Magic can happen anywhere, even in the Amazon


An opera star goes down the Amazon on a magical quest.

Inspired by the writings of the great Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude), Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas is one of the most lyrical and melodious new operas of the past 30 years, embraced by critics and audiences everywhere it has played. This story of a Brazilian soprano’s emotionally fraught journey back to her homeland offers a brilliant display of magical realism—and pushes the operatic form to new limits of imagination. To portray a great artist, FGO has engaged a great artist—Ana María Martínez, acclaimed as one of the most beloved Butterflys in recent Metropolitan Opera history.

Florencia Ana María Martínez [Apr 28, May 1, 4, 5]
Sandra López [Apr 29]
Riolobo Steven LaBrie* [ALL]
Rosalba Cecilia Violetta López* [ALL]
Arcadio Andrew Bidlack [ALL]
Paula Mariya Kaganskaya [ALL]
Alvaro William Lee Bryan [ALL]
Capitán Rafael Porto [ALL]
Conductor Ramón Tebar
Director Jose Maria Condemi
Production Opera Colorado
Set Designer Phillip Lienau
Lighting Designer Kenneth Yunker
Costume Designer Elizabeth Poindexter*
Projection Designer Aaron Rhyne*
Chorus Master Katherine Kozak
* = FGO debut


The El Dorado, a steamboat sailing down the Amazon from Leticia, Colombia, to Manaus in the early 1900s

Act I

On the riverbank, Riolobo, a mystical character who can assume many forms, excitedly announces that the El Dorado is bound for the opera house in Manaus. There, the legendary opera diva Florencia Grimaldi, who has not set foot in her native South America for twenty years, will give a concert to reopen the theater. From among the crowds lining the riverbank and selling their local wares, we glimpse the ship’s passengers coming aboard: a young journalist, Rosalba, who is working on a biography of Florencia Grimaldi; Paula and Alvaro, a middle-aged couple journeying to hear Grimaldi in hopes of rekindling their marriage; and the diva herself, traveling incognito.

As the ship pulls away from the busy port, Florencia reflects on the emptiness of her life and her desire to rediscover herself and her long-lost lover, Cristóbal, a butterfly hunter in search of the rare Emerald Muse. Rosalba’s notebook is rescued from the river by the ship Capitán’s nephew, Arcadio, and they exchange confidences about their longings and desires. Alvaro and Paula attempt to dine on deck, but misunderstandings about the exotic menu lead only to bitter exchanges.

Florencia, awakened by the sounds of the jungle, learns from the Capitán that the butterfly hunter has disappeared into the jungle without a trace. Later, a tempestuous game of cards contrasts the growing affection between Rosalba and Arcadio and the escalating tension between Paula and Alvaro. A violent storm quickly develops, and the ship is carried helplessly in the rushing currents in a downpour of pink rain. Alvaro saves the boat from being crushed by tree trunks but is knocked overboard. With the Capitán unconscious, Riolobo appears in the guise of a river-spirit and implores the mercy of the gods of the river. Arcadio ably takes the helm but is unable to stop the forces of nature as the ship runs aground.

Act II

In the quiet after the storm, Florencia wonders whether she is alive or dead. Arcadio and Rosalba rejoice to find they have survived the storm, but, frightened by the intensity of their feelings for each other, vow not to fall in love and risk disillusionment. Paula laments the loss of Alvaro, recognizing that the wall between them was pride—not a lack of love. Riolobo once again calls upon the mystical and transformative powers of the Amazon. Suddenly Alvaro is returned to the boat, explaining that Paula’s voice called him back from the brink of death. On behalf of all the passengers, Florencia thanks him for saving their lives, and they resume their journey to Manaus.

Rosalba finds her ruined notebook, which contained all her notes for the biography of Florencia. Rosalba is distraught by the loss of two years’ work, but Florencia tells her she has lost nothing irreplaceable. The two women begin to argue about the source of Grimaldi’s talents, and when Florencia passionately declares that the diva’s gift sprang from her love for a man, Rosalba suddenly realizes the woman standing before her is the opera singer herself.

With both pairs of lovers reconciled to their need for each other, the ship is about to reach Manaus when it is discovered that no one may disembark because of a cholera epidemic. In despair at being unable to fulfill her search Florencia’s spirit drifts toward Cristóbal in a mystical reunion.

—Courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

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“1900: Looking Back, Looking Forward” has great success

Once again, the partnership between Maestro Michael Recchiuti at the piano and the astoundingly beautiful soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs brought a magnificent concert to the world. I say to the world because besides being performed at the National Opera Center of America in NYC, it was live streaming on Facebook and at the site

The choice of songs and arias was well balanced among Italian composers as Donaudy (of whom Ms. Blancke-Biggs also recorded a CD), Puccini and Pizzetti, followed by an interval, and German and Austrian composers, such as Schomberg, Mark, and Strauss.

The soprano proved yet again that her preparation, experience and angelic voice can light up a room while completely capturing the attention of the audience; I would say she keeps them mesmerized, simple as that. The pianist, evidently, contributed with his flawless performance.

We simply need more of this concerts that allow, through live streaming, the opportunity of being present through the internet to people who otherwise would be denied such an occasion.

The lucky ones who were physically present at the event had also the privilege to meet the two performers after the show and that is certainly a plus, being that they are amicable and a pleasure to have a conversation with.

My compliments go to the duo for their wonderful performance.

The concert may be viewed by clicking the picture below.

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International singing contest Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

All the finalists admitted to the Concert of May 13th 2018 will receive a Diploma of Honor.

Prizes awarded:

– First Prize: Euro 1500

– Second Prize: Euro 750

– Third Prize: Euro 350

Prize for the Best performance of a religious or sacred song: Euro 350

The following roles (compensated) in the opera Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi will be offered and assigned at the Contest

Rigoletto (baritone)

Gilda (soprano)

Duca di Mantova (tenore)

Sparafucile (basso)

Il Conte di Monterone (basso/baritone).

To download the complete rules of the contest, please click below:
















C.信件报名: 威尔第文化协会地址:via Monte Rosa nr. 58, 20010 Mesero (Mi)

★ 请优先选择网络报名,按照报名页面要求,直接填写报名表格即可。邮件及信件报名,需将报名资料发送至以上地址。





Associazione “Giuseppe Verdi” di Mesero c/o BancaProssima,filiale di Milano,

IBAN: IT52N0335901600100000139264, BIC: BCITITMX;















1) V.Bellini: “Oh quante volte..” da Capuleti e Montecchi

2) V.Bellini: “Casta Diva” da Norma

3) G.Bizet: “Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante” da Carmen

4) G.Donizetti: “Quel guardo il cavaliere… So anch’io la virtù magica” da Don Pasquale

5) P.Mascagni: “Voi lo sapete, o mamma” da Cavalleria Rusticana

6) W.A.Mozart: “E Susanna non vien…Dove sono i bei momenti” da Le nozze di Figaro

7) W.A.Mozart: “Giunse alfin il momento… Deh, vieni non tardar” da Le nozze di Figaro

8) W.A.Mozart: “Der Hölle Rache” da Die Zauberflöte

9) J.Offenbach: “Les oiseaux dans la charmille” da Les contes d’Hoffmann

10) G.Puccini: “Sì, mi chiamano Mimì” da La Bohème

11) G.Puccini: “Quando men vo” da La Bohème

12) G.Puccini: “Donde lieta uscì” da La Bohème

13) G.Puccini: “O mio babbino caro” da Gianni Schicchi

14) G.Puccini: “Un bel dì vedremo” da Madama Butterfly

15) G.Puccini: “Vissi d’arte” da Tosca

16) G.Verdi: “Ben io t’invenni… Anch’io dischiuso un giorno… Salgo già…” da Nabucco

17) G.Verdi: “Ave Maria” da Otello

18) G.Verdi: “Caro nome” da Rigoletto

19) G.Verdi: “Ah! Forse lui… Sempre libera degg’io” da La Traviata

20) G.Verdi: “Addio del passato” da La Traviata

21) G.Verdi: “Come d’aurato sogno…Tacea la notte placida…Di tale amor che dirsi” da Il Trovatore



