venerdì 6 dicembre 2013

The international pianist MURIEL CHEMIN speaks about herself in the interview of ISTITUTO EUROPEO

Muriel Chemin
Interview by Fabrizio Ulivieri
(English version by Louisa Loring)

1) Watching you play, the first thing that strikes me is the ease at which you play. It’s incredible. How did you get to this point of ease which comes through in your performances?

First of all. I started playing the piano very early at age five and so I have practically spent my whole life with music and at the keyboard. I have to say that this ease of which you speak of, is really the result of a lot of hard, continual daily work. A magic wand doesn’t exist and commitment is just as important as musical talent.

2) A Japanese soprano told me that in moments of difficulty, you are saved by the passion that is transmitted on stage. How important is the heart in respect to the technique of a performance? Can the heart and the passion of a performance make up for lack of technique or off days?

As far as I’m concerned, hard times can be overcome with intelligence and naturally, with passion and a very strong heart when facing a fearful moment in certain pieces particularly difficult in the score. I think that all of us musicians have these fears in every piece of repertoire when we play publicly. Nothing is easy and you need to have courage and most importantly, the overwhelming desire to communicate with the people in the theater who are there for you and for the music. There is only one secret: LOVE

3) By now you are an international performer. In your opinion, what are the qualities that allow an artist or performer to play in different countries and share their music with different cultures or environments so different from one another?

To become an international artist, I would say that there are many other factors beyond talent and personal commitment such as health, strength, ability to adapt, and consciousness when you choose, Today, more than ever, unfortunately, you also need an image or idea that can arouse an interest in people beyond music. My belief was that being an artist was enough. Now, it seems that no one knows what to do to get people to notice you and to become famous at all costs. This truly saddens me because it has nothing to do with art and our goal as musicians.

4) Can an artist separate his or her public from private life? If yes, at what price?

I don’ think that it is possible for an artist to separate the private from the public because we have to deal with our emotions and all aspects of our character and of our personality that coexist inside of us. After all, music itself, unlike other art forms, penetrates within our body through the ear and thus, it never leaves us. In fact, I always have music playing in my head, even when - especially – I am not studying. It never leaves me!

5) Who are the hardest composers to play for you? Is there someone in particular who is really difficult to perform?
All composers have their own language, style and peculiarity. I personally play best from classical artists and from big form (forma sonata). In a special way. I feel ‘at home’ with Mozart and Beethoven. I find the Romanticists and the nineteenth century repertoire less immediate but obviously, I equally like them and I happily play them.

6) Is it possible to compose classical music good enough to compare with the greatest composers of the past?

It depends on what the word ‘classical’ means. It depends if we allude to, like most people, the catchy music or the big artistic movement. The famous contemporary composers who I admire are Boulez, Nono, e Ligeti. I am convinced that they will remain in musical history forever. I am sorry that I cannot mention everyone who is important and I don’t want to leave out the fantastic composers like Sciarrino, Fedele and Anichini (only in Italy).

7) In your opinion, what is the most musically advanced country?

Germany! But also the United States and United Kingdom. For how much the musicians are respected and evaluated, they truly are other worlds, other planets

8) In one of your interviews you said ‘Families prefer stadiums to theaters and for me, this is very sad considering the richness of the Italian culture.’ I found this statement fundamental and of great importance. What should be done to change this?

I believe that it would already be something to have a political class better educated and prepared in a country that is considered the hub of art in the entire world! There is too much ignorance and we have unfortunately realized a moral and cultural decline in these last 20 years. I stop here! It is not enough to make us believe in the love of music only with the seasonal opening on December 7th (it’s too easy just to show the new dress) and to not lift a finger for the rest of the year in favor of musical associations. Orchestras that shut or musicians of high rank humiliated, with little work or out of a job in conservatories! If only half was spent for art (and not only for music) that is given to soccer, there would be a jump in the quality and certainly there would much more respect and much less violence.

9) All artists have worries and fears. What is your worry or fear as an artist?

Not ever being prepared enough…or worse, not communicating anything to the people who listen. It would be so sad!

10) Plans for the future?

Always the same: broaden as much as possible a repertoire, that is, study a lot and work together with other musicians because playing in a chamber orchestra or playing all together in an orchestra are marvelous experience that continually enrich us. I love playing with others!

11) One piece of advice for an adolescent who would like to become a pianist.

