Orvieto Bel Canto

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New summer workshop for singers in Orvieto, Italy

  (Check back for the dates of our 2016 program)

Just the word “Italia” calls us like the Sirens’ song lured Ulysses.  Not only is Italy the spiritual home of all opera singers, but it is also a living work of art.  Around every corner you can find a stunning site worthy of a great painting or a fabulous sculpture.  When you see Italy, you will understand why opera was created here – and could have only been created here. 

Italy and Italian singing have fascinated the world since the 17th century.  The rich voices, the romantic sounds of the language, the sensuous melodies all created in us a longing to go there to find out what the mystery is all about.  So we went – one of us to Florence and the other to Milan.

And now, after all those years in Italy, we have put together the most complete three-week program possible to help you discover what the mystery is all about, to have an eye-opening, tipping point, "now-I-get-it" experience.  And afterwards your entire outlook on singing will be changed forever.

This summer you will learn more about Italian opera, singing in Italian, and the Italian language and culture than you ever thought possible.

After this experience you will take something of Italy away with you.  Italy will become a part of you and you'll carry it with you always.  As a singer and artist, you will feel as if your soul has finally found its home.  And that sensation will affect the way you sing a phrase…the way you caress a note…the way you approach even non-Italian music.

You will be singing Italian arias and ensembles with such authentic diction, style and expression that audition judges will be blown away.

You will learn…

  • the secrets of authentic Italian operatic style;
  • the secret of "accento" – to make your singing idiomatic;
  • the secret of Bel Canto – (it's in the way Italians place the vowels);
  • how to sing a recitative with the correct expression and nuances;
  • how to sing Italian with a flawless accent.
You will part of a small group of 15 to 20 singers.  You will receive individual attention every step of the way from master teachers. 

Continuous Support and Encouragement...

And you aren't limited to just the lessons and classes.  We won't give you a lesson and then disappear.  We're there for you.  Want to talk about your singing goals and how to reach them?  Want some help planning your next steps?  We'll listen to you and give you our best advice.  Stuck on a vocal problem?  We'll do our best to help you through it.  Want to go over that aria just one more time?  We'll find a piano and do it.

Here's what you'll get:

  • At least two private vocal technique lessons per week to accelerate your progress;
  • At least two private coachings per week with an Italian vocal coach/pianist to hammer home Italian style and diction;
  • An Italian language course designed just for you, so you know what you're singing about;
  • A daily Master Class to give you another perspective on your singing through your own work and by observing others;
  • Guest artist Master Classes to bring you yet more perspective and insight;
  • Four public concerts so you can put into practice what you have learned;
  • Italian diction from Italian teachers to bring your accent as close as possible to perfection;
  • Mock auditions to guide you in planning and handling the audition process;
We have limited our program enrollment to a few dedicated singers, so that we can give you close, personal attention.  We want you to get it.  Your improvement and artistic maturity are our only concerns.  

You are going to learn things that you didn't even know existed.  And yet they are things that make the difference between a mediocre singer and a really fine one.  These methods come from a deep understanding of the style and wishes of the composer, in order for you to give an authentic, heartfelt interpretation.

As an artist, your main, overriding job is to look for truth.  Art is about exploring and expressing the human experience.  That's really all there is to it, but it's one of the most difficult battles we have to fight as artists.  Always keep that goal in mind.     

The interpretation of Italian vocal music comes from the language.  But it's not just pronouncing Italian phonetically.  You have to not only know what every word means, but you have to pronounce it in a way that carries the emotional meaning of that word.  This is called "accento" – and it doesn't mean "accent."  Italian style depends on your learning this hugely important element of singing.  That's what makes your audience shout and stomp their feet.  Even if they don’t' speak Italian, they will know the difference.


How two Americans discovered themselves…in Italy

Let us introduce ourselves.  We are Marsha Anderson and Ron Montgomery.  We are two Americans who went to Italy as very young singers looking to perfect our technique and style.  Italy lured us with its mystery, excitement and dramatic life.  We both had singing careers.  Marsha went to Florence, where she sang at the Teatro Comunale for 12 years.  And Ron went to Milan, where he sang, among other places, at Il Teatro alla Scala.  We finally met in the mid-nineties and became instant friends.  We lived in this incredibly country of Italy for over twenty years.  We speak Italian fluently.  We sang, studied and worked daily with Italian singers, coaches, conductors and stage directors.  We not only understand how Italians sing, but why they sing the way they do.We spent countless hours studying every aspect of Italian style, recitative, arias, entire operatic roles – all with the last "maestri" of the old school – the school that taught Freni, Pavarotti and Callas.  Then we sang with some of the best conductors, singers and stage directors of the time – Bartoletti, Cillario, Castellani, Masini, Muti, Salerno, Maestrini, Olivero, Campogalliani, Pavarotti, Abbado, Gavazzeni and others.  If you don’t recognize these names, do some research, and you’ll understand what real giants they were.   

We had no organized program to go to, no real plan, and little knowledge of Italian.  We just packed our bags, caught a plane, and started studying.  We made it with grit, determination and a lot of hard work with the generous dedication of some of the best teachers and coaches in Italy. 

We hope you won’t have it quite so hard.  We have organized everything for these three weeks, and found the best place in Italy to learn and live.  That doesn’t mean you won’t have to work hard.  As the saying goes “there is no free lunch.”  But if this is what you want to do, you will love every minute of it.

We have three Italian teachers on our staff:  Laura Topetti, a marvelous dramatic soprano, Riccardo Cambri, an outstanding vocal coach, as well as a very talented concert pianist, and a second Italian coach to be named later.

We have limited our program enrollment to 15 or 20 dedicated singers, so that we can give you close, personal attention.  We want you to get it.  Your improvement and artistic maturity are our only concerns.  

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