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OPERA21

August 2013

musi c educat i on and opera


Opera21

              Collaborative,  submission  based  magazine   for  the  21st  Century  Opera  Enthusiast  

magazine Editor   in   chief  Jennifer  Choi   www.operaswag.wordpress.com   Editor  Kim  Feltkamp   www.kimberlyfeltkamp.com   Contact  Opera21   www.opera21.tumblr.com   Email:  opera21mag@gmail.com  

Announcement The  theme  for  the  upcoming     issue  is  21st  century  operas.     Guidelines  for  submissions     can  be  found  on  our  website.  

Cover credit   Thanks  to  Diane  Bates   (sudsyoperacat)   Portrait  based  on  photo     by  Andrew  Eccles,  Decca.  

All rights  reserved.    Reproduction  in  whole  or  part  is  prohibited  without  written  permission.   The  opinions  expressed  in  Opera21  do  not  necessarily  reflect  those  of  the  editor  or  publisher.  


O21  Table  of  Contents      

Volume 1        No.  8      

 

3 Letter  from  the  Editor   Jennifer  Choi    

 

5 Non-­music  Education   Ilana  Walder-­‐Biesanz    

7 The  Diva  who  Walks  the  Walk:   An  Interview  with  Renée  Fleming   Jennifer  Choi        

10 My  Life  as  a  Cog   Griffin  Candey        

11 Reasons  Why  I'm  Teaching  Music     and  not  Math     Kaela  Talley        

13 The  True  Face  of  Music  in  Brazil   Isabela  Zogaib  

15 Music  Education  in   France   Lucie  Knecht-­‐Deyber         16   Review:  Do  great   Voices  Sing     John  Denver?   Kevin  Ng         17   Come  Scoglio*   Parts  10  &  11   Kimberly  Feltkamp       *Featured  Novella,  in   parts  

26 Opera  Companies:   Outreach  Programs  in   America   Valerie  Demma   Jane  Hoffman   Naomi  Sankaran


Letter From the Editor I was  fortunate  enough  to  grow  up  in  a  district  with  one  of  the  strongest  arts  programs  in  the  entire   state.    My  high  school  band  teacher  is  on  the  short-­‐list  for  the  first  ever  Grammy  Category  for  best   music  teacher.    We  used  to  ask  him  why  he  never  accepted  a  guest  conducting  position  for  the  local   region  band,  which  was  comprised  of  students  who  were  admitted  via  blind  auditions,  and  he  would   joke  and  say,  “I’ll  conduct  the  region  band  when  the  entire  region  Wind  Ensemble  is  made  up  of  my   students.”    After  a  while,  this  went  from  being  a  joke  to  near  reality.    My  younger  brother,  who   recently  graduated  from  the  program,  told  me  that  so  many  of  his  classmates  had  been  accepted  into   the  program  that  rehearsal  at  region  band  felt  like  regular  wind  ensemble  class  at  school.       However,  as  the  economy  suffers  and  budget  cuts  have  become  a  normal  part  of  our  conversation,  I   see  many  programs  across  the  state  struggle  to  provide  the  same,  high  quality  education  with  a  smaller   amount  of  money.    Our  program  has  braved  the  cuts  fairly  well;  because  of  the  sheer  size  of  the   program  and  the  dedication  of  the  band  parents,  it  has  been  able  to  sustain  itself  through  fundraising   events.    Other  districts  do  not  have  this  kind  of  luxury.       I  recently  sat  down  with  Morna  McDermott  McNulty,  a  professor  of  education  at  Towson  University.     She  does  a  lot  of  work  with  arts  integration  in  schools,  and  we  had  a  great  conversation  about  the   importance  of  arts  integration  and  the  current  policy  trends  in  education  that  are  affecting  the  arts.       She  says  that  enough  studies  have  been  conducted  to  prove  the  benefits  of  arts  education.    “There  are   scads  and  scads  of  research  that  say  that  music  education  improves  tests  scores  in  math,  that  it   improves  reading  ability,  that  having  PE  right  before  reading  lessons  improves  reading.    There  is  so   much  research  out  there,  and  it’s  been  around  for  30  years.    None  of  this  is  new  […]  We  don’t  need   more  research.      The  proof  is  so  undeniable!    Yet  when  we  talk  about  improving  schools  around  the   country,  arts  is  the  first  thing  we  cut.”     I  genuinely  believe  that  arts  education  is  crucial  for  our  democracy  and  for  the  well-­‐being  and  progress   of  society.    In  a  recent  blog  post,  I  talked  about  how  art  is  just  as  important  as  other  disciplines,   including  the  sciences,  because  art  is  another  means  to  “find  truth,  truth  about  the  human  condition,   truth  about  the  world  around  us,  and  the  truth  about  how  we  as  humans  interact  with  each  other  and   with  the  world  around  us.”     The  conversation  about  arts  education  is  one  that  our  generation  needs  to  not  only  continue  but  also   bring  to  the  forefront.    It  is  up  to  us  to  advocate.    It  is  up  to  us  to  fight  for  the  arts.    For  those  of  us  who   love  opera,  the  future  of  this  industry  is  closely  tied  to  arts  education.         I  hope  that  you  not  only  read  the  articles  in  this  issue,  but  that  you  send  us  feedback.    Tell  us  your   stories  about  music  education  and  why  you  think  arts  education  is  vital;  this  way,  the  conversation  can   continue!     Happy  reading!       -­‐Jennifer  Choi  


