“And you would first know how I keep strong and well and always ready? Perhaps the answer is, I keep regular hours and habits, and love my work. I have always loved to sing, as far back as I can remember. Music means everything to me—it is my life. As a child and young girl, I was the despair of my playmates because I would not join their games; I did not care to skate, play croquet or tennis, or such things. I never wanted to exercise violently, and, to me, unnecessarily, because it interfered with my singing; took energy which I thought might be better applied. As I grew older I did not care to keep late hours and be in an atmosphere where people smoked and perhaps drank, for these things were bad for my voice and I could not do my work next day. My time is always regularly laid out. I rise at half past seven, and am ready to work at nine. I do not care to sit up late at night, either, for I think late hours react on the voice. Occasionally, if we have a few guests for dinner, I ask them, when ten thirty arrives, to stay as long as they wish and enjoy themselves, but I retire.
“There are gifted people who may be called natural born singers. Melba is one of these. Such singers do not require much technical practice, or if they need a little of it, half an hour a day is sufficient. I am not one of those who do not need to practice. I give between one and two hours daily to vocalizes, scales and tone study. But I love it! A scale is beautiful to me, if it is rightly sung. In fact it is not merely a succession of notes; it represents color. I always translate sound into color. It is a fascinating study to make different qualities of tonal color in the voice. Certain roles require an entirely different range of colors from others. One night I must sing a part with thick, heavy, rich tones; the next night my tones must be thinned out in quite another timbre of the voice, to fit an opposite character.”
Asked if she can hear herself, Miss Farrar answered:
“No, I do not actually hear my voice, except in a general way; but we learn to know the sensations produced in muscles of throat, head, face, lips and other parts of the anatomy, which vibrate in a certain manner to correct tone production. We learn the feeling of the tone. Therefore every one, no matter how advanced, requires expert advice as to the results.
“I have studied for a long time with Lilli Lehmann in Berlin; in fact I might say she is almost my only teacher, though I did have some instruction before going to her, both in America and Paris. You see, I always sang, even as a very little girl. My mother has excellent taste and knowledge in music, and finding I was in danger of straining my voice through singing with those older than myself, she placed me with a vocal teacher when I was twelve, as a means of preservation.