I always wanted to be a famous opera singer.
- I dreamt of being on stage in an opera house dressed in a black tuxedo earning thunderous standing ovations from an adoring standing room only crowd.
Unfortunately, my singing career seems to be stalled at my local hang-out with its karaoke night on Saturday. Instead of “La donna è mobile” from Verdi’s Rigoletto, I’m reduced to singing “Lucille” by Kenny Rogers. What made me forget my opera aspirations was when I read someplace about what opera singers do to protect their voices. They must drink lots of water at room temperature to keep their vocal cords hydrated. They must maintain good posture and stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and smoke. They must endure times of complete silence to rest their voices and they must forego that midnight meal of leftover lasagna that may cause acid reflux and damage their vocal cords. One surprising thing about opera singers is that they try to avoid air conditioning where the air may be too dry for their sensitive voices. How does an HVAC system create a comfortable setting for that adoring crowd that I will never sing in front of while providing an on-stage environment that is ideal for vocalists? The best answer is that an HVAC system cannot do it alone. It must be kept clean to minimize any dust and chemicals that can irritate the throat. Larger opera houses have computer-controlled HVAC systems. Care must also be taken so that a cold air vent is directed to the audience and not on stage where it may affect the singer’s voice. Until they get this problem solved, I’m better off at my karaoke bar.