For the pianist, working with singers is both a source of joy and an opportunity to develop into a more complete musician. Whether we speak of art song or operatic repertoire, excellent skill as a pianist is only one of many necessary skills. The pianist who collaborates in the art song repertoire will need excellent technique but skills of ensemble, diction and an understanding of poetry as well.
The pianist who plays opera scores functions as pianist, conductor, and orchestra all at once. He must know his scores front to back, play orchestrally, must be able to play and sing all parts, give cues, and have exemplary diction in a variety of languages. Thus, working with singers presents a whole new range of issues for young, developing pianists. And of course, this is a two-way street.