Veneto Opera Summer School: alumni insights from April and Susanna
We talk to sopranos April Goss and Susanna Heard, who attended last year’s Veneto Opera Summer School.
What are your favourite memories from the summer school?
April: There were so many memorable and glorious moments but I think my favourite has to be the concert at the end of the week. The experience of singing for an Italian audience was so incredible, and a fantastic way of putting into practice the skills we had gained throughout the week.
Susanna: I loved every minute of it – from the masterclasses and concerts, to discovering Bassano del Grappa’s rich history. The course felt like a holiday too!
How has attending the course helped you in your singing career?
April: The masterclasses helped so much in terms of how to approach new Italian repertoire. The coaching really helped make my Italian clear and crisp, which has allowed me to focus on the interpretation and characterisation of my Italian roles.
Susanna: It has really helped me with my sung Italian and also helped me secure a place in the chorus for Verdi’s Falstaff, performing with Sir Bryn Terfel and the European Opera Centre last year.
What advice would you give others who are considering applying for the summer school?
April: This course is an amazing opportunity for all levels of singers, it was one of the most enlightening Italian courses I’ve been on. All the staff were so helpful and encouraging which made for a very comfortable and friendly learning environment. The break mid-week to visit the Prosecco Valley and the surrounding areas was also a great way to bond with everyone as well as enjoy and appreciate the local culture.
To get the most out of the experience, I would advise singers to prepare fully, for example, learning pieces off copy, getting translations of repertoire and fully understanding the plot of the opera that each piece is from. This will help singers give a well-rounded performance at the end of the week.
Susanna: If you’re looking to improve your sung Italian and have a holiday in Veneto, this is the course for you!
What are your current singing projects and what’s on the horizon?
April: I’ve just graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in London with a Bachelor of Music degree and in September I’ll be starting my postgraduate studies at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Susanna: I’m looking forward to attending the Studio Program with the Berlin Opera Academy this August.