You need to have a tremendous talent, an excellent teacher, study hard… and a lot of luck in your encounters!

martedì 3 dicembre 2013

La pianista internazionale MURIEL CHEMIN si racconta nell'intervista dell'ISTITUTO EUROPEO

Muriel Chemin
di Fabrizio Ulivieri

L’ISTITUTO EUROPEO intervista questa volta Muriel Chemin, pianista francese conosciuta a livello internazionale. Ha tenuto numerosi concerti come solista, in duo pianistico, in musica da camera o con orchestra in molti paesi europei ed extraeuropei, come Italia, Svizzera, Austria, Germania, Regno Unito, Grecia, Turchia, Romania, Russia, Cile e USA. E’ ritenuta una delle interpreti più convincenti e originali di Beethoven e Mozart ed ha ottenuto il Primo Premio al Concorso Internazionale Hennesy-Mozart di Parigi suscitando l’entusiasmo della giuria e del presidente Paul Badura-Skoda. In Italia è stata ospite di istituzioni musicali di prestigio quali l’Orchestra Regionale Toscana, il Teatro Alighieri di Ravenna, Auditorium dell'Orchestra Verdi di Milano in duo con il violoncellista Alain Meunier. A partire della stagione 2011/12 la signora Chemin sarà anche partner del celebre violoncellista David Geringas.

1) Muriel vedendoti suonare, la prima cosa che balza agli occhi è la facilità di sonata. E’ incredibile. Come si arriva a suonare con una facilità come quella che traspare nelle tue perfomances?
Prima di tutto, ho cominciato molto presto lo studio del pianoforte, a 5 anni, quindi, praticamente ho passato tutta la mia vita con la musica e alla tastiera. Devo dire che la “facilità” alla quale ti riferisci, che traspare è in realtà frutto di un grande lavoro, duro, costante e quotidiano. La bacchetta magica non esiste e l’impegno è importante quanto il talento musicale

2) Una soprano giapponese mi diceva che in momenti di difficoltà tecnica si salva grazie alla passionalità ed al cuore che riesce a mettere nella rappresentazione sul palco. Quanto è importante il cuore rispetto alla tecnica in una performance? Possono il cuore, la passionalità della performance, sopperire a carenze tecniche o giorni storti?

Le difficoltà tecniche si possono superare, per quanto mi riguarda, grazie all’intelligenza dell’interprete e naturalmente anche con la passione dello studio e un cuore molto solido nell’affrontare il momento di preoccupazione in certi passaggi particolarmente difficoltosi nella partitura. Credo che tutti noi, musicisti, abbiamo questi timori in ogni pezzo del repertorio quando suoniamo in pubblico. Niente è facile e bisogna avere coraggio e soprattutto la voglia irrefrenabile di comunicare con gli altri, quelle persone in sala che sono qui per te e per la Musica. Il segreto è uno solo: AMORE

3) Ormai sei un’artista internazionale. Quali sono, secondo te, le qualità che fanno di un/un'artista un/una performer capace di suonare in differenti paesi ed imporre la sua musica a situazioni culturali ed ambientali così diverse da un paese all’altro?

Per diventare un artista internazionale, direi che oltre al talento e l’impegno personale, ci vogliono tanti altri fattori: la salute, la resistenza, l’adattabilità, la lucidità nelle proprie scelte, oggi più che mai – purtroppo - anche una immagine o qualcosa che possa suscitare interesse del grande pubblico al di là della musica. Una volta credo che bastava essere un Artista. Ora sembra che non si sappia più cosa inventare per far parlare di sé e diventare famosi a tutti i costi; sinceramente questo mi rattrista un po’ perché ciò non ha niente a che vedere con l’arte e la nostra missione di musicista

4) Un artista riesce a scindere la vita personale da quella pubblica? Se sì, a che prezzo?

Non credo che per un artista sia possibile scindere l’aspetto privato da quello pubblico, perché abbiamo a che fare con le emozioni e tutti gli aspetti del nostro carattere, della nostra personalità convivono dentro di noi. D’altronde la musica stessa, diversamente dalle diverse arti, penetra nel nostro corpo attraverso l’orecchio, e quindi non ci lascia più. Infatti io ho sempre musica in testa e anche quando - soprattutto - non studio, non mi abbandona mai!

