for the voice-type. Ms. Weltmann used the Beebe Grant to complete her studies with Lina Pagliughi, leading coloratura soprano of La Scala, Milan. From the divine Signora Lina she learned specific solutions of breathing, phrasing, style and tradition in all the major roles of the coloratura and light lyric soprano, as well as the art of floating high notes. She was then hired by Gian-Carlo Menotti to debut as Sophie in "Der Rosenkavalier" at the Festival di Due Mondi in Spoleto, and sang for 8 seasons in Wuppertal, Essen, Augsburg, Heidelberg, Braunschweig, Duesseldorf-Duisberg, where her roles included Gilda, Norina, Adina, Susanna, Queen of Night, Constanza, Lucia, Sophie, Euridice, Oscar, Micaela, Violetta, and several operas by 20th -century composers.

Born in Germany, Ms. Weltmann is a linguist, who earned a translator/interpreter credential in Humanities and Economics in Munich, where she also led city tours. She has translated many operas and film-scripts into English, and at present heads Chamber Opera Northwest, a touring company which performs her English-language versions, in an effort to acquaint audiences with opera and to employ Northwest singers. She is mad about poetry and is currently writing a memoir about the adoption of a teen from the foster care system.

Ms. Weltmann is also a Washington State licensed massage therapist and a confired aerobiholic and free-weight enthusiast. She did yoga for years, but now Pilates are her preference for strengthening the “core”, lower abdominals and back muscles.

“I try to integrate all the skills I have learned into the singing lesson:"

  • Help students with body alignment
  • Targeted breathing practices – muscular isolation and coordination
  • Appreciation and interpretation of text in opera, art-song – translation and idiomatic usage
  • Creating habits and muscular memory
  • Freeing the individual voice

“I like to work like a family doctor:"

  • Take a history of singing experience
  • Assess the present condition by having the person sing for me before I change anything in the usage
  • Ask the client to identify problems and set goals
  • Make a treatment plan with the client, which can be modified later
  • Set expectations of each of our responsibilities in the process
  • Assign appropriate repertoire to help the client from here to there.

There is no one-size-fits-all school of singing. I do not have hand-outs of pre-conceived exercises. My students may record their lessons (I provide the tapes) for review at home. They may take notes, if they prefer. Or not.

The “Mission Statement” of mastery of Bel Canto is a two-stage process

  1. To build a vocabulary of vocal expression which will occur in the performance of various styles of vocal music
  2. To eliminate, through a series of exercises, the technical difficulties and hurdles which may occur in the music.

These two goals must be addressed sequentially...

The two stages of mastering the bel canto are metaphorically like the process of a sculptor, who sees the essence in the stone, then chisels away at the impurities a little at a time to reveal the essence. This first process builds the strength, health and character of the voice.

The second phase beautifies the surface as in painting or glazing.

In the first stage you take what you get; in the second, you get more selective about tone, color, dynamic control and expression. Lamperti believed that not even a genius could master the second without passing through the first stage.

Bring along the skills necessary in singing

  • Separately but simultaneously

As much as possible, like a parent who loves all her children equally, but as individuals

  • Purity of vowel in the midrange
  • Accoustical vowels above the passaggio into the head-voice
  • Blending of the registers
  • Extension of range
  • Agility (Scales, Arpeggi, Chromatics) - Tuning
  • Control over dynamics – the messa di voce
  • Diction – foreign language English
  • Distribution of the breath (balance between air flow and air compression)
  • Coordination of throat muscles with breathing musculature
  • Interpretation and Mastery of Style

Each person brings givens and lacks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We flow along together and concentrate on the elements that need work at the time, be it long-term development or preparation for that next audition.

Marianne's students currently sing professionally at Metropolitan Opera, as well as regional companies in the US and Europe, in oratorio and concert in the Pacific Northwest and nationally. Many of her students have won the NW Regional Met Auditions, others teach at the university and high school level throughout the northwest and US. Younger students win 1st place in Washington state, NATS, East Side Music Festival; subsequently win scholarships to college music programs of their choice; graduate and opera training programs.

"Marianne Weltmann, she ran away with the show... she sang with ease and taste but most notable was the quality of her vocal instrument and her handling of it. Her voice is smooth and even and holds its quality to top register in such numbers as 'Queen of the Night'"