Opera Singer Looking for Advice

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Amarise
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Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by Amarise » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:05 am

Hello from Switzerland! I'm an opera singer and looking to start accordion. I've always loved the instrument, ever since I sang with a strolling accordionist way back when I worked in Portland, Oregon as a singing waitress to pay for my studies.

Selecting an instrument is much more complicated than I ever imagined. B Griff or C? Diatonic? Yikes! I am in Lausanne so I have access to a few teachers at the Conservatory who teach all methods on all types of instruments...that said, my main goal is to accompany myself singing operatic repertoire (standing up, not sitting down). I'm a medium-sized woman, FYI. So I know I need something on the light side, and definitely want to go the route of the CBA, which is popular here in Switz (at least in the French-speaking part). Here we have many musette tuned accordions but I've been told a "dry" tuned instrument is better for classical. I'm singing big soprano repertoire like Verdi, Puccini, etc so believe me, I have enough vibrato without adding an accordion with a big gap in reed tuning.

Does anyone have ideas on what kind of an instrument I should be looking for? Our local accordion shop proposed me a new 72 or 80 (can't remember) specially tuned (with only flute and bassoon reeds instead of flute and clarinet, if I've got that right) for about £3,500. Way out of budget! I'm droning on here but any suggestions would be very welcome.

Alexis

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debra
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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by debra » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:47 am

Welcome to this forum!
Since you are from Switzerland I would suggest you do what many Swiss do: C griff.
There is a "flat" C griff system that is becoming less common and was only common in Switzerland and there is the "stepped" C griff system that is most popular nowadays so I suggest you start with that.
When you look on the used accordion market you should be able to find something within a smaller budget than what you mentioned. If you can handle it, a 96 bass is the most versatile starter option that will last you a reasonably long time (until you are ready to step up to a better and perhaps a bit larger instrument, which will then also be a bit heavier).
Paul De Bra (not Debra...)
http://www.de-bra.nl

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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by Stephen » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:06 pm

Hi Alexis,
Welcome to this accordion forum!
C-system CBA with a stepped keyboard would be my personal preference, or a stepped B-system CBA.
Given your location in Switzerland, a C-system will be easier to find.
For a limited budget accordion, you can always have a look in France (the leboncoin website in France has lots of second hand CBAs). I once bought a second hand 60 stradella bass Castelfidardo made accordion in France for 200 euro. This accordion was made in the 1980s in Castelfidardo.
With a budget around 500 euro, you can find lots of second hand accordions in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, ...

Perhaps you should take an accordion teacher or befriended accordionist with you for a first tryout at the owner's place. An accordion teacher can be a great guide when you want to buy an accordion.

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StargazerTony
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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by StargazerTony » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:28 pm

Stephen wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:06 pm
...

Perhaps you should take an accordion teacher or befriended accordionist with you for a first tryout at the owner's place. An accordion teacher can be a great guide when you want to buy an accordion.
I agree, and most accordion teachers and players, here in the US at least, have several/many accordion's which might be purchased.


Accordions are loud, opera singers are louder. An interesting combination. I may hear you from here in Pennsylvania
Cordially, Tony
Artisto, Italian, LMM, 41/120, PA
Warning: Only speaks/understands American English

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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by JEBrown » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:33 pm

Hello, what an unusual combination - opera and accordion! I’ll let others comment on the type of instrument as I have little knowledge in that area, however I would agree with the advice to go for 96 basses if you can manage it. Opera music, and particularly the style of Verdi and Puccini, can be harmonically complex and a 96-bass instrument will give you much more flexibility.

I hope you can make this work - a self-accompanying opera-singer / accordionist would be very interesting - good luck!
John

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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by Stephen Hawkins » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:11 pm

Hi Alexis,

A very warm welcome to the forum.

I'm afraid that I have little advice to offer you. All I can usefully do is wish you every success with your venture.

Bon Chance,

Stephen. (Etienne, if you prefer)

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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by Amarise » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:37 am

Thanks everyone for your kind messages! I'll post a video when I get get through half an aria :D

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Re: Opera Singer Looking for Advice

Post by Glenn » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:06 am

I look forward to hearing your results.
I was in Italy a few years ago and heard two great street performers play accordion and opera. They had a large crowd and were excellent so it can sound great. Playing and singing at the same time will be a challenge. Good luck.
1) Ballone Burini 46C (4+5) cassotto (LMMH) 3/3 PA; 2) Accordiola Piano V (5+5) cassotto (LMMMH) 3/3 PA;
3) Roland FR8X; 4) Hohner Vox 4k (LMMH) 3/3 CBA

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