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Non-music Education Ilana Walder-Biesanz course.” Sarah  van  der  Ploeg  gave  a  similar   response:  “I  definitely  had  a  lot  to  learn—I   discovered  that  my  knowledge  of  even  major   opera  plots,  characters,  and  singers  was  well   behind  many  of  my  colleagues.”   I  also  wondered  whether  lacking  the   educational  credentials  made  it  difficult  to  get   auditions  for  opera  companies,  Master’s   programs,  or  Young  Artist  Programs.  Sarah  van   der  Ploeg  wrote  that  her  M.Mus.  program  at  the   Royal  Academy  of  Music  didn’t  require  a  B.Mus.,   and  that  that  was  part  of  her  motivation  to  go  to   the  UK  for  her  studies.  Mary  Bevan  also  studied   at  RAM:  “These  were  performance-­‐related   courses  and  didn't  require  any  academic  musical   knowledge,  so  there  was  no  problem  in  getting   auditions.  My  degree  had  no  bearing  at  all  on  my   getting  a  place.”  As  the  only  one  of  the  three   who  did  not  pursue  a  graduate  degree,  Sarah   Gabriel  encountered  more  obstacles:  “I  didn't  do   a  graduate  programme,  and  it  was  definitely   harder  (in  fact,  pretty  much  impossible)  to  get   auditions  without  an  official  singing  qualification.   I  think  that  a  lot  of  opera  companies,  particularly   British  ones,  have  a  very  simple  cut-­‐off  for   offering  audition  slots.  Perhaps  understandably,   official  singing  training  seemed  to  be  the  crucial   criterion  when  I  applied  to  audition.  […]  So  the   onus  is  on  the  maverick  singer  to  find  other  ways.   (Essentially,  we  have  more  rungs  to  climb,  and   we  need  to  do  this  by  finding  (or  making)   performing  opportunities  and  experiences  that   prove  we're  good).  By  luck,  I  went  for  a  coaching   in  New  York  when  I  was  on  holiday  there;  the   coach  was  encouraging  and  sent  my  details  to   the  conductor,  Lorin  Maazel;  I  was  called  to  New   York  the  following  week  for  an  audition;  and  I   got  a  principal  role  on  his  Young  Artist  Program   in  the  US.  What  I  loved  about  this  experience   was  the  absolute  disregard  for  my  qualifications:   it  was  simply  down  to  whether  or  not  I  sang  well.   Once  I  had  this  on  my  CV,  it  became  a  little   easier  to  get  audition  slots  in  the  UK.”  

