While some actors rely on vocal tricks to achieve a desired
effect, Levy tells ET that when it came to Streep, it was all natural talent
combined with hard work. To be able to sing for the film, Levy didn’t strip
anything away, instead he focused on “getting her voice to its perfect state”
so they could expand Streep’s vocal range. “The only deconstructionism was
taking a beautiful high C for Meryl and making it unbeautiful, but in a
specific way,” he says.
When it came to songs like “The Bell Song” and “Queen of the
Night’s Aria,” Streep was offered lower keys to be able to sing in her range.
Instead, she opted for the highest key, which added credibility to her voice. “The
lower keys might have been a little too easy and possibly a little too lovely,”
Levy says. “We’re dealing with a ratio of bad.”
The key to making Streep sound authentic was not imitating
Jenkins. “I prepared by learning the arias, to sing them as well as I possibly
could,” Streep told IndieWire and then studying the way Jenkins sang the music.
“She was very specific about where Florence didn’t make the note or made the
wrong note,” Levy says. “I don’t think the exact sound quality was reproduced
because that would have been, maybe objectionable parodying.”
“When you are unique, you move to the head of the class,”
Levy adds. “And I think Florence did it, in her weirdo way.”