1) G.Bizet: “Habanera” da Carmen

2) G.Bizet: “Seguidilla” da Carmen

3) F.Cilea: “Acerba voluttà” da Adriana Lecouvreur

4) G.Donizetti: “O mio Fernando… Scritto in cielo il mio furor…” da La Favorita

5) P.Mascagni: “Voi lo sapete, o mamma” da Cavalleria Rusticana

6) W.A.Mozart: “Smanie implacabili” da Così fan tutte

7) W.A.Mozart: “E’ amore un ladroncello” da Così fan tutte

8) W.A.Mozart: “Voi che sapete” da Le Nozze di Figaro

9) G.Rossini: “Una voce poco fa” da Il Barbiere di Siviglia

10) C.Saint-Saens: “Mon coeur” da Samson et Dalila

11) G.Verdi: “Oh, dischiuso è il firmamento” da Nabucco

12) G.Verdi: “Stride la vampa” da Il Trovatore

13) G.Verdi: “Condotta ell’era in ceppi” da Il Trovatore

14) G.Verdi: “O Don fatale” da Don Carlo



1) G.Bizet: “Air de fleur” da Carmen

2) G.Donizetti: “Una furtiva lagrima” da Elisir d’amore

3) G.Donizetti:“Povero Ernesto…Cercherò lontana terra…Se tu sei ben mio felice” da Don Pasquale

4) R.Leoncavallo: “Vesti la giubba” da I Pagliacci

5) G.Puccini: “Che gelida manina” da La Bohème

6) G.Puccini: “Recondita armonia” da Tosca

7) G.Puccini: “E lucean le stelle” da Tosca

8) G.Puccini: “Addio, fiorito asil” da Madama Butterfly

9) G.Puccini: “Nessun dorma” da Turandot

10) G.Rossini: “Ecco ridente in cielo” da Il Barbiere di Siviglia

11) G.Verdi: “Celeste Aida” da Aida

12) G.Verdi: “Ella mi fu rapita!… Parmi veder le lagrime” da Rigoletto

13) G.Verdi: “La donna è mobile” da Rigoletto

14) G.Verdi: “Lunge da lei… De’ miei bollenti spiriti” da Traviata

15) G.Verdi: “Ah! Si, ben mio” da Il Trovatore



1) V.Bellini: “Ah, per sempre io ti perdei” da I Puritani

2) G.Donizetti: “Come Paride vezzoso” da Elisir d’amore

3) W.A.Mozart: “Se vuol ballare” da Le Nozze di Figaro

4) W.A.Mozart: “Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso” da Le Nozze di Figaro

5) W.A.Mozart: “Hai già vinta la causa… Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro” da Le Nozze di Figaro

6) W.A.Mozart: “Tutto è disposto… Aprite un po’ quegli occhi” da Le Nozze di Figaro

7) W.A.Mozart: “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” da Don Giovanni

8) G.Rossini: “Largo al Factotum” da Il Barbiere di Siviglia

9) G.Verdi: “Pietà, rispetto, amore” da Macbeth

10) G.Verdi: “Dio di Giuda!” da Nabucco

11) G.Verdi: “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata” da Rigoletto

12) G.Verdi: “Di Provenza il mar, il suol” da La Traviata

13) G.Verdi: “Il balen del suo sorriso” da Il Trovatore

14) G.Verdi: “Per me giunto… Io morrò” da Don Carlo



1) V.Bellini: “Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni… Tu non sai…” da La Sonnambula

2) G.Donizetti: “Udite, o rustici” da Elisir d’amore

3) W.A.Mozart: “Se vuol ballare” da Le Nozze di Figaro

4) W.A.Mozart: “Non più andrai Farfallone amoroso” da Le Nozze di Figaro

5) W.A.Mozart: “Tutto è disposto… Aprite un po’ quegl’occhi” da Le Nozze di Figaro

6) W.A.Mozart: “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” da Don Giovanni

