Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Vocal Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Esther Jane Hardenbergh

Second Committee Member

Robynne Redmon

Third Committee Member

Coreen Duffy

Fourth Committee Member

Trudy Kane


The discussion of body weight and the classical singer is not new, but recent events, such as HD broadcasts of opera productions, along with rising obesity rates across the general populace, have led to increased debate surrounding the stereotype of the overweight opera singer. As overweight singers face increased pressure to lose weight, a variety of suggestions have traveled through the vocal community, but little evidence-based research or health care advice has been readily available. Research has been conducted which seeks to answer how obesity affects vocal function, as well as how bariatric surgery may affect the voice; however, this research has not been widely circulated in the vocal community. Additionally, singers may desire to lose weight, but are subjected to the same advertising and fad diet promotions as the general populace, which leaves a great deal of uncertainty about the best methods to use. This paper provides a collection and brief analysis of the available research regarding body weight and nutritional issues and their relationship to vocal function, in order to bring more science and evidence-based research into this discussion of obesity, nutrition, and the classical singer.


body weight; opera; classical singer; nutrition; obesity