I love  singing  opera,  but  I  just  finished  my   undergraduate  degree  in  systems  engineering.  It   made  for  an  interesting  four  years  of  study,  and   the  job  prospects  are  fabulous.    However,  I   sometimes  dream  about  running  away  to  join   the  opera.  So  I  was  excited  to  discover  that  a   sizable  minority  of  opera  singers  did  not  have   the  traditional  undergraduate  music  education.   For  various  reasons,  they  devoted  their  time  in   university  to  other  studies.  Some  of  them  went   on  to  music  graduate  programs;  others  began   careers  without  any  formal,  institutional  training.   To  explore  how  this  affected  their  outlook  and   careers,  I  asked  three  such  singers—Sarah   Gabriel,  Mary  Bevan,  and  Sarah  van  der  Ploeg— about  being  in  the  opera  world  without  following   the  usual  educational  path.     Each  studied  a  different  discipline  in  college:   Sarah  Gabriel  read  English  literature;  Mary  Bevan   read  Anglo-­‐Saxon,  Norse  and  Celtic  Studies;  and   Sarah  van  der  Ploeg  majored  in  Public  Policy  and   International  Affairs.  None  of  them  avoided   music  entirely  during  their  undergraduate  years.   They  took  lessons.  Sarah  Gabriel  mentioned  that,   while  developing  her  musical  skills  was   important,  “The  most  valuable  thing  for  me  at   university  was  stage  experience:  acting  in  lots  of   plays,  and  writing,  improvising  and  performing  in   comedy  shows  too.”     When  I  asked  these  three  sopranos  what   their  largest  knowledge  gaps  were  relative  to   their  peers  who  had  majored  in  music  as   undergraduates,  the  answers  were  surprising.  I   had  expected  them  to  respond  with  the  usual   music  degree  pain  points:  theory,  sight  singing,   ear  training,  etc.  Instead,  they  mentioned  having   to  catch-­‐up  in  terms  of  familiarity  with  standard   repertoire,  opera  plots,  and  famous  singers.   Mary  wrote,  “Obviously  a  knowledge  of  songs   and  arias  was  important,  and  that  was   something  I  had  to  prepare  in  my  own  time   whilst  studying  for  my  degree.  If  I  had  studied   music  at  undergraduate  level  then  I  suppose  I   would  have  had  this  knowledge  as  part  of  my    

-5-


Despite the  difficulties  she  encountered,   Sarah  Gabriel  also  saw  benefits  of  having   avoided  formal  music  education.  She  noted  that   the  competitiveness  of  music  school  can  be   destructive  for  singers:  “I  had  seen  some  friends   go  to  music  college  with  beautiful  voices  and  a   delicious,  raw  artistry.  Some  of  them  came  out   of  their  training  with  pristine  sounds,  but  often   the  raw  artistry  had  had  its  edges  rubbed  off,   and  perhaps  also  for  some  of  them,  their   confidence  was  eroded  a  bit  too—and  some   even  had  a  sense  of  panic  about  the  work  that   they  'should'  be  doing.  […]  Because  I  wasn't  in  a   particular  'year'  of  singers  from  music  college,  I   didn't  feel  at  all  concerned  about  what  everyone   else  was  up  to:  I  just  looked  for  and  took  jobs   that  sounded  exciting  to  me.  […]  I've  loved  this   way  of  doing  things,  and  it  has  resulted  in  some   unusual  projects,  with  extraordinary  colleagues   (not  just  in  opera,  recital  and  concert,  but  film,   dance  and  theatre  too).  I  might  not  have  been  up   for  some  of  these  projects  if  I'd  felt  that  I  should   follow  a  more  conventional  or  prescribed  path.”   Independent  of  the  challenges  or  benefits  of   not  earning  a  music  degree,  does  having  a   degree  in  another  field  provide  value  to  a   professional  opera  singer?  Mary  wrote,  “I  feel   like  I  came  to  singing  as  a  more  mature  person   and  I  really  was  focused  by  that  point.”  Sarah   Gabriel  mentioned  several  more  advantages:  “It   has  given  me  a  sense  of  perspective  about  the   privilege  of  being  on  stage  for  a  living.  Meeting   people  in  other  walks  of  life  before  I  started   singing  has  also  given  me  lots  of  characters  and   thumbnail  scenes  to  draw  upon  when  developing   roles.  Also,  if  I  ever  have  a  'tough'  day  (very  rare)   I  remember  that  I  could  be  in  an  office  instead,   and  I  realize  that  I'm  being  an  idiot.  We  are  so   lucky  to  be  making  music  and  telling  stories  for  a     living.”  Sarah  van  der  Ploeg  echoed  the  other   Sarah’s  comments  on  perspective,  and  also  saw   the  most  practical  benefits:  “[My  degree]   informs  some  of  my  ideas  for  projects  that  I  want   to  work  on:  I'm  currently  in  talks  with  a  couple  of   colleagues  about  founding  a  new  opera  company   back  in  London  with  an  international  focus,  and   I'm  also  in  the  early  stages  of  founding  an  NGO   that  would  utilize  arts  training  and  mentorships    

