“The idea is to get the sound to the public,” he says. “Opera doesn’t use microphones. A singer needs to produce sound in an accoustical way and carry the sound.
“As a singer, your instrument is you. How your day has gone matters. And being on the road is tough. So your environment is really important. I have been to places that were toxic.”
But he adds there are places in Europe where a performance can result in a 15- to 20-minute ovation. People will throw flowers onto the stage.
That immediate gratification has been supplanted by the powerful pleasure Noble experiences in teaching. Instruction of the voice is a day-to-day thing, he notes.
“If you can learn three things — relaxation, articulation and breath control — you can sing,” he says. “When the jaw is moving, you can tell the singer is not getting the breath control. This is applicable to all singing.
“Singing is repetitive. It’s muscle memory. You have to learn to trust what you feel, not what you hear. It’s tough to break old habits.”
Noble gives a great deal of credit to his wife of 17 years, Donna, who was a noted teacher and administrator in Peru before retiring 3½ years ago.
“Donna’s been my rock,” Noble says. “She knows about kids and how they learn. Donna taught me that there are different ways to teach. Every student is different. You figure out how a student learns best. Sometimes on some days some things don’t work.”
When he’s not teaching in a formal setting, Noble works with various institutions, such as the Canadian Opera Company, instructing young professionals.
Next summer he’s going to Sulmona, Italy, for three weeks to work with young opera students. Donna will likely go along. “You get one, you get both,” he says with a broad grin.