5) Quali sono per te i compositori più ostici da suonare? Ce n'è qualcuno in particolare che presenta aspetti particolarmente difficili da interpretare?

Tutti i compositori hanno il proprio linguaggio, il loro stile e peculiarità. A me personalmente risultano forse più congeniali gli autori del periodo classico e nella grande forma (forma sonata). Mi sento “a casa” con Mozart e Beethoven in modo speciale. Trovo meno immediati i tardo romantici ed il repertorio del ‘900, che però, ovviamente, mi piacciono in egual misura e che suono molto volentieri

6) Si può comporre oggi musica classica in grado di rivaleggiare con i grandi compositori del passato?

Dipende da quello che si intende con la parola “classica”. Se alludiamo, come molte persone, all’orecchiabile oppure al grande movimento artistico. I grandi compositori contemporanei che ammiro particolarmente sono Boulez, Nono, e Ligeti che, ne sono convinta, rimarranno nella storia musicale per secoli. Mi dispiace non poter citare tutti quelli che sono anche molto importanti e non vorrei dimenticarmi di compositori fantastici come Sciarrino, Fedele e Anichini (solo in Italia)

7) Qual è secondo te il paese musicalmente più avanzato?

La Germania! Ma anche ovviamente gli Stati Uniti e il Regno Unito. Davvero altri mondi, altri pianeti, per come vengono rispettati e considerati i musicisti…

8) In una tua intervista hai detto " Le famiglie preferiscono gli stadi ai teatri ed è per me una grande tristezza considerando la ricchezza della cultura italiana". Ho trovato questa affermazione capitale e di grande valore. Che si dovrebbe fare per invertire questa tendenza?

Credo che sarebbe già qualcosa avere una classe politica più colta e preparata in un paese che viene considerato una culla dell’arte nel mondo! C’è troppa ignoranza e abbiamo sfortunatamente constatato in questi ultimi 20 anni un degrado morale e culturale. Mi fermo qui! Non basta far credere di amare la musica presentandosi alla prima della Scala ogni 7 dicembre (troppo facile, esibire il vestito nuovo) e non alzare un dito per tutto il resto dell’anno a favore delle Associazioni musicali. Orchestre che chiudono oppure musicisti di altissimo rango umiliati, con poco lavoro o fuori dall’insegnamento nei conservatori! Se si spendesse solo la metà per l’arte (e non solo per la musica, s’intende) di quello che viene dato al calcio allora sì che potremmo dire di aver fatto un salto di qualità e sicuramente ci sarebbe più rispetto dell’altro e molta meno violenza.

9) Tutti gli artisti hanno ossessioni e paure. Qual è la tua ossessione o paura come artista?

Di non essere mai pronta abbastanza … o peggio di non comunicare niente alla gente che ascolta. Sarebbe tristissimo!

10) Progetti per il futuro?

Sempre lo stesso: allargare quanto possibile il proprio repertorio, cioè, studiare molto e lavorare insieme ad altri musicisti perché fare musica da camera o suonare insieme all’orchestra sono esperienze meravigliose, dei regali preziosi che ci arricchiscono continuamente. Adoro suonare con gli altri!

11) Un consiglio ad un giovane che volesse diventare pianista

Deve avere un talento formidabile, un ottimo insegnante, studiare molto… e tanta fortuna nei suoi incontri.

lunedì 2 dicembre 2013

Istituto Europeo Concerto di Natale - Christmas Concert - Concierto de Navidad 2013

Giovedì 12 dicembre 2013, alle ore 21:00, presso la St. James Church – Via Bernardo Rucellai, 9 Firenze, il Dipartimento di Musica dell’ISTITUTO EUROPEO propone il suo “Concerto di Natale”. Saranno eseguite dagli studenti arie d’opera e pagine di musica classica di Giordani, Donizetti, Bizet, Tosti, Arditi, Luzzi, Delibes, Rossini, Strauss, Mozart, Puccini e Padovano

al piano: Maestri Francesca Giovannelli e Riccardo Foti

Con questo concerto il Dipartimento di musica dell’ISTITUTO EUROPEO prosegue nella sua intensa attività di manifestazioni musicali, che ha caratterizzato fin dall’inizio (1988) la sua politica di formazione di cantanti e musicisti provenienti da ogni parte del mondo.

Lo scopo dei concerti è come sempre quello di finalizzare l’insegnamento all’esperienza professionale della tenuta e del movimento sullo stage indispensabili per ogni futura collaborazione artistica.

