Archive for Special Editions

Episode 100-IPA Revealed: an audio guide

Posted in German Diction, Special Editions, Italian Diction, French Diction, English Diction by thedictionpolice on October 7th, 2017

For our 100th episode we wanted to do something really special, and here it is! In "IPA Revealed: an audio-guide" we work our way through the phonetic alphabet, with examples of native speakers in each of the four main languages that we sing in, English, Italian, German, and French.  Both Ellen and François host the episode, with guests Christoph Pohl, Daniela Pellegrino, and Grace Durham. There is no audio version of the podcast this week.

To see our complete catalog of text readings by native speakers and PDFs with IPA transcriptions, poetic and word-for-word-translations, as well as all of our Diction Lessons, Diction Tips, and Tongue Twisters for Singers, go to

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Episode 72 - Special Edition - Rolling Rs

Posted in Podcasts, Special Editions by thedictionpolice on September 8th, 2013

This is a mini-episode with some tips on learning how to roll Rs. Kerry Deal (from the faculty of Boston Conservatory and MIT) and Michael Strauss (a vocal coach with New England Conservatory and Boston Conservatory) talk about the problems we have rolling our Rs and give us some exericises and tricks to help us practice! We've been working together at the International Performing Arts Institute for the past few summers.

Don't forget that there are already two episodes with tongue exercises as well, Episode 48 and Episode 49!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions here, at the Facebook page, on Twitter or directly at


Episode 65-Special Edition for Young Coaches

Posted in Special Editions by thedictionpolice on October 24th, 2012

Today's episode is in response to a request from the Facebook page, specifically for young coaches! Conductor Erik Nielsen, and singers Simon Neal, John Packard and Nadja Mchantaf talk about what they are looking for from a rehearsal pianist or a vocal coach and I share my experiences as a coach, including a few of my tricks and advice on practicing for auditions.

The audition repertoire for coaches that I mentioned:

  • Mozart--Le nozze di Figaro 2nd Act Finale; Così fan tutte 1st Act Finale
  • French--Carmen Smugglers Quintet
  • Strauss--Elektra opening through the Magd Scene; Der Rosenkavalier opening (including Wie du warst); Salome Jews Quintet
  • Chorus Scenes--La Bohème 2nd Act; Otello opening; Falstaff Fugue

If anyone has other repertoire that they have found useful, please feel free to post them in the comments section! One thing I didn't mention in the episode is Wolf Trap Opera's Aria Frequency List--they list the arias that were performed with the number of times they heard them. So if you're looking to prepare yourself to accompany audition season in New York City, start learning those arias :-)

I'm moving in a few days and not sure when my new DSL will be hooked up, but I'll be working on new episodes in the meantime so that once it's installed we can get back on track! Please feel free to contact me with requests, comments or suggestions here, at the Facebook page, on Twitter or directly at


Episode 49-Special Edition-Tongue Exercises

Posted in Podcasts, Special Editions by thedictionpolice on December 2nd, 2011

In the second of our two-part series on tongue exercises, Silke Kurpiers gives us a few more advanced exercises to try (some of which require pretzel sticks or straws) and goes more in-depth on practicing rolled Rs. Be sure to listen to Episode 48 first and get a handle on those exercises before trying these! Then for a treat, Silke shows us a few German tongue twisters to get things really moving:

  1. Zehn zahme Ziegen zogen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.
  2. Zwischen zwei Zwetschgenzweigen saßen zwei zwitschernde Schwalben.
  3. Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische. Frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz.
  4. Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid.

You can find these (with some slight variations in text) and more German tongue twisters at the Wikipedia page entitled Zungenbrecher. Along the left side of that page, you can also find fun tongue twisters in many other languages, and they seem to have even more at the actual entry for Tongue Twisters, so once you've mastered these you can move on to Italian, Spanish, etc! Look for the pdf drawings of the tongue exercises in a separate blog entry entitled Special Edition Download. And keep your eyes on the Facebook page--Silke and I are planning to create a YouTube video so you can actually see these tongue exercises in action rather than just listening! I'll let you know when we get that posted. Since we are headed into crunch time at the opera house and most people are in finals weeks, on university break or dealing with a heavy schedule of holiday concerts, The Diction Police will be back mid-January with all-new episodes. Please feel free to contact me here, at the Facebook page or directly at with questions, comments or suggestions. Have a wonderful and blessed holiday season! See you in 2012 :-)

NB-The long-awaited Tongue Exercises Video can now be found at The Diction Police: Special Diction Unit! Come check it out!

