How often will you hear a male singer performing “Somewhere Ofer The Rainbow”? Not too often.
Originally performed by Judy Garland in “The Wizard Of Oz”, we normally associate this song with a female vocalist.
However, this performance by Mandy Patinkin erased any doubt that a male singer, with the right voice and artistic sensibility, could color this song with a totally different vocal palate.
This is a masterpiece of a performance – in so many important ways. Mandy Patinkin’s delicate delivery of this song, his creative and expressive phrasing, his emotional energy, the inflection and nuance in his delivery, the range of dynamics in his singing style, elevates this song to a new and exciting level.
Mandy lives in the moment when he performs this number, always immersing his vocal energy into the core of this and every song he chooses to sing.
And, did you hear the ringing sound of his head voice? The majority of this song is sung with more head than chest voice in his vocal mix and, believe you me, this takes courage, confidence and stellar training.
Then, when he chooses to augment the dynamic in the last part of this song, his head voice still remains intact as he craftily adds more chest voice to the mix, lending the listener a chance to hear the rich, robust quality of his singing voice. So beautiful!
And the last two, pitch perfect, beautifully centered counter-tenor notes at the end of this song were a bonus. I was not expecting this – but Mandy saved the best of the best for last.
MasterClass Tip: Also, check out his leg position everyone. Check. It. Out. One foot is slightly ahead of the other and that all- important bend in the knee is key to establishing a grounded support system for his voice. One can almost feel his back muscles, including the buttocks, revving up the diaphragm to work its magic.
This is how you do it everyone. This is how! And, with the start of live shows of American Idol this week, not to mention a new season of The Voice, singers should be studying Mandy Patinkin’s technical brilliance coupled with his highly communicative singing style. It’s not about screaming your message to your audience, people, but rather it is about moving them to honestly feel and experience a song in a new and exciting way.
Yes, Homeland junkies – of which I am one – Saul Berenson can hum a mean tune like no other.
Check out the video below and be inspired by Mandy Patinikin’s 1989 performance on Letterman.