7) W.A.Mozart: “O Isis und Osiris” da Die Zauberfloete

8) G.Puccini: “Vecchia zimarra” da La Bohème

9) G.Rossini: “A un Dottor della mia sorte” da Il Barbiere di Siviglia

10) G.Rossini: “La calunnia” da Il Barbiere di Siviglia

11) G.Verdi: “Come dal ciel precipita” da Macbeth

12) G.Verdi: “Il lacerato spirito” da Simon Boccanegra

13) G.Verdi: “Ella giammai m’amò” da Don Carlo

14) G.Verdi: “Vieni, o Levita… Tu sul labbro dei veggenti” da Nabucco








  • 弄臣(Rigoletto男中音
  • 吉尔达(Gilda,弄臣之女,女高音
  • 曼托瓦公爵(Il Duca di Mantova男高音
  • 斯巴拉夫奇勒(Sparafucile,职业杀手,男低音
  • 玛达蕾娜(Maddalena,杀手之妹,女中音
  • 乔凡娜(Giovanna,吉尔达的媬姆,女中音)
  • 蒙特罗内伯爵(Il Conte di Monterone,男中音)
  • 西布兰诺伯爵(Il conte di Ceprano,男低音)
  • 西布兰诺伯爵夫人(La contessa di Ceprano,女中音)
  • 马歇奥·包尔沙(Matteo Borsa,公国朝臣,男高音)
  • 马鲁洛(Marullo,公国朝臣,男中音)
  • 鲁道夫(Rodolfo,男高音)
  • 咪咪(Mimi ,女高音)
  • 马尔切洛(Marcello 男中音)
  • 穆塞塔(Musetta 女高音)
  • 舒奥纳(Schaunard 男中音)
  • 柯林(Colline 男低音)
  • 班努瓦(Benoît 男低音)
  • 阿尔契多罗(Alcindoro 男低音)
  • 玩具 (|Parpignol男高音)
  • 海关官长(Sergente dei doganieri 男低音)


大赛评委将从决赛选手中选出四名,参加意大利萨鲁诺歌友会2018/2019 音乐节的演出,由威尔第文化协会赞助。













大赛秘书处Filippo Torre ,Maria Chiara Brandolini

电话338-3544352 3488109263

微信联系 :zhengnan1123



3.大赛指定钢琴伴奏 Damiano CeruttiSofia Park,秘书处将为选手提供免费的钢琴伴奏。如有参赛选手也可以自带钢琴伴奏,请事先沟通.


  • 大赛评委会主席

Mauro Bonfanti ——著名男中音,圣戛纳国际声乐比赛创始人,声乐教育家,威尔第文化协会主席。

  • 大赛艺术总监:

Nan Zheng Bonfanti ——威尔第文化协会副主席,意大利知名古典音乐经理人,普契尼音乐学院声乐教授。

  • 大赛评委会成员

Roberto Moretti 马其顿歌剧芭蕾舞剧院负责人。  

Giuseppe Oldani 意大利知名古典音乐经理人。 

Alberto Paloscia 著名音乐学家、歌剧导演,意大利里窝那歌剧院艺术总监。

Anna Maria Pizzoli 女高音,米兰威尔第音乐学院声乐系教授 

Aldo Ruggiano ——著名钢琴家、合唱团指挥。

Adelisa Tabiadon:女高音,皮亚琴察“尼科里尼音乐学院”、米兰阿巴多音乐学校声乐教授。



2.根据D. lgs. 2013630日,第196条的个人隐私保护条例,选手报名申请表中的信息将仅供威尔第文化协会宣传使用。根据上述立法法令,数据的所有者有权对其知悉、更新、修改,或者不同意使用。参赛者请知悉本次大赛中相关个人资料的使用权,且所有大赛宣传将不对参赛选手产生任何报酬。本条声明适用于比赛相关的所有环节。






一等奖: Elizaveta Martirosyan – 女高音(意大利)

二等奖:Liudmila Lokaichuk – 女高音(俄罗斯)

三等奖:Hun Kim – 男高音(韩国)

宗教歌曲奖:Anna kufta – 女高音(波兰)

荣誉奖:Eleonora Boaretto – 女高音(意大利)

Giuseppina Salemme – 女中音(意大利)



NO.1 中国女高音Huang Jingyao

NO.2 韩国女高音Eunkyoung Kim

NO.3 智利女高音Diaz Roxana


意大利女中音Ilaria Magrini

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1900: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD, A recital of Italian, Austrian and German vocal music


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From the Grammys to opera training: a NY conversation with Maestro Gabriele Ciampi


A golden period for the Roman composer Gabriele Ciampi, appreciated by the great men of the Earth: he played for the Obamas in the White House, at the invitation of the former First Lady, he met Pope Francis and was the only one to represent Italy as a judge of the prestigious 2018 Grammy Awards. One of the most important awards of the USA, a recognition that every year crowns the protagonists of the music sector, is generally considered as the “Oscar of Music”. The ceremony took place on January 28, 2018 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Maestro Gabriele Ciampi met us in New York in the hall of his hotel the day after the Grammy Award. We report (late, for technical reasons) part of the long conversation between our editorial director and the congenial Roman composer.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena and Gabriele Ciampi

