This entire summer proved to be a revelation.
Not always in the best terms, but for spirit, and guts and desire. These young people who worked so hard and endured one of the hottest summers on record in Italy with really no fans, or AC, showed themselves hungry to learn, eager to be better. Various levels of career…. but no one without that little nugget of gold. Everyone of them stepped up their game, and improved and entertained and made a great effect on themselves and those that were moved by them.
This is a little video I will expand on later…. it details the birth of the Academy, and the stories of just a handful of the incredible young voices we heard. It reveals the honor we enjoyed with the presence of a true bel canto legend and champion of wit and candor and wisdom….
Giovanni Eric Pasotto is a real find….here is a man who should be running an agency, as he has the vision, and the smarts to manage such detailed and dreamlike situations …. He had approached his dear friend, Mary-Lou with the idea to come with this inaugural program to the Centro Studi Italiani in Urbania, Italy.
The concept of doing one of these summer programs, which I always dreaded and avoided, was something unusual for me.
But when I took a look at the times we are in, how they keep saying opera doesn’t attract the young, or it is dying.
Well, I don’t think you need go further with that. There are thousands of young and not so young folks that want to make a difference in opera.
Where will they get the training? How do you feel safe to make mistakes and grow, and strive to be better….
Does anyone remind you of the levels that came before you? The singers that excelled, so you even KNOW their names, much less learn from their incredible journeys in music. Does anyone make you feel a part of the vast tradition and beauty and exalted thought that is opera? That they are whole styles missing today and treatments to the music that are glaringly NOT THERE. It does’t sound in my discussions with younger artists that they get much exposure to the singers who came before them, much less the composers. They don’t dress, they treat things causal like they have other day jobs. This is not to say everyone is this way, but where is the elegance, the good taste, the dignity. People sing everything the same, Puccini like Mozart, Verdi like Verismo, and bel canto? With very few exceptions we do not have it on display today.
So, count me in… more than I did before, I will help with all that I know and have. I join all those who are trying to stem the tide of indifference. We will all have to fight hard, audience and performer and it can of course be successful..every voyage starts with the first step….
So to avoid the usual program, I had the great good blessing of knowing a deeply amazing young man who came to opera and fell madly in love with it…. Mr. Luigi Caiola. I will never know how to thank him enough, for without him none of this could have been done, and done in the way I wanted it to be….
In short, to be a place where we start chipping away at the marble, to find the vocal Davids out there.
To put them in history, while. they are making their own.
To GIVE as well as take….
Take the abundance of three weeks in the most gorgeous, breathtaking country in the world… full of history and important milestone history
in opera and classical music that is being picked to pieces in front of our very eyes…..
The arts are under siege….
But also, GIVE…. in large donations for the three beautiful centers of music and history we chose….
Casa di Riposo per Musicisti… of Verdi in Milano, Villa Puccini at Torre del Lago with Simonetta Puccini’s efforts to restore the Villa to full glory, and the hauntingly beautiful, Museo Tebaldi in Busseto.
You cannot believe how much it feels like Renata Tebaldi will walk in at any minute, how very beautifully they have done this tribute to her. Giovanna Colombo, with Marisa Pak, and with Renata’s great protector and a true part of her heart, Tina Vigano’ lovingly putting every piece in order and working tirelessly to keep this glorious voice and woman before the public and part of musical talk. She is very much there and I cried and cried at all the memories I could touch and feel and see again…. much more to come in the follow ups, but just these few thoughts….
To Carlo Menconi and the Amici della Lirica, Circolo Carrarese, for his incredible genius in helping to arrange two special concerts to help us raise funds to give to the three mighty centers of music we wanted to honor..He is also a Knight in shining armor of a man, and I adore and cherish his friendship always…..
And of course, my thanks, to Richard Bonynge for being a comrade in arms this summer and fighting the good battle for something he loves dearly. Music and the magic of the human voice.
Mary-Lou Vetere, you are an amazing woman, or many accomplishments, one after the other done to excellence. Your finest gift is your voice, and I am so thrilled to see you advance so beautifully and soon share with the world this special artistry….. and thank you for bringing this beautiful dream to me…. and for the fire that burns within you for the arts, it can truly light and warm the world……Brava….
So, let’s start that army…. of soldiers for the Arts…. respect, reverence for the music and the words…. Let’s go Olivia Pope on everyone and combine artists who will be gladiators for the arts, that will not back down, that are disciplined and ever vigilant to be of service to music and to keep this beautiful combination of emotion, and music and theater, and text and dance….EVERYTHING…..keep it alive….
More lovely things to announce shortly…. but take a moment and share with us the maiden voyage…. ups and downs, and joys and sorrows, and so much to look forward to.
Next year ? Oh you have no idea how fun this is going to be……