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When Vocalists Should Eat.

Among the questions which vocalists have to settle for themselves is that of eating. Some of the greatest singers of the world can not sing for hours after they have eaten, while others must eat almost the last thing before attempting even a concert selection. If the digestion of a vocalist be normal, it is best to eat about two hours before singing. The body should rest for three-quarters of an hour after eating, and, if possible, no faculty should be used arduously during that time. Reading interferes with digestion, and any mental exertion delays the process just so much longer. The animal which eats a good dinner and then lies down teaches a very good lesson, especially to vocalists. The food should be slowly digested and allowed to replenish every exhausted part of the system; then the voice is prepared to do good work. The stomach should be empty when great vocal effort is to be made, but it should not be in the weak state that follows want of food. The body replenished by food responds to the will with power and ease, and the vocalist appreciates how necessary a good physical condition is to a successfully sung aria. Attempting to sing on a heavy dinner is impossible. The voice, with a few minutes’ practice, after eating, is usually very good, but there is no room to breathe, and the tones waver, while the phrases are broken by the inability to control the breath. The lungs require room to expand, and if the room is not there the effect is immediately observed. Patti uses so little breath that it seems as if she needed none at all, and this is the way every voice should be used. The facility with which she uses art spares her body any strain, and she exhausts about one-third of the amount of vital force when she sings that most vocalists are conscious that they use. She steps from the opera into the green-room capable of going through the scenes again, while others are too prostrated to speak. Her voice is fresh, and will remain so for years to come, simply because she is not demanding anything of the body or the throat. The voice should be the last organ to show declining power, and, rightly used, ought to be beautiful at sixty years of age. Little food, and that only of the simplest and most nutritive kind, should be the rule by which singers should live.

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