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John Moore for TEDxOkoboji's 1st Annual Conference

November 18th, 2019 | Meet the Speakers

John Moore

"Making Drama From Drama: An Opera Singer's Life"

1st Annual TEDxOkoboji Conference // 22 November 2019

One week away from the most unique performance of my career. The TEDxOkoboji is a performance and I have to prepare as such. I will be delivering a prepared talk, with considerations for look, tempo, and comprehension. This is very much in line with how I think about Operatic preparation. 

This gets to the heart of why I wanted to give this talk. I will be sharing the stage with 14 other presenters. All have given their best effort in preparing a meaningful talk. We are individuals giving unique presentations, but we are each gearing it towards a formatted space and a curated event. This presents all of the necessary ingredients for “performance” and forces all of us to maintain authenticity with a rehearsed, prepared, and likely memorized presentation. 

This is the greatest challenge of being a professional entertainer. I prepare roles like I have prepared this talk. The only difference is that I have written the script myself. 

As I face the “performance” date, I am excited to share with the TEDx audience the tidbits about my work and the drama of it. 

In preparation I have been reminded of my career path and all that is required to make it work. Most of the challenge is in being an authentic person and an authentic performer. My life is my art and art is my life, but there is a difference and balance is always a requisite part of being true to the moment and exploring the depths of each experience at hand. 

I hope the audience takes away from my talk the desire to seek live performance. Opera is a specific genre and I highly encourage all people to have the Operatic experience, but what is more important to me, is that the human community joins together in a room, to experience live performance by other human beings. Being a part of live performance is one of the most collaborative experiences we can have as a human community. The working out of life’s mysteries in drama is an inherent part of meaning and I am excited to offer you my take on a small part of that experience.

John Moore for TEDxOkoboji's 1st Annual Conference

September 4th, 2019 | Meet the Speakers

John Moore

"Making Drama From Drama: An Opera Singer's Life"

1st Annual TEDxOkoboji Conference // 22 November 2019

What a couple of weeks it has been. After receiving the invitation to present at TEDxOkoboji, I flipped out. “What did I even propose?” I asked.  I rushed to find the application video I made. What was my “big idea worth sharing”?

This experience mirrors my professional life in a big way. I’m a performing artist. Opera is my medium and I sing professionally all around the world.  In the opera world you are either invited to sing or audition for the opportunity to sing at opera companies. Like the TEDx application, you know a bit about what you’re getting into, so you prepare. I have arias (solos from operas) that I have sung many times and offer to opera companies during auditions. These auditions are often in a small studio or on a stage. I sing one of my choosing, and then the administrators from the opera company choose one or two from the remaining arias on the list. Like the TEDx experience, I don’t know if I’ll be picked, I just have to present my best effort. The average time of an opera audition is 10 minutes…the approximate timing of my TEDx talk.   

When I get a part in an opera, it is AWESOME. I have an initial rush of excitement and then I realize the tremendous task and responsibility necessary to make a great performance. I don’t speak any language besides English. Most of the operas I sing are French, German, Italian, or Russian. The music can be hard enough, but in my work, you have to also be “word perfect.” Inflection, pronunciation, meaning and musicality are all to be as near perfect as one can make them.  There is often a language coach sitting next to the conductor and they love taking notes on a singer’s poor diction. The conductor loves to take control of the piece from the very beginning and requires much of a singer’s attention to detail. The director staging the opera is often there as well, judging, taking note of a singer’s adherence to text and musicality.  

The first day of rehearsal is like the first day of school as a kid. You’re meeting people for the first time, you’re often in a city that isn’t your home town, you’re jet lagged, nervous, and excited to start the process.

The one thing that is guaranteed in the opera business is DRAMA. Not merely the drama within the piece, but the drama of making it.

I put all of myself into making my part in the opera. My personal life is the foundation for every part I sing. My relationships with family and friends and my day to day struggle for survival. I never studied acting per se but being alive has been the only acting coach I’ve needed.

In my talk I look forward to sharing the experience I have of navigating the drama inherent in making an opera career. Participating in the creative process has infused my life with a keen understanding of the human drama we live every day, and the indispensable part artistic consumption plays in our lives as humans.

In sharing my experience as an opera singer, I hope to impart the unique responsibility we all have to understanding the nuance of life. Building characters in operas has influenced the way I live. It has given me a unique perspective on what hard work is, what nuance is, the importance of language, and the unique challenges of understanding perspective.

I’m still a bit flipped out, but now is the challenging experience of learning the part. What is the character of my presentation and how will I use language to pass on my idea worth spreading?

1st Annual TEDxOkoboji Conference // Friday November 22, 2019