Miss Hempel believes that every singer, no matter how great, should realize the advantage of constant advice from a capable teacher, in order to prevent the forming of undesirable habits. She also considers Vocal Mastery implies the perfection of everything connected with singing; that is to say, perfect breath control, perfect placement of the voice, perfect tone production, together with all requisite grace, feeling and expressiveness.
If we were asked to name one of the best known, and best loved of American singers, the choice would surely fall on David Bispham. This artist, through his vocal, linguistic and histrionic gifts, his serious aims and high ideals, has endeared himself to musicians and music lovers alike. We are all proud of him as an American, and take a sort of personal pride in his achievements.
Mr. Bispham has been before the public as actor-singer for many years. There is no other artist in the English-speaking world who has had greater experience in all kinds of vocal work than this “Quaker Singer,” as he calls himself, for he comes from Philadelphia, and is of old English, Quaker, Colonial stock. His professional debut was made in London, in 1891, with the Royal English Opera Company, as the Duc De Longueville, in the beautiful Opera Comique, The Basoche, by Messager. The following year he appeared in Wagnerian Music Drama at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, performing the part of Kurwenal, in Tristan and Isolde, without rehearsal. His adaptability to music in English, French, Italian and German, caused him to be at once accepted as a member of that distinguished company.
In 1896, Mr. Bispham joined the forces of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and remained there for a number of years, singing each season alternately on both sides of the ocean. Of recent years he has devoted most of his time to concerts, though he is one of the founders and officers of the Society of American Singers, with which artistic body he frequently appears in the classic operas of Mozart, Pergolesi, Donizetti and others.
My first conference with Mr. Bispham was held in his New York studio. Here, in this artistic retreat where absolute quiet reigns, though located in the heart of the great city’s busy life, the noted singer teaches and works out his programs and various characterizations.