Acting for Singers is written to meet the needs of students as well as professional singers. It leads singing performers step by step from the studio or classroom through auditions and rehearsals to a successful performance.

Using a clear, systematic, positive approach, this practical guide explains how to analyze a script or libretto, shows how to develop a character building on material in the score, and gives the singing performer the tools to act believably. More than just a “how-to” acting book, however, Acting for Singers also addresses the problems of concentration, trust, projection, communication, and the self-doubt that often afflicts performers pursuing the goal of believable performance.

Part I establishes the basic principles of acting and singing together, and teaches the reader how to improvise as a key tool to explore and develop characters.

Part II teaches the singer how to analyze theatrical work for rehearsing, and performing. Using concrete examples from Carmen and West Side Story, and imaginative exercises following each chapter, this text teaches all singers how to be effective singing actors.


Classical Singer Magazine, January 2008

Book Review Acting for Singers by Daniela Amini


“…this is a book that can be equally effective for actors as for singers.”

“…its organizational structure makes it both user-friendly for the individual as well as deal for teacher or classroom use.”

“Part I explore the very basics of entering the character’s world…It gives pointers on how to transform the act of singing from an additional hurdle to a boon and includes tips for developing improvisational skills”

“Part II deals with interpretation of the character, musical and thematic levels…Ostwald analyzes and breaks down excerpted acts and musical texts from the operatic canon to demonstrate a workable method for the performer…He has written a manual that can lead the student or professional towards increased improvement and a more comprehensive artistic awareness.”

“Part III is dedicated to the subject of preparation before performances, rehearsals and auditions…Few books cover as much territory in one volume, to say nothing of one section, and Ostwald clearly exhibits a gift for distilling and organizing only the most useful information…”

Overall, this is a book that will be useful on the shelves of every type of singing performer at every skill level and career point. Whether you read it cover to cover or skip through it as a spot-reference tool, Acting for Singers will leave you with a good measure of clarity, palpable direction, and, perhaps most importantly, a renewed sense of confidence and assurance in the idea that anything can be improved.


Acting for Singers

Barnes & Noble
Oxford University Press