OperaMyLove: Good evening, Maestro. (I smile) Excuse me but I was not prepared to meet a composer. I thought you were an orchestra conductor, but by researching your name I discovered so much more. So, you conduct orchestras, but you are a composer…?
Ciampi: I am a contemporary composer (Smiling in turn). I have an orchestra of 40 elements plus guitars and percussion that give a little more modern touch; to be clear, something cinematic, obviously with a classical basis, because I come from the conservatory, so the classical basis is there. I have also collaborated with symphony orchestras … And lately I have also been invited by the Recording Academy to be one of the judges; besides that, I’m also a member of the Recording Academy, so as a member I can submit my music in the future when I have some other album, and I can vote.

OperaMyLove: Since you were one of the Grammy Award judges, could you tell us how the award assignment works?
Ciampi: First of all, I consider the Grammy a competition for emerging artists because it is not tied to the sales, discography or popularity of the artist, but it is linked to the quality of the music; so you can have an unknown artist who is competing with Bruno Mars, who won almost everything. This is because the Recording Academy receives twenty thousand titles every year. There are 350 experts at the Recording Academy who make a first screening. They identify ten songs for each category, and then send them to the voting members of the Recording Academy, who are musicians, composers, authors, who choose among these songs the nominations. The first vote is cast, the one called the first round ballot. Having done this, the Recording Academy chooses a sort of artistic commission of about a hundred people from various parts of the world, all belonging to music; there are no journalists or record labels executives, but pianists, authors, composers, etc., and we are asked to do a selection and vote for the songs that have received the nominations. After that, the result of these votes is known only on the evening of the Awards; a three-step process, then. When you see the results on television, you should not think that the judges decided only a few hours before, because the votes had already been delivered a week before.

OperaMyLove: Is it difficult for a classicist, that is, someone who works, composes and lives in the world of classical music, judging pop music or RAP?
Ciampi: Well, let’s start from the fact that classical music is the popular music of a hundred years ago, so when we assigned this concept of musicality, it was not like we think it today; I do not see big differences between pop music and classical music. That said, my opinion is technical on the score, so I get the sheet with the score, I look at what is written … in the case of Bruno Mars, for example, I have examined the song 24K: it’s a song that was written on the piano, so it has interesting harmonies; what I judge is actually the harmonic part of the song, I do not care about the arrangement. Here we return to the pop concept in contrast to the classic: there can be innovation in a pop piece while there may be boredom in a classic piece, it always depends on what one writes. So, the music is all on the same level…

OperaMyLove: How come there are no Italian names in the list of nominees at the Grammy?
Ciampi: That is an old quandary. First, the language. The Italian language is not considered a musical language, so, unfortunately, Italian is being considered a language only suitable for the classics, the opera… It’s a mistake… but, surely English is a much more musical language. If you have to write a song, English flows more easily and makes the composition work easier. Of course, when I had to write a work for the composition exams, in the conservatory, the Italian text was perfect, but if I have to write an opera, using an English text would make my work easier, because English has words that are short and the sound follows a lot; Italian, a bit for the accents, for the length of words, the syllables, is very technical, so I agree with them that Italian music is difficult to understand.While a beautiful English melody appeals to everyone, a melody in Italian, even if written with passion, is difficult; it will never have the same impact. This is the first problem. The second is that, as long as Italian music does not return to being original, it will not be able to compete with the Grammys because it has lost its identity, because there is a tendency a little to trace American success, so if, for example, a pop tune, based on the American experience, comes out in the market, Italians sing it and think it’s Italian music, but it’s not, actually. This is how the last Italian albums all seem to be…So, when you follow a trend, but you are not trendy, why should the Recording Academy choose an Italian song? Paradoxically, if there was a Modugno song, it would be there, because the Italian tradition comes from there. After the 60s and 70s, it all ended. Today, on the Italian recording market there are almost only artists that follow the American one, so it’s not original music.

