Respiro Reflections III

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I sat down with Respiro alum tenor Morgan Manifacier to hear what he thought about his time at Respiro now that 4 years have passed. Currently Morgan is working towards his D.M.A. in vocal performance at Stony Brook University. Since his participation in Respiro, Morgan has sung several tenor roles including Don Ottavio, Ferrando, Sultan Soliman, Tamino, Pygmalion, Dr. Blind, Borsa. His love of art song earned him a professional fellowship at SongFest where he worked with several of today’s leading art-song composers. He also teaches and frequently presents lectures on notable French composers. 

How did Morgan first come to Respiro? His voice teacher at LIU Post recommended he apply. She thought it would be good to experience Alexander Technique so that he could receive the physical feedback, or “hands on” support for what she was teaching. Morgan said it was the master classes and group sessions with AT instructor Bill Connington and the Body Mapping with Jan Prokop that solidified a lot of those concepts.

Morgan’s “ah-ha” moment occurred during a group class with Jan Prokop. The exercise she introduced got him thinking about different aspects of the breath. He realized how a slightly different way of looking at things could make a tremendous shift for the better. 

One part of the program Morgan enjoyed a lot was the focus on text and communication. Respiro’s schedule is arranged so that after the initial session which focuses on text, word by word translation and historical setting of the opera and libretto, the coachings and stagings wrap around and build on this initial exploration. In addition, each revisit adds the character’s connection to breath and body. 

Morgan appreciated Respiro’s supportive atmosphere not only from the faculty, but also between the participants. There was no competition, rather a camaraderie and a group spirit encouraging everyone to succeed. As for his teaching career, Morgan says Respiro has given him tools not only for his own growth, but also given him creative ways to share the basic building blocks of a good vocal technique with his students. 

We look forward to hearing more from Morgan and the day when we call him, Dr. Manifacier!