The Opera Viva! collaborative piano curriculum is a flexible course for young pianists who wish to expand their knowledge of the Italian operatic repertoire and gain experience as accompanists and vocal coaches. In addition to all of the group classes and activities they will attend with the Young Artist voice students, they will have individual lessons with Joyce Fieldsend – a vocal coach who has had over 40 years of experience at the highest professional level in opera houses such as San Francisco Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the San Carlo in Naples, La Fenice in Venice, the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, and the Bastille in Paris.
These lessons will include learning how to adapt the vocal score (orchestral reduction) and play orchestrally; how to approach continuo playing with particular reference to recitative and discussion and practical demonstration of coaching techniques during sessions with the vocal students. There will be particular emphasis on how to correctly pronounce and sing Italian. A hallmark of Ms Fieldsend’s pedagogical philosophy has been improving vocal technique through the correct use of language.
The young pianists will also explore the ideal repertoire for young voices, ensemble techniques and performance practice. The students will accompany the voice students’ rehearsals and the final presentation of their prepared operatic scenes. They will observe and participate in as many coaching lessons as they wish and will take part in the public performances of the sacred and operatic concerts.
Three weeks is a short period of time for such a complex and demanding subject but we will touch on as many aspects of it as possible and have a lot of fun.