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Interlude 5 “Park and Bark”
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Before leaving bel canto and entering into Verdi, I feel we should touch on the singing style jokingly, affectionately, and accurately referred to as “park and bark.” What is that?

There are moments in operas when people, usually alone onstage, stand centerstage at the footlights and sing an aria. In some productions this aria is “delivered” in an uninvolved fashion or in a generically phrased way in an attempt to please the audience in the rafters. This tends to come across as a show staged for those in the nosebleed seats, and it has minimal effect dramatically. In essence, the singer “parks” him-or herself in the most important part of the stage and “barks” the music to the rafters, which is to say he or she doesn’t sing it very well. Barking of dogs has no musical line or meaning, and neither does the delivered aria.