OperaMyLove: Do you think that returning to professional and not popular judges would improve the quality of the choices at the Sanremo Festival?
Ciampi: I think we will have an important revolution with Baglioni, because it took away the elimination, gave more importance to the authors, so big news … If you could change the jury system slightly, certainly there would be an increase in quality … the popular vote is a bit of a feature of Sanremo, it is important, but at the same time the popular vote is influenced by the presence of an artist on television, so it would take a change in the quality judges, that they should weigh a little more in the Sanremo Festival. So the popular vote is welcome, but the quality vote should be worth 40% instead of 20% to have a balance between the quality vote and the popular vote. The moment you have this, everything improves. So, in the quality judges it would be nice to see only musicians, because the journalist, the movie director, do not have the technical competence to judge. Then the popular vote and the quality vote together would give other fruits. We are already, however, in a phase of change

OperaMyLove: Now you will have to continue your international tour with the Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra. Will they only play songs composed by you or is it a more complex repertoire?
Ciampi: I am a composer who directs his own music, so all my concerts are my original music. As much as I did classical studies, orchestra direction, that it’s not my job. Who does that, makes classical music. My activity is not that of a conductor, but of a composer.

OperaMyLove: What was the difference in emotions that you felt in the meetings with Pope Francis and the Obamas?
Ciampi: The meeting with Obama is also important for the manner it arrived… So, I wrote to the First Lady, who wrote back me after three months, inviting me to the White House. She wanted an Italian composer … to see them in person … when I could get in … (gives a long sigh) The White House, as a building, is not so big, we have the Quirinale that is a vast palace… The White House gives the idea, however, everything is clean, extremely accurate in details, in short, exciting already from the outside. For the Pope it was different, from the human point of view; (stops a moment, emits a slow and controlled sigh, almost relives those moments, and then resumes talking) the hug with the Pope, the fact that he told me to go on, I was struck, because you have it in front of you, you feel the strength of this man, and then, regardless of the Catholic faith or not, you feel the personality of the man, you cannot but feel it … Two different emotions, in short; e.g. regarding the experience of the pope, I am happy also because it came from Italy.


OperaMyLove: If you could hypothetically meet one of the great music of the past, who would he be? Why?
Ciampi: I have a passion for Rachmaninov because I analyzed his scores, which are to date, in the harmonic passages, which can be good for an opera, a ballet, rather than for a piece … well, in short, harmony by Rachmaninov is very modern, yet it was written almost a hundred years ago. I consider him the best contemporary author. And then he was a great pianist; nobody talks about it, but there are records that speak for him. He was a great pianist but wanted to be recognized as a composer, because that was what he wanted to do most of all and he did it beautifully. I would really like to meet him.
Today, in Italy, and we do not talk about who comes to America, there are those who are pianists, then become composers, direct the orchestra, and write books. One thing you can do and do well, then one chooses; I also did various things, I played piano and directed the orchestra, but then as a message I am a composer, I respect who is a conductor … Today there is it’s a bit of a quest to do everything and then you do not do nothing … Of the composers of the past, Chopin himself was an exceptional pianist but no one mentions that, because he was first and foremost a composer. You must not lose your identity. And that is one of the reasons why Italian music was not present at Madison Square Garden.

OperaMyLove: How much has your career choice been influenced by having worked in the family business of selling pianos?
Ciampi: Let’s say that the weight was remarkable, because it is a company started by my grandfather, in 1945; over 70 years of history… But when you live music from a commercial point of view it’s different. It’s a business, there’s no room for creativity. In any case it was an exceptional 10, beautiful years, I approached the piano, the composition, but I lacked the creative aspect, because when you work it is a trade, but I must say that without the experience of the family work, maybe I would have never done what I am doing, because I breathed the air of the piano every day, since I was six, then the passion for the composition has become almost a natural growth because I was fascinated by the instrument. I have also worked in the factory, I know all the aspects of how a piano is born…

OperaMyLove: So, Ciampi also produces pianos?
Ciampi: We distribute them and also produce them, in the Czech Republic. Consequently, I also followed from the single screw that was used, and I realized that the piano is a set of details and it’s like my style, very minimal; in my compositions I try to minimize the harmonic and melodic fabric, because it is easy to write music with many notes, the difficulty lies in removing them as much as possible until the essential backbone remains. The piano is the same, you start with many ornaments, but then you have to remove them, you have to open it to clean it. So, there is a nice analogy between a well written composition, which one may not even like, but that is well written, and the opened piano. As you can put one note too much in a composition, it is like putting too much ornament in the piano, which loses that elegance. So I was fascinated by the production; here, my music, I produce it because the creative process fascinates me, ever since you write a melody, since you develop it, and it can take weeks, because I still use paper and pencil.