Episode 48-Special Edition-Tongue Exercises

Posted in Podcasts, Special Editions by thedictionpolice on December 2nd, 2011

This is the first in a 2-part special edition of The Diction Police--all about tongue exercises! In this episode, Silke Kurpiers, a stage manager at the Semperoper, but also a trained professional speech therapist, gives us some basic tongue exercises to gain more independence of the tongue and train it in all directions. She also gives us some ideas to prepare for rolling Rs. The way this blog is set up, I can only attach one file to every blog posting, so for a pdf file of the exercises (which Silke drew by hand!) look for the blog entry entitle Special Edition Download. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for me, please feel free to contact me here, at the Facebook page or directly at

NB-The long-awaited Tongue Exercises Video can now be found at The Diction Police: Special Diction Unit! Come check it out!

Special Edition Download

Posted in Miscellaneous, Special Editions, Worksheet Downloads by thedictionpolice on December 2nd, 2011

Here is the pdf file with hand drawings of each of the tongue exercises that Silke Kurpiers gave us in Episodes 48 and 49. We're planning to make an accompanying YouTube video so that you can see the exercises in action--I'll add that link to this blog posting as soon as we get it up!

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Episode 38 - Special Edition

Posted in Podcasts, Special Editions by thedictionpolice on July 11th, 2011

We're back to basics again today! Conductor Jonathan Darlington reminds us what all the other markings in the score are about--from tempo indications to metronome markings to rubato and col canto, we discuss what composers are trying to tell us, and compare the markings a little between Italian, French and German.

There are many online dictionaries of musical terms, but the best one I found for our purposes was from the Dolmetsch Organization. They have all the terms we referred to in this podcast, and also have the French and German equivalents most of the time. There are also many musical dictionaries in book form and for Kindle (since I don't own one myself, I don't know which to recommend, so make sure to get a look inside it first).

I'll be on "vacation" with the International Performing Arts Institute in Kiefersfelden, Germany, and the University of Miami's Program in Salzburg, Austria, for the next few weeks, so the podcast will start back up again on August 28.

Feel free to contact me with questions or comments here, at the Facebook page or directly at     Meanwhile, have a fabulous, relaxing summer!


Episode 26-Bel Canto

Posted in Podcasts, Special Editions by thedictionpolice on December 3rd, 2010

Before we go on holiday break, I wanted to get another Special Edition of The Diction Police, this time on Bel Canto music. Tenor Javier Camarena and basso buffo Carlo Lepore give us tips on how to practice coloratura and patter, while conductors Henrik Nánási and Erik Nielsen talk about Bel Canto style, cadenzas and what young singers can do to prepare themselves better.

We'll be back mid-January with new episodes--I already have several interviews lined up for this month, including one on Czech diction! Meanwhile, have a wonderful holiday season, stay warm and see you next year!



Episode 13 - Special Edition

Posted in Podcasts, Special Editions by thedictionpolice on June 25th, 2010

In this special edition of The Diction Police, we discuss studying and working in both the US and Germany with Americans Stephanie Woodling Bucher and Timothy Oliver and Australian James Martin. We talk about how our careers got started and give some tips on how to prepare yourself for the professional world.

The resources mentioned in the podcast include:

Opera America, whose members have access to a comprehensive list of American opera companies and many international ones, including Young Artist information, chorus auditions, job listings and contact names and addresses throught Opera Source.

Musical America, a yearly publication and website, which contains contact information for over 14,000 performing arts organizations in the United States and abroad.

Deutsches Bühnenjahrbuch, which is unfortunately still not available online anywhere I can find, but this book contains a comprehensive listing of theaters in the German-speaking countries, plus agencies and all performers working in those theaters (including me!).

What the Fach?! The Definitive Guide for Opera Professionals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by Philip Shepard. This book has interviews with professionals working in Europe, lists of agencies and houses, as well as a plethora of information about setting up audition tours and moving to, working and living in Germany. You can also follow What the Fach on Twitter.

NYIOP is the acronym for the New York International Opera Auditions. For a rather substantial fee, singers may have the opportunity to sing for groups of international opera company representatives, after a screening audition. The fee pays for the travel and housing of the panel, which is still considerably less than the costs accrued by an audition tour in Europe. While these auditions may not be for everyone, I do have several friends who have either gotten a fest contract, a guest contract or an invitation to audition in an opera house after having done the NYIOPs, so it has worked for some people. There are also NYIOPs set up in several different cities in Europe as well, including Vienna and Napoli.

After this I'll be on break for the summer, so the next episode will be posted on August 20, 2010. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with questions, comments or suggestions at

Have a great summer!


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