Veneto Opera Summer School: alumni insights from Emma and Tom
We talk to Emma Dogliani, soprano and Tom Niesser, baritone, who attended the advanced and professional level week of last year’s Veneto Opera Summer School.
What’s your favourite memory from the summer school?
Emma: I have two favourite memories: the day that Matteo delivered fantastic and totally liberating news about vowel modification and the amazing hot day when we ate a delicious lunch and went wine tasting in the Prosecco vineyards.
Tom: It’s really difficult to pick a favourite memory as there were so many, but performing for a knowledgeable Italian audience in their native language and in such a wonderful setting was a very special experience. You really felt that the music of Donizetti and Puccini made even more sense.
How has attending the course helped you in your singing career?
Emma: The course has further developed my singing of Italian opera and songs and solidified my whole technique just in time for my first Verdi role of Luisa Miller, which I returned to Matteo for help with. I have also sung Donna Anna again in Italian since taking the course, and have used everything I learned last summer, over and over again. I have also incorporated much into my own teaching.
Tom: I am very lucky that I will be starting a Master’s course in Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in September. I performed a couple of the pieces I had worked on with Matteo in my audition and also felt that I was able to apply his rules to other Italian pieces. The panel was very impressed with my sung Italian!
What advice would you give others who are considering applying for the summer school?
Emma: I would advise anyone who has the opportunity to take this course. Matteo is a fantastic teacher. He is always clear, always helpful, a perfect balance of encouraging as well as demanding, and absolutely committed to the spreading of excellent Italian singing. His method encourages everyone to sing not only with more clarity of diction but with better, more engaged vocal technique. Matteo and Jamila are also wonderful hosts. They know the area inside out and go out of their way to look after you. Even when I created a big problem by leaving my phone in a bar, they were immediately on the phone and sorting it all out!
Tom: I would tell anybody who is thinking about taking the course to embrace it – I was sceptical at first, as I hadn’t heard of the Melofonetica Method before, but the whole group could feel an improvement having spent the week listening and working closely with Matteo and the other coaches. It would be wrong not to also mention just how good the food and atmosphere was for the whole week, and every aspect was well thought out and properly planned (and that coming from a German!).
What are your current singing projects and what’s on the horizon?
Emma: I have lots of concerts with my chamber music trio coming up as well as oratorio next year and a production of Die Fledermaus. Even when I sing in languages other than Italian, Matteo’s approach to consonants has been so useful. I am an absolute fan and am almost tempted to retake the course! 🙂
Tom: Aside from starting my Master’s course at the Guildhall School in September, I will be playing the role of Littore with the Berlin Opera Academy in August, as well as performing regularly in concerts across North Wales.