to empower  women.  I  am  a  performer,  and  I   love  everything  about  being  on  the  operatic  and   recital  stages,  but  I  am  also  motivated  for  those   things  to  have  repercussions  beyond  the  hall.   And,  someday  when  my  voice  gives  out  (as  it   does  to  all  singers  at  some  point),  I  have  the   skills  and  the  desire  to  be  more  involved  with   arts  from  the  management  /  policy  side  again,   and  that  can  be  a  real  possibility  for  me.  And,   having  some  experience  with  economics  and  arts   policy  is  never  a  bad  skill  set  for  a  freelancer   whose  self  is  her  business!”   Music  school  provides  valuable  training  and   makes  getting  auditions  much  easier.  However,   it  is  clear  from  my  exchanges  with  Mary,  Sarah,   and  Sarah  that  singers  from  other  educational   backgrounds  can  thrive  as  well.  As  an   undergraduate,  studying  something  other  than   music  does  not  preclude  you  from  pursuing  an   operatic  career.  In  fact,  it  can  offer  advantages:   less  competitive  stress,  a  sense  of  perspective   about  life  as  a  performer,  and  the  expertise  and   confidence  to  start  new  opera-­‐related  ventures.   For  most  aspiring  opera  singers,  majoring  in   music  is  probably  the  right  choice.  But  deciding   to  pursue  another  passion  in  your  undergraduate   years  doesn’t  doom  you  to  a  life  off  the  stage.     Note:  in  the  United  States,  “college”  and   “university”  both  refer  to  undergraduate  higher   education.       Ilana  is  an  engineer,     actress,  and  mezzo-­‐   soprano.  She  recently     graduated  with  a     Systems  Engineering     major  from  Olin     College.  Starting  in     October,  she  will  pursue     a  graduate  degree  in     European  Literature  at   the  University  of     Cambridge  on  a  Gates-­‐   Cambridge  fellowship.   She  tweets  about  opera   (and  occasionally  other   topics)  as  @ilana_wb     -6-


The Diva who Walks the Walk Jennifer Choi  

As one  of  the  greatest  opera  singers  of  her  generation,  Renée  Fleming  has  captivated  audiences   worldwide  with  her  stunning  performances.    However,  for  the  last  couple  of  years,  she  has  also  been   investing  her  time  and  energy  to  advocate  for  arts  education  in  Chicago.       As  the  creative  consultant  for  the  Lyric  Opera  of  Chicago,  Renée  Fleming  has  been  working  in  arts   outreach  through  the  Lyric  Opera  of  Chicago.    One  of  her  projects  includes  mentoring  students  in  the   Merit  School  of  Music.    She  conducts  voice  lessons  through  Skype  when  she  cannot  be  there  in  person.  