OperaMyLove: When you complete a composition, are you then tempted to come back to it and correct it several times, as some writers do with their books?
Ciampi: Let’s say that the moment you put the period, the piece, the work is finished. Then if you come back on it… Of course, I sometimes tell myself, “I could”… but that reasoning is wrong, because when the composition is written, I try to transfer the emotions of the moment, the way I speak is through music, so I have a particular state of mind at the moment. What can I say? An anger, an anguish, an uneasiness, I express it. If I see the piece again with a different mood, it will no longer be a speech of creativity, but only a commercial discourse. In short, when you put the period, you decide.

OperaMyLove: As a matter of fact, I, as a poet, try never to rewrite my poems after some time has passed to avoid losing that feeling that I felt and that was unique, unrepeatable, and that I described in the poem itself. Changing the words would mean changing the feeling that one has felt…
Ciampi: Indeed, in the work, when one hears it, technically it could say: “You know, here, I do not understand why the flute does not play…” But if it was written like this… if you go to analyze Verdi, why it was written, then you also understand the context in which he lived, because it is also important to understand what is behind the opera, not just the opera itself. That’s why in the end, when we go to hear the opera we say “good director”, but that is his personal interpretation. It would be interesting to ask the composer: “But did you want it that way?” Because in the end we always forget who wrote it. Chopin, Verdi, both said that in their musical works there were errors, and I confirm it too, because listening to my songs, I say to myself, “But in that passage I could have done that.” But I leave it as it is, because the piece is part of me, for the good and the bad; if you continue to retouch it, will never end. And then, every instrument has its voice and its emotion, so if I insert a clarinet I do it because I need to express a feeling of sadness, of melancholy. Returning back after a year and listening to the piece I wonder if I could have not used the flute for the same song. Of course, I could have done it, but I did not want it that way at the time, so by changing the instrument you would lose the true emotion that I had tried to transfer.

OperaMyLove: And speaking of the operatic representations made at different times than those prescribed by the libretto, what do you think? I personally hate them.
Ciampi: I am deeply opposed to certain things that they do in America, regarding opera. These modernizations of scenes that bring the opera to other historical periods show a lack of respect for the composer, for our Italian tradition, and someone should write about it. This kind of interpretative extremism in Italy is not much appreciated, not even in Europe, in the end only America is left, because they are a little alternative in their productions.

OperaMyLove: What suggestions do you have for young people who are trying to break into the world of music? This question is asked me many times by readers of the magazine OperaMyLove and I, as a journalist, do not know what to answer…
Ciampi: Mah! There is only one word in my opinion; I do not believe in luck, because even if they say “You were lucky with the White House” I answer: “It also takes the courage to follow it for six months; it’s not just luck…” That said, the study is needed. If there is talent, it comes out. It’s not true as people say: “You know, in Italy there are no possibilities…” It’s more difficult, I took years myself to do something in Italy, but if you have something to say, the space is given to you, eventually. The problem is that many want success just like that; they go on TV, there’s talent show, I’m an artist… It takes years.

OperaMyLove: Well, there is also the problem that “reality shows” make people who have no talent whatsoever, but who have only the nerve to appear in public, famous…  
Ciampi: Very true. The reality show should be a consequence of fame. One should already have a certain reputation and therefore become more popular. They create popularity before the character. Let’s create the artist first. If you want to run, first you have to walk and not vice versa. They build sand castles. Yes, sacrifice is necessary, but it can be facilitated by study.

OperaMyLove: For those who study opera, in Italy, it seems that there are not many hopes…
Ciampi: Certainly the Italian opera, our school, is the best in the world, but it is not the only one. One should compare… The luck that I had, if we want to talk about luck, is that I could study at the conservatory in Rome and compare with the American school. When I arrived here they told me: “What you did in Italy does not interest us. Show us what you can do.” One who studies opera in Italy already thinks he has arrived. So, it takes a little more humility. That is, everything you do in Italy, in America matters little. You have to prove it. Thus, show that you are a good singer, a good pianist, and sooner or later you get there.

