A Night at the Opera: Insights from our VP Membership, Kevin

Dear Zuriberg Toastmasters, 

During our summer party, serendipity favored our VP Membership, Kevin, as he was the lucky recipient of the grand raffle prize.As someone deeply inspired by the world of Opera, Kevin is eager to share his impressions from the enchanting “Night at the Opera” experience last October!

On behalf of Kevin: 

A Night at the Opera

Don Giovanni stood before us, a silhouette amidst the flames, his years of greed and misdeeds sealing his fate in eternal damnation. Justice prevailed, and the audience, enchanted by Mozart’s timeless opera “Don Giovanni,” rose in an excited standing ovation. I had the chance to be among them, thanks to our very own Club – the Zuriberg Toastmasters Club – which organized a lottery prize at our closing meeting in June. A big thank you to the Committee for having selected such an inspiring prize and given the winner – me in this case – the opportunity to broaden my horizons. 

During that evening, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels between being an opera singer and a speaker, realizing how much there is to learn from each other.

Firstly, both share the purpose of communicating a message to an audience. Though seemingly trivial, we often overlook this when on stage and rather worry about details: the volume of our voice, checking if we display anxiety, or having seemingly uncontrolled movements. The real question should be: does the audience understand the message?

Secondly, both leverage vocal variety and body language to engage their audience. Imagine how you’d feel if an opera singer had only one note or used the same gesture repeatedly. Most likely, you’d leave within the first 10 minutes. Similarly, speakers, when comfortable with a specific tone or gesture, may use it over and over again while wondering why the audience’s engagement is low. As in life, variety is key. Like an opera singer, a speaker’s voice and gestures must align with the message and adapt to emotions and situations to keep the audience engaged throughout the entire journey.

Even more importantly, opera singers spend years working on their craft and thoroughly prepare for their performance. Of course, nobody is expected to perform as an opera singer without practice. Strangely, this is what we expect when we speak in public. We believe that all it takes is to take a deep breath and start speaking. But this does not produce much results. Without preparation, we will probably not have content interesting enough to be communicated, or we won’t be able to communicate it effectively. Therefore, both the expert opera singer and the smart speaker will dedicate most of their time getting ready for game day. 

Art is something magical!

Out of ordinary things such as words or paint comes out something extraordinary – the communication of emotions. Countless individuals express themselves, yet not all achieve the finesse of mastery. True mastery is reserved for those who consistently work on their craft and prepare for the moments they need to perform at their best. Toastmasters provides a weekly chance to hone these skills. Through dedication, practice, and training, the day is approaching when, much like opera singers, you will be able to captivate your audience every time you step on the stage.

Kind Regards

Kevin von Niederhäusern 

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Vanessa Stournari