“I’ve only  had  one  so  far,  and  it  went  really  well.  My  schedule  takes  me  all  over  the  world  and  it’s   impossible  for  me  to  get  there  on  a  regular  basis.    What  I  discovered  was  that  I  can  see  and  hear   everything  I  need  to  be  helpful.  At  the  high  school  level,  there  are  basic  issues  that  I  can  identify  and   address  through  this  format.”   However,  that  wasn’t  enough  for  her.    Born  into  a  family  of  public  school  educators,  and  she   understands  the  value  of  a  good  education.    Both  of  her  parents  were  high  school  music  teachers,  and   her  brother  is  currently  a  public  school  teacher.    In  fact,  she  herself  was  certified  to  teach  music  in  the   state  of  New  York.       It  was  probably  this  background  that  brought  her  to  do  more  than  just pay  lip  service  to  the   importance  of  arts  education.    She  volunteered  her  time  and  star  power  to  advocate  for  arts   education  in  Chicago’s  public schools. -­‐  7  -­‐  


In early  2012,  Mayor  Rahm  Emanuel’s  administration  decided  to  push  for  a  longer  school  day,  and   Fleming  and  other  artists  and  leaders,  including  YoYo  Ma  and  Damian  Woetzel,  became  part  of  the   movement  that  helped  push  for  what  is  now  known  the  CPS  Arts  Education  Plan.    “We  met  with  the   members  of  the  mayor’s  office  and  the  chairman  of  the  board  of  public  schools  and  lobbied  for  part   of  the  extended  school  day  to  be  set  aside  for  the  arts.”   In  November  of  2012,  along  with  the  Chicago  Cultural  Plan,  the  Arts  Education  Plan  was  officially   announced.    The  Chicago  Public  Schools,  whose  leaders  understand  the  benefits  and  vitality  of  a  good   arts  education,  has  put  into  place  policy  that  prioritizes  developing  an  equitable,  high  quality  arts   education  program  for  its  schools.    After  the  Arts  Education  Plan  was  released,  arts  education  became   a  core  subject  for  all  students  in  grades  K-­‐12,  and  the  Chicago  Public  Schools  will  work  to  implement   the  Arts  Education  Plan  across  the  entire  city.    The  plan  guarantees  a  set  amount  of  time  each  week  for   arts  education,  and  every  school  will  have  an  arts  liaison.       “Through  this  program,  we  want  youngsters  in  the  Chicago  public  school  system  to  thrive.    There  are   schools  that  are  three  blocks  apart,  and  one  will  have  a  very  strong  arts  program  and  the  other  will   have  none.    Trying  to  make  it  equitable  for  students  is  important;  trying  to  make  sure  all  students  have   access  to  arts  education  is  important.    Students  don’t  even  know  if  they  have  talent  or  interest  in   different  things  if  they  don’t  have  the  exposure.    That’s  basically  the  goal.“   With  the  current  state  of  the  economy,  most  districts  are  cutting  funding  and  turning  away  focus  from   arts  education  programs.    Just  last  month,  Congress  approved  a  bill  that  would  cut  the  President’s   proposed  budget  for  the  National  Endowment  for  the  Arts  (NEA)  in  half,  bringing  the  NEA’s  budget  to   $75  million,  a  level  not  seen  since  1974.    “Our  NEA  gets  such  a  small  amount  of  money  compared  to   arts  programs  in  other  countries  in  the  developed  world.    Our  entire  NEA  budget  is  less  than  the  arts   budget  of  Berlin,  one  city  in  Germany.    To  not  understand  the  importance  of  culture  is  to  short  change   us.    Writers,  musicians,  poets,  etc.  have  been  the  Greek  chorus  for  history.    They  were  the  ones  who   saw,  who  commented,  who  pointed  out  trends  in  ways  that  left  a  cultural  footprint.    We  have  to   support  and  be  proud  of  the  arts,  and  not  get  stuck  in  the  politics.”   In  Chicago,  however,  the  combination  of  public  demand,  strong  advocacy,  and  good  leadership  has   allowed  for  changes  that  are  the  opposite  of  the  national  trend.    During  the  process  of  overhauling  the   education  system,  Chicago  held  over  30  town  hall  meetings.    “What  was  discovered  and  voted  on   [during  these  meetings]  was  that  the  primary  concern  of  the  constituents  was  having  a  comprehensive   arts  plan  for  the  city,  which  I  thought  was  amazing.    That  set  the  stage  for  something  happening  that   was  much  more  comprehensive  in  terms  of  arts  education.”    According  to  the  CPS  Arts  website,   citizens  and  organizations  throughout  Chicago  identified  arts  education  as  one  of  the  top  three  most   important  cultural  priorities  for  Chicago.       Fleming  says  that  another  vital  voice  in  the  development  of  the  CPS  Arts  Education  plan  was  Chicago’s   Mayor,  Rahm  Emanuel.    “He  stood  up  at  a  press  conference  and  talked  about  how  ballet  changed  his   life.    It  opened  doors  for  him  that  otherwise  would  have  been  closed,  and  I  really  applaud  him  for  being   so  outspoken  about  his  experience  in  the  arts  and  not  downplaying  it.  “       It  is  not  just  public  schools  that  are  suffering  from  cuts  in  arts  education.    Private  institutions  tend  to   push  arts  education  to  the  bottom  of  their  priorities  because  the  arts  are  not  considered  academically   -­‐  8  -­‐  


