For me, the word is joy. Just, true, true joy to be here from beginning to end… In all of the times that I can think of where I have worked with singers, this is at the top. This was very special.
I find that in a lot of young artist programs you work with different faculty and you are thrown a lot of different information. Here, the faculty communicated with each other and everyone was on the same page... There was an idea of how you all saw me and it was very cohesive.
I appreciated the time and energy and patience that all of you (the faculty) showed. You all took a chance and gave everything to see what we have to offer, to make sure that we understood the new concepts. An amazing colleague will realize that we are all figuring out the ropes and are patient with each other.
I think this place is so special. There is so much inspiration, and the amount of attention that you give each of us is extraordinary. I always say that last summer here is where I found joy in performing, in singing, and in starting to trust myself, and I really think that it is a result of the environment that you create. As artists we lose a sense of passion, of why we do it. Much of our training is technique-based, which is so important, but [this program] makes you realize why you want to dedicate your life to it: this art form is about the music and the history and the language and your relationship with people.
I feel we have all grown with our interpretation of French music, French style, and French cadence, and I am astounded by how quickly that can happen. We joke around about how amazing the food is [at the program], but to be a part of a culture, to understand how it operates, in turn shapes how you interpret the music. When you sit down to study a piece of French music, you’ll think about your experience here.
“I get here and am asked to make music the way I always knew it should be made. I learned more from my lessons with Ubaldo, who only speaks Italian, than I did in four years at University. These three weeks have truly been out of a dream. This has been the greatest summer of my life.”
Coming to Italy is a very precious opportunity for us. There are many wonderful teachers explaining the concepts of language and singing. This helps us to improve quickly. You can see the changes right away. These changes are essential in order to really advance, and this gives us a competitive advantage.
This program is incredible because it is based on language. Over the course of the program, what I observed was a transformation. By the end of the program, the singers are singing from their souls. Then the connection is made that the arias are expressing something fundamental about what it means to be alive.
My experience with CLA Italy was “exactly” what I needed — musically, culturally, emotionally. I hadn’t felt such artistic freedom in a long time, nor had I known just how melodic the Italian language truly is. I thank Glenn and Ubaldo for providing young singers with a program that leaves you with a taste for what the Italians mean by “bel canto”.