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shutterstock_86501812Nicola Alaimo, the fine Italian baritone is singing the role of Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera, a substitute for Ambrogio Maestri. Signor Alaimo brings unexpected delicacy to the role, makes the boor Falstaff more lovable than usual, gives us a glimpse of the pretty young man he still fancies himself to be. He sings beautifully. Then, cast into the Thames, he drags himself to shore and sings, literally, from a sodden pile of hay, nestled in it, enveloped in it as though by a huge down pillow. Instantaneously, his singing takes on a different weight and timbre. It is more grounded, more anchored, and more beautifully resonant. O, then, singer, for a great pile of hay to take your back when you sing, so that you are supported all around, your back staying back. You’d find, perhaps, that to be supported is far more important than supporting. O singer, O all of us, what a gift it is to lean on the air, that in a very literal way, is supporting us from behind and all around. What a gift it is to give up all that tempts us forward, our wish to connect, to communicate, to project and to place the tone, all, in short, that takes us out and away from our back. We all want — singers and non-singers alike — that pile of hay behind us, a giant’s hand to meet us, and lacking that, what can we do? The hands of a teacher of the Alexander Technique will help. They’ll help you to stay back, add the virtual haystack to your singing and to all that you do. It may come to you as a blessing. You might even want to try it for your self. And to each of you, I say, O Singer, for your holiday gift, we’ve got your back. Sincerely, Alexander Technique