OperaMyLove: Yes, but how can a young soprano, for example, get noticed?
Ciampi: Today, thank God, there is a very important medium that was not there ten years ago, or at least it did not have the same influence: the Internet. So, even if I have no money to come to New York, to come to America, I put a video on YouTube and see it all over the world. We are always there. It is the most democratic instrument that exists today. I am generally opposed to technology and I still write music with paper and pencil, and not with the computer, but I say that it is the most democratic instrument. If you are good, a song on Spotify goes to the top of the chart alone. You do not need the record company that pays; you do not need money to break through. But if nothing happens, well, perhaps that voice is not so captivating; here, I would put some doubt. If I go online to get visibility, I have no followers, maybe there is something in my music that does not work; it is not the others who do not understand, maybe I am the problem.
Therefore, to answer the question, the young Italian who wants to break through must use the Social Network when he has no economic possibilities to finance his experience abroad; the Social is the fastest way to reach the goal. In short, if one has the talent you can see it and eventually they call you.
I recommend this: if you are a singer, make a nice piano and voice piece; there is no need to be opera, far from it. At the Grammy, Lady Gaga sang a piano and voice piece and gave everyone goosebumps. A person who has fifteen million listeners at the Grammy by playing with piano and voice has tenacity… that’s talent.
So, my dear young singer, make a three-minute video, piano and voice. It’s free. Put it on You Tube and see what happens. This is the answer I would give.
Let’s leave the orchestra out of it; I want to hear the voice. If they go to look and ask “Don’t you have a website?” You have to be ready…. How many artists do not have the web site and then wonder why no one knows them. These are things that cost zero, so they are to be done.

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“In Opera, We Like To Breathe…”. How A Great Master Class Can Change The Views On Opera…

By Tiziano Thomas Dossena

From my perspective, having neither reputable vocal capability and experience nor any sizable knowledge of music other than a deep appreciation of opera, attending an Opera Master Class would have been an unthinkable and irrational action until recently. Thanks to Maestro Michael Recchiuti, this experience turned out to be fulfilling, rewarding, interesting and definitely educational. Can I sing any better? Can pelicans sound like songbirds? No to both, I guess, but since that was not the goal of my attendance, it’s irrelevant. What can be said is that I understand a lot more the process of singing on stage and what it takes to make a good voice a great one.  That alone would be sufficient, but I learned a lot more just by observing and listening to the various students’ performances and their revised ones after Maestro Recchiuti and renowned soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs had pointed out the possible corrections, be it change of posture, movements, vocal extension or suitable loudness required for that particular aria.

It was a gentle process most of the time, although Recchiuti could at time lecture so as to get the most out of the experience for these already well-trained singers. He wanted them to get the essence of the criticism, so that it would be constructive and bring to a proper change. Sometimes these changes were subtle and probably undetected by most listeners but for the veterans of the stage; however, most of the time these changes were dramatic and easily captured by everyone present, a classic ‘magic wand’ situation. That an apparently simple suggestion could bring such modifications was an utter surprise to me until I realized that these were not simple suggestions but instead ‘tricks of the trade’ that could only have been learned through extensive studies and performing experiences.  The magic wand was therefore a real magic one because the teachers certainly had plenty of both and their coaching methods demonstrated it.

The Master Class I attended was at the National Opera Center of America in New York City, on January 12, 2018.

The attendants were all women and came from various American cities: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The cordiality that was displayed among the participants was also possible because of the openness that Maestro Recchiuti demonstrated throughout the Class; his tendency to place a bit of humor at the times when the criticism could have been the harshest certainly made the process easier (“In opera, we like to breathe…”) and the singers seemed extremely pleased with the outcome of the evening.

Maestro Michael Recchiuti and soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs listening to a performance

At the piano, Eric Malson was a prodigy that allowed for a smooth process to everyone, teachers included.

The students learned how to improve their stance and pronunciation as well as to balance their vocal usage so as to obtain the most with their voice for a particular aria but also for their approach in general. Uses of sensuality in their body posture as well as in the articulation of the recitative were taught in order to allow the singers the creation of the proper environment on stage. Timing, tempos, intensity of movements, and why not? breathing patterns, were taught in an impressive manner, more so considering the time constrains of the evening class.

A wonderful educational experience, attending a Master Class of this type, with a compressed albeit detailed approach, is something that I suggest to live through ─ although, maybe, the correct term should be savor─ to anyone who loves opera.

The Opera Master Class by Maestro Michael Recchiuti and soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs may be viewed in its totality by clicking the image that follows: 


Grace Kim

Elisabeth Papageogiu

Patrice Easton

Melanie Davis

Kirsten Norwark

Rachel Pike

Margaret O’Connell


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