E’ sicuramente un’occasione da non perdere a cui, dati gli esiti positivissimi degli ultimi concerti, non si deve assolutamente mancare.

Ingresso libero


On Thursday, December 12th 2013 at 9:00PM at the St. James Church – Via Bernardo Rucellai, 9 Florence, the ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department proposes its “Christmas Concert”. Students will perform works of opera and pages of classical music by Giordani, Donizetti, Bizet, Tosti, Arditi, Luzzi, Delibes, Rossini, Strauss, Mozart, Puccini and Padovano

at the piano: Maestri Francesca Giovannelli and Riccardo Foti

With this concert the ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department continues its intense activity of musical performances, which has been characterized by its group formations of singers and musicians coming from all over the world since 1988.

The aim of the concert is, as always, to finalize teaching at a professional level and the journey from this essential experience to future artistic collaborations.

It is definitely an occasion not to miss, and judging by the positive outcomes of the last concerts, cannot be missed.

Admission Free


El jueves 12 de Diciembre 2013, a las 21:00, en la Iglesia St. James – Via Bernardo Rucellai, 9 Florencia, el Departamento de Música del ISTITUTO EUROPEO propone su “Concierto de Navidad”. Los estudiantes realizaran arias de ópera y páginas de música clásica de Giordani, Donizetti, Bizet, Tosti, Arditi, Luzzi, Delibes, Rossini, Strauss, Mozart, Puccini y Padovano

en el piano: Maestri Francesca Giovannelli y Riccardo Foti

Con este concierto el Departamento de Música del ISTITUTO EUROPEO continúa sus intensas actividades musicales, que desde el principio (1988) han caraterizado su política de formación de cantantes y músicos de todo el mundo.

El objetivo del concierto es, como siempre, lo de finalizar la enseñanza a nivel profesional del estadia en el escenario, esencial para cualquier futura colaboración artística.

Es seguramente una ocasión para no perderse, y a ver los resultados positivos de los últimos conciertos, no se puede perder.

Entrada gratuita

Programma completo - full program - programa completo:

T. Giordani: Caro mio ben
soprano: Tiffany Tobias

L. Luzzi: Ave Maria
soprano: Ayako Miura

W.A. Mozart: Alma grande e nobil core
soprano: Atsuko Miyamoto

F.P. Tosti: Sogno
tenore: Tomonori Tasato

G. Donizetti: Com’é bello, quale incanto (Lucrezia Borgia)
soprano: Dina Shikhman 

G. Bizet: L'amour est un oiseaux rebelle (Habanera) 
soprano: Dina Shikhman

L. Arditi: Il bacio
soprano: Yoshie Watanabe

L. Delibes: Duetto dei fiori (Lakmé)
soprano: Ikue Kobayashi
mezzosoprano: Miyuki Endo

G. Rossini: Una voce poco fa (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
mezzosoprano: Miyuki Endo

J. Strauss: Mein Herr Marquis (Die Fledermaus)
soprano: Kazue Yamaguchi

G. Puccini: Chi il bel sogno di Doretta (La rondine)
soprano: Ikue Kobayashi

W.A. Mozart: Canzonetta sull'aria (Le nozze di Figaro)
soprano: Ayako Miura
soprano: Atsuko Miyamoto

M. Padovano: Il Natale vero (su testo di Pier Franco Gangemi)
soprano: Ikue Kobayashi
coro: Ayako Miura Atsuko Miyamoto Miyuki Endo
Pianoforte : M° Riccardo Foti
prima esecuzione assoluta

Adeste Fideles
Pianoforte: M° Francesca Giovannelli

venerdì 29 novembre 2013

" Music for Saxophones " by Iñaki Askunze

It has been released the first work of Iñaki Askunze, teacher of Harmony, Arrangements, Composition and Big band at the Jazz Department of  Conservatory in the Basque Country ( Musikene ) and the Conservatory Pablo Sarasate in Pamplona, (Spain), director of the Big Band "Pyrenees Jazz Orchestra ". Former student at Berklee College (Boston, USA) from 1988 to 1991 with Herb Pomeroy, Joe Viola, Bill Pierce, Ed Tomasi, Hal Crook and many others.I graduated in “Jazz Composition” and “Performance (saxophone)” Diploma.