rigorous.  “That  is  a  big  missed  opportunity,”  Fleming  says.    “There  have  been  some  amazing  musicians   that  have  come  out  of  Harvard,  where  my  daughter  currently  is,  and  they  have  accomplished   extraordinary  feats  in  the  world  of  diplomacy.    Art  is  something  we  have  to  make  sure  stays  valued,   and  stays  in  our  educational  programs  […]  Arts  aren’t  just  extra  or  a  luxury.    They  are  necessary  to  the   health  and  well  being  of  the  entire  system.”   The  responsibility  of  arts  education,  however,  does  not  lie  solely  in  the  hands  of  the  schools.    The   future  of  the  classical  music  industry  is  closely  tied  to  the  arts  education  trends  in  this  country.    When   asked  what  opera  companies  should  be  doing  to  reach  out  to  young  fans,  Fleming  turned  the  question   around.    “I  should  probably  be  asking  you  that  question.    You’re  all  10  steps  ahead  of  us  in  terms  of   what’s  available  [technologically].    Opera  companies  should  be  appealing  to  the  young  fans  and  asking   what  they  want.”   While  lamenting  technology’s  ability  to  distract  and  squeeze  leisure  time,  Fleming  also  understands  the   important  role  that  technology  plays  in  exposure.  “My  children  have  made  fantastic  discoveries  on   YouTube.    One  daughter  developed  a  huge  passion  for  1940s  song  stylists.    She  would  never  have  had   access  to  that  if  she  didn’t  have  a  computer.    So  young  people  are  developing  interests  on  their  own,   and  it  might  not  be  what  you  might  have  expected  because  they  have  the  ability  to  explore.    For  my   latest  recording,  I  found  it  very  interesting  that  previous  recordings  of  even  the  most  unusual   repertoire  have  already  been  uploaded  onto  YouTube.    I  used  to  pride  myself  on  unearthing  things  that   people  didn’t  know,  and  now  it’s  almost  impossible.    It’s  all  there.    So  young  singers  today  have   tremendous,  instant  access  to  everything.  There  is  no  substitute  for  exposure,  and  if  that  isn’t   encouraged  in  school  or  in  families  or  amongst  friends,  there  will  be  even  more  people  who  don’t   know  what  is  available  to  them.    Again,  it’s  why  arts  education  is  so  important.  “   Currently,  Fleming  and  her  team  are  finalizing  plans  for  the  American  Voices  Festival,  which  will  take   place  at  the  Kennedy  Center  in  Washington  D.C.  from  November  22-­‐24th.    This  is  the  first  song  festival   that  will  focus  on  American  music.    There  will  be  six  different  “Master  Sessions,”  in  different  genres  of   music,  and  each  session  will  consist  of  a  master  class  given  by  a  leading  artist  in  that  field.  The  master   classes  will  be  followed  by  panel  discussions  moderated  by  Renée  Fleming.    Panel  members  and  guest   speakers  include  artists  and  industry  leaders  in  that  genre.    Many  of  the  events  will  be  streamed  live.     Other  special  guests  for  the  festival  include  Dr.Steven  Zeitels,  a  leading  laryngeal  surgeon  who   operated  on  stars  such  as  Adele  and  Steven  Tyler,  and  speech  pathologist  Linda  Carroll.    They  will   discuss  various  aspects  of  voice  therapy,  including  new  treatments.    Fleming  says,  “It  would  be  great  if   Dr.  Zeitels  told  me  that  when  I’m  nearing  retirement,  I  could  begin  all  over  again,  maybe  starting  with   Gilda…I’m  not  sure  what  the  market  would  be  for  a  70  year  old  Gilda,  but  funny  and  interesting  to   contemplate.    Grandma  Gilda.  “   You  can  find  more  information  about  the  festival  here.  

