Last spring, Christina approached me and said, “let’s take an epic trip to Italy this summer.” I thought about it and responded, “Let’s take an epic trip to Italy, sing opera, and attend a program that will help further our careers.” So, we started researching the many opportunities for aspiring opera singers to choose from on YAP tracker, a well-known listing service for opera and classical music auditions. After reading through each listing located in Italy and trying to pinpoint what was financially attainable, we found a program we were interested in, but were not prepared for the response we received from the director. When I asked if there were scenes or full operas being performed in the program, I was shocked that the response focused more on the current state of opera.
Here is an excerpt:
[The program is] actually a mixture of opera and American musical theatre. In your studies, you might have noticed that American music is more popular in Italy than Italian opera. Unfortunately, only about five percent of Italians continue to listen to opera…a similar statistic to the U.S. This program is built to equip singers for this new opening market by featuring “legit” musical theatre numbers and continued training in Italian music.
Now, we have absolutely nothing against musical theater or “American music” as stated because honestly we both started from that background. But our intent was to go to Italy to perform Italian opera, and practice the language in a place closely related to the art form’s origins, not to prepare for a “new opening market,” and work with someone who doesn’t fully believe that opera can stand on its own. I find myself having to continually defend opera to myself, others, and jarringly now to this director. Has everyone given up on opera? (more…)