Book - cd
" Music for Saxophones" (Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 ) including duets, trios and quartets for saxophones.

           " Music for Saxophones " is endorsed by:
Lee Konitz , Randy Brecker, Chris Cheek , Manuel Miján , Perico Sambeat , Pedro Iturralde , Bob Sands and Ramon Ricker .

To buy the book + CD contact Iñaki Askunze

Dina Shikhman, a young Canadian soprano at ISTITUTO EUROPEO for a Study Abroad in Music

by Ilaria Gelichi

1. Dina, you are studying Vocal Technique for opera singers at ISTITUTO EUROPEO with Susanna Rigacci. Why did you choose her and how is your relationship?

When I was researching places to study in Italy, I came across Istituto Europeo and I kind of just knew I had to study here. I researched the teachers at Istituto Europeo and came across Susanna Rigacci. I listened to her singing on YouTube, then I spoke to my teachers back home and they all agreed that she would be the right choice for me. I didn’t give up until I received confirmation that she would be my teacher. I am currently studying with Susanna here in Florence and I really enjoy the lessons and the relationship we have, we have a great mutual understanding.

2. What do you think you are learning particularly from Susanna?

I can say that the Italian style of singing and the North American style are very different. In North America, there is more pressure to be perfect always. Before coming here I was focusing completely on technique and Susanna gave me the opportunity to actually sing and blossom in my own singing style. She is helping me to explore different ways to achieve vocal greatness. I’m doing a lot of exercises and different techniques I don’t usually do at home. She is also helping me to become more free.

3.  Culturally speaking – but in regards to music too - have you noticed many differences between your country, Canada, and Italy?

I have always had pressure – as I said earlier - to be the best but what I learned here and particularly from Susanna is that I cannot be perfect now. I will eventually get better but “no one is ever perfect”, she said, “I’m still learning now”. For her it’s important that I achieve the right position, the right point, from which I can then improve.
In regards to culture in general, I find that Italians are very relaxed and not very strict with time. Their lifestyle is much more taking it day by day, minute by minute almost. You will hardly ever see an Italian in a rush, which is very different than Toronto.  

4. What do you think about the city of Florence?

I have heard that Florence is the most beautiful city in the world, from everyone who had been here before I came. I can say that this is definitely true. In Florence there is a lot of beautiful art, history and architecture and I love that. Here I’ve seen some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and that’s just on my walk to school. I feel that in Toronto if you want to see art and history you have to go out and find it; whereas here in Florence, it’s everywhere. I wasn’t expecting the city to be so full of history, like the old cobblestone roads, the buildings, etc. I think it’s extremely difficult to drive in this city. I always walk and that’s great because I don’t think I would have seen as much as I’ve seen if I wasn’t walking around everywhere, exploring and being able to stop – if I had a car this wouldn’t be possible.

5. How did you start as a singer? How did you realize that you wanted to become a singer?

When I was very little, about a few months old, my parents where shocked because my dad used to sing to me and I hummed the melody back. When I was 3 I started doing “concerts” for the neighbourhood, everyday at lunch time. Then we moved to Canada and my parents put me in a music school, where I performed and studied for many years. One day my mother saw an advertisement in the newspaper for an opera singer who was offering lessons so she suggested we go hear what a professional’s opinion. I went to see him and he said “she has to sing opera, she’s got a talent”. So I started studying opera when I was 11 and I just never stopped. Then I went to university to study classical voice performance and that’s how I ended up in Florence finishing the last credits of my undergraduate degree.

6. What are your plans for the future? Do you have goals to reach?

I definitely have goals to reach. Of course my plans are to become a famous opera singer, a really famous one. Like Susanna, because she is known all over the world, I’ve heard of her in Toronto. I want to be known… It would be true success – that, and also being able to have an equally successful family life.

7. In your opinion, which is the best quality an opera singer should have?

Patience. Which I don’t have! I want my voice to just “work” right way, but it takes time and lots of meticulous work. There are lots of seemingly boring, annoying exercises which will get you there and you have to do, and patience is the key… A quality that I definitely lack, but I think it’s really important for opera singers. And also perseverance- you really need to have a goal in mind and you have to work towards it, you can’t give up. You have to be positive all the time… Also something I lack!

8. “A winner never quits. A quitter never wins.” Is that true?

