Recitative can hold some terrors for the young (and even the experienced) singer, as its rhythmic and melodic structures often differ from the surrounding music. Singers are musicians at heart, and the temptation is to start with the melody and throw the words in somehow. But in reality, this takes longer to do, and you are more likely to make mistakes that are difficult to undo.
What stage directors need from singers in the rehearsal/staging process of recitative is a knowledge of meaning, intent, character, and the flow of language, so that they can direct interactions between characters and put them on the stage. And it all starts with the text.
Previously on the Collaborative Piano Blog:
Jennifer Peterson on Subliminal Recit Technique