What do Enrico Caruso, Arnold Schoenberg, Christian Gerhaher, Feodor Chaliapin, Philip Telemann, Ian Bostridge, Edward Elgar, Siegfried Jerusalem and Bohuslav Martinu have in common? Well, the fact that they are all in one way or another autodidact. Neither of the singers studied singing at a conservatory e.g.
Bostridge, Jerusalem and Gerhaher also have in common that they are late starters: Bostridge is an historian and was a postdoctoral fellow at the British Academy prior to his singing career, Jerusalem played the bassoon in several orchestra’s and Gerhaher was a surgeon.
You could compare Dré de Man to the latter three, at least as far as the way he has been trained as a singer. Dré started singing at the age of nine at a boys choir where he sang Gregorian, got a basic musical training as a child at the music school where he also learned to play the recorder and spend half a year on music history on the university while studying Dutch language and literature. He took singing lessons during a period of seventeen years, though not continuously and with several teachers. The most important technical and theoretical aspects he learned and partly still learns from his pianist and teacher, Irina Sisoyeva, while working on the Lied repertoire.
To him, this training and especially the study of the scores enriched his life in a way he never could have imagined. Since he has sung a large part of the Lied repertoire, he can hardly listen to a singer without singing silently along and without thinking about all the secrets that are hidden in the score. It helped him tremendously to understand the value of an outstanding performance. It also helped him to understand the situations where a singer performs less well, since he knows how many things can keep a singer from performing exceptionally. His musical training enabled him to hear the moments where a singer and a pianist add unexpected beauty and emotion to the music - which is, according to him, what performing Lieder is about.
As a rule, Dré de Man solely sings on private concerts.