Ruth Falcon, 1942-2020
I was shaken upon hearing last night that soprano and legendary teacher Ruth Falcon has died.
I was extremely lucky to study with Ruth at Mannes for three years. She was a consummate technician, a force of nature, someone who could be both boundlessly generous and terribly difficult. Although we haven’t been close in many years, it’s hard to believe she’s gone.
I remember our first lesson. I had been accepted to Mannes and was trying to decide on a teacher. Ruth worked me hard for an hour; I felt things unlock that had never been free. The feeling was purely physical and absolutely thrilling, and the resulting sound was one I had never heard come from my own body before, unstable, full of color. At the end of the lesson, as I breathlessly thanked her, she told me with satisfaction that she had heard something teachable in my high C during my Mannes audition—nothing else was any good yet, she hastened to add, but we could build down from that pitch. It was my first squirming encounter with her notorious directness, directness that sometimes crossed unapologetically into rudeness. But the thing was, we DID build down from there. In the next year or two especially, she gave me technical tools I am still using, still learning to understand. Read More