Yes, that’s true for sure. I know people who have quit and others who even though they might not be the best, they don’t give up. It’s like that with every profession I think, not just opera: the minute you give up, you’re not serious, you don’t want it badly enough.

9. Has this experience in Italy changed you in some way?

Yes, I think it has changed me in a lot of ways. It taught me to be independent: I still live with my parents and I’m the youngest of 3 children and I’ve always had my family and friends and around me as my support system. Being alone in another country made me stronger mentally and taught me to be my own support system. Also, when I’m at home I always find a reason not to practice, because I don’t like singing in front of my family. I also have practice rooms at school back home, but I never found the time or reason to. Maybe I was too unmotivated… I find that I practice here a lot more than I do at home, which definitely helps me.

10. Have you already started working with any opera companies?

Yes, I have. When I was about 12 I joined the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus in Toronto. They are an excellent chorus led by excellent musicians and people. The Canadian Opera Company (who is the resident company in the Four Seasons Opera House in Toronto) always turns to the CCOC first when casting children in their productions. I performed in the children’s chorus in productions such as La Boheme, Carmen, and I even had the role of 3rd spirit in the Magic Flute when I was about 12-13. Last year during the 3rd year of my undergraduate my teachers suggested I audition for Opera in Concert, which is a company in Toronto. I guess they liked me because I’m still working with them now-it’s my second season. I haven’t only performed in the chorus of Opera in Concert, I also had the supporting role of Myrtale in Thais. The director of Opera in Concert is the same of Toronto Operetta Theatre, and I’ve done 3 opererttas now with them. While I was in Italy now I went back to Canada for 2 weeks because I got an offer to do a role with that company. Opportunities come and go… and since this was during my fall break I am grateful that I had the ability to accept this one.

11. Would you recommend an experience like yours at ISTITUTO EUROPEO?

Definitely. Especially If you are studying opera as I do. I think it has helped me to grow, and to learn a lot. Studying Italian in Italy (as studying any language in its home country) is extremely helpful, because you are forced to speak it with people who don’t understand you. I’m good at languages generally, but I never learned one so quickly. Studying Italian here helped me immensely to learn it much quicker. But also singing: where else you can study opera if not in Italy?

mercoledì 13 novembre 2013

Why study Italian? Interview to Sylvia Plyler, musician and student at ISTITUTO EUROPEO


by Ilaria Gelichi

1) Sylvia tell us something about yourself. How was your passion for the Italian language and culture born?

I come from a small town in South Carolina and I’m a musician, so I’ve always been attracted by sounds. As a young girl I played the piano, so I came to the language through music – Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, etc… The 24 Italian hits, as we call them. Hearing Italian for me is like listening to music: the sounds are very beautiful.

2) Why did you decide to study Italian?

I decided to start the study because of music, which was my profession. I’m here also to improve my pronunciation, so that I can speak better Italian with Italians. For me it’s not difficult to pronounce Italian sounds, probably because at school we were taught the use of IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) – and because I have an ear for music, which is important also with languages. I think it’s very important to know the IPA if you want to start studying a language; nowadays young people do not know it anymore.

3) Why did you choose Florence?

Because Florence is where the music was born! We could mention the Florentine Camerata, a group of poets, musicians and intellectuals who, during the Renaissance, gathered under the patronage of Count Giovanni de’ Bardi to discuss about music and arts. Florence is not only the home town of music, but also of Italian language - with the masterpieces of Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca.

4) How long have you been studying Italian?

I came to Italy – and specifically, Florence - to study Italian for the first time in 1980. I stayed 1 month in this beautiful city, trying to hear the sounds of the language in my ears. I’ve taught music for 25 years, so sounds are really important for me!
In the USA I studied Latin, then I had a wonderful teacher who taught me how to translate opera’s librettos. I understood the music fairly well but the root of the language, not as well as the music. So I learned a lot of ancient, difficult words, which I couldn’t use in everyday language. My objective is now to improve all these skills.

5) What do you like most of Italy and Florence?

Well, all the things I haven’t done yet! I will never forget my first visit to Uffizi, when I saw for the first time a painting by Botticelli. It was an incredible emotion. I like Florence because it’s the birthplace of a lot of things: language, art, Renaissance. I have to stay in Florence not only for the language, but also for the air you breathe here: there is something fascinating in it.

6) How did you know Istituto Europeo?