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My Life as a Cog Griffin Candey,  MM  in  Music  Performance  at  UIUC   When  I  first  stepped  into  the  territory  of  writing  about  music  education,  I  felt  like  a  bit  of  a  fraud:  I   am  not  and  have  never  been  a  music  educator.    It  requires  a  skill  set,  a  devotion,  and  a  level  of   patience  that  I  do  not  possess.    I  am  ever  in  awe  of  these  individuals’  dedication  to  their  craft  and  to   the  importance  of  music  in  the  lives  of  young  people.    They  are  vital  beyond  description.    Of  course,  my   self-­‐appointed  fraud  is  a  bit  of  a  flaky  charge.    I  can  speak  about  music  education,  if  only  to  a  small   degree,  because  I’ve  lived  it  and  continue  to  live  it.    I  am  a  product  of  the  system  in  question.   Many  articles  about  music  education  describe  the  inclusive  community  of  music  education.    It   encourages  students  to  feel  comfortable  in  their  own  skin,  to  open  up  in  ways  that  they  otherwise  may   suppress.    From  personal  experience  and  from  observation  of  others,  that  is  absolutely  the  case.     Without  communally  suffering  through  many  years  as  a  knobby-­‐kneed  trombone  player  or  a  voice-­‐ cracking  baby  tenor,  it  is  possible  that  coming  out  of  my  shell  would  have  been  a  much  longer  process   (or  perhaps  void  entirely.)   As  I  machete  my  way  into  the  dense  jungle  of  adulthood,  I’ve  found  that  many  things  that   remained  unquestioned  as  an  adolescent  have  since  reversed  themselves  without  my  noticing:  my   aversion  to  having  children,  my  distaste  for  jazz,  my  lack  of  appreciation  for  oatmeal.     More  recently,  I’ve  discovered  this  180˚  wonder:  I  distinctly  remember  a  time  when  I  hated  the   idea  of  being  part  of  a  whole.    In  my  titanic  struggle  for  teenage  self-­‐understanding  –  a  struggle  that   surely  only  I,  the  loneliest  speck  in  a  lonely  galaxy,  ever  had  to  endure  –  it  was  loathsome  to  think  that  I   might  ever  be  only  a  cog  in  a  greater  picture,  functioning  on  one  axis  and  bereft  of  any  personal   freedom.    It  was,  like  most  teenage  things,  hilariously  self-­‐centered  and  impractical,  and  I  am   thankfully  no  longer  of  that  opinion.   In  retrospect,  it  is  primarily  my  time  as  a  student  of  music  that  has  caused  this  shift.    The   communities  that  form  in  musical  settings,  both  educational  and  professional,  encourage  one  to  find   and  love  one’s  self,  but  perhaps  more  importantly,  they  encourage  that  new  self  to  find  its  niche.     Building  a  community  requires  much  more  than  a  group  of  people  who  like  to  sing  in  thirds.    A   successful,  thriving  community  requires  all  of  its  participants  to  both  (a)  know  where  their  strengths  lie   and  (b)  understand  how  to  apply  said  strengths  in  order  to  provide  the  most  benefit  to  the  most   people.    Participation  in  music  transitions  all  people,  adolescent  or  adult,  from  an  atmosphere  of  self-­‐ service  to  one  of  greater  collaborative  goals.     For  every  musician,  the  scope  of  music  education  extends  far  beyond  our  first  band  shells  or  choir   risers.      Our  growth  as  artists  is  continual,  borne  forward  by  the  musical  challenges  of  our  time  and   tested  by  the  questions  and  needs  of  the  next  generation.    Our  lifelong  education  teaches  us  to   become  an  integrated,  useful  part  of  some  larger  thing,  to  achieve  something  greater  through   cooperation  with  many  passionate,  like-­‐minded  artists.     Always  keep  that  collaborative  spirit  in  mind.    Think,  act,  and  create  while  acknowledging  your   place  in  the  web  of  musicians  around  you,  and  –  while  I  rarely  advise  artists  to  “behave”  –  don’t   become  the  self-­‐serving  wrench  that  hampers  the  progress  of  our  bright,  sometimes  fragile  machine.   Griffin  is  both  an  opera  singer  and   composer,  with  a  MM  in  Music   Performance  from  UIUC.   -­‐  10  -­‐