By accident. I had a student, a wonderful pianist who works in Germany, who had studied at Istituto Europeo in 2011. He told me “Why don’t you study here?”. I was in touch with an organization in Chicago, I got a scholarship and finally came here at the Istituto. I think that musicians and above all opera vocalist absolutely need to spend time in Italy, because hearing the language in its country it’s far better.

7) How was your experience at Istituto Europeo? Would you recommend it?

Fabulous, absolutely wonderful. I’ve studied Italian in other schools and Institutes, but I think that this is a better program. Here classes are small, we have a lot of attention and can ask questions. The atmosphere is so tranquilla here! You give the students the opportunity to do what they like. I would strongly recommend this experience.

giovedì 7 novembre 2013

History of Opera at ISTITUTO EUROPEO in 14 lectures

History of Opera

The course surveys the historical and artistic evolution of Italian opera, from the Renaissance (Monteverdi) to the Modernity (Puccini).  The historical aspects of opera, like singing, instruments, structure, will be studied as well the peculiar components of literature (libretto) and theatre. Emphasis will be placed on the major operatic composers and their masterpieces: From the madrigalistic comedy to the Recitar cantando - C. Monteverdi - The comic and the serious opera (from the 17th until the 18th century) - The Neapolitan School and the Neoclassicism - G. Rossini - V. Bellini, G. Donizetti and the Belcanto - G. Verdi - The melodrama after Verdi and the Verismo - G. Puccini - The opera after Puccini and the contemporary composers.


Week 1   Introduction to the course. The birth of opera. Florentine camerata. Music  and poetry: the recitative dramatic style.
Week 2  Monteverdi, the founder of opera: his life and works. Opera goes to Venice: theatres and show business.
Week 3    Opera in XVIII c.: the triumph of Opera Seria. The Neapolitan and Venetian schools. Lyricism and virtuosity: the aria. The Reform opera of Gluck and Calzabigi: a search for unity.
Week 4    Opera Buffa: the tradition of comedy. A Musical entertainment: the intermezzo. Italian era in Europe: Paris, London, Vienna.
Week 5   Mozart’s operas: towards an absolute truth. Da Ponte, a librettist and a libertine.
Week 6   Opera in France in the late XVIII c.: Cherubini e Spontini. The spirit of the French Revolution and  the magnificence of the Grand Opera. Beethoven’s Fidelio.
Week 7     Written MID-TERM EXAM. 
Week 9.   Elements of opera in XIX c.: composers, singers, production, structures. A change of the century: Rossini from Opera Buffa to Romantic opera.
Week 10  The season of Bel Canto. Bellini lyricism in drama. Donizetti: bourgeois spirit in comedy and  tragedy
Week 11  Verdi’s operas: human passions and ideals in the era of Risorgimento. Verdi from Nabucco to Falstaff: an evolution in style.
Week 12    Scapigliati and bohemians: Boito and Verdi.
Week 13   A slice of life: the young school of  Verismo. Mascagni and Leoncavallo.
Week 14   The sentimental naturalism of Puccini.

ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department: the Story


The Origins

It all started many years ago, in 1991, from a demand of some European students from Austria, Germany, France, etc. who used to come to Florence to study Italian - “la dolce lingua del sì.” Many of them were Musicians, and while staying here they constantly needed to practice their vocal skills and instruments.

It happened in this simple and a bit old fashioned way that the ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department began its story.

ISTITUTO EUROPEO’s reputation is now well known for its flexibility and its capability to adapt to new market changes. We hold tremendous interest in understanding markets that never cease to fluctuate around the world and constantly undermine any attempt to classify and categorize trends and changes.

Throughout the years we have also welcomed many students from American universities for the Study Abroad Program. We produced an International Singing Competition staging famous Operas. We held concerts in historical churches and palaces of Florence.

In the end, we were able to set up a perfect mechanism to teach singing. For this reason we believe that when you think of the ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department, you have to think of a perfect product. We have confidence in our program and can dare say that our method is one worth learning!

A method of Excellence

Today our Music Department, led by Director Monica Benvenuti, has become a win-win situation. We created a product of success for your success. Every time you leave the classroom after your tailor-made lesson, you can feel and measure the results and benefits you receive from this one-on-one attention.

ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department’s brand has now become synonymous with quality. When you buy our lessons, you buy quality. The ISTITUTO EUROPEO Music Department provides students with a method of Excellence.

Visit our website and contact us for information about our courses!