Reasons Why I'm Teaching Music and not Math Kaela Talley   and  make  music  with  the  same  teacher  and   the  same  group  of  students,  sharing  the   experience  of  creating  and  understanding   music.  They  grow  and  learn  from  one  another   and  form  close  relationships  with  both   teachers  and  peers.  Paul  Eliot,  a  member  of   the  music  faculty  at  the  Tacoma  School  of  the   Arts,  talks  about  actively  engaging  his  students   in  the  community  aspects  of  music  making  on   the  SOTA  blog.  He  emphasizes  that  music  is   about  interpersonal  relationships  and   interaction,  and  says  that  “asking  students  to   work  in  teams…develops  both  empathy  and   leadership”.1  While  the  SOTA  has  a  lot  more   going  for  it  than  many  teachers  find  is  their   reality,  Eliot’s  sentiment  is  spot  on.  He  talks   about  a  songwriting  class  in  which  the  students   help  each  other  as  needed,  sharing  their   experience  to  make  each  project  the  best  it   can  be.  These  aspects  of  a  music  classroom   foster  a  sense  of  responsibility  and  autonomy   that  no  set  of  classroom  rules  could  hope  to   dictate.  When  a  classroom  functions  like  a   community,  with  the  students  helping  each   other  to  learn  and  grow,  they  create  day  to   day  experiences  that  can’t  be  matched  in  other   classes.     Part  of  what  makes  the  community  of  a   music  classroom  so  valuable  is  the  idea  that   music  is  in  every  part  of  our  lives  and   experiences  –  it  brings  us  together.  The  notion   of  music  as  a  refuge  is  not  without  merit.  I’m   not  saying  that  my  experience  has  shown  me   that  music  classes  are  comprised  entirely  of   misfits,  or  that  a  choral  ensemble  is  some  sort   of  God-­‐awful  episode  of  Glee  where  the  jocks   and  the  nerds  are  suddenly  friends  because   they’re  singing,  but  music  classes  are  (or   should  be)  a  place  where  anyone  can   participate.  One  of  the  joys  of  music  is  its   flexibility,  and  I’ve  come  to  find  that  students  

Ask a  foreign  language  teacher  why   learning  another  language  is  important,  why   their  job  matters,  and  you  may  be  met  with   indignation.  Gosh,  everybody  knows  that   learning  another  language  is  important!  How   will  you  get  into  college  if  you  haven't  taken   two  years  of  Spanish/C++/Klingon/Pig  Latin?!     Ask  a  music  teacher  why  music  is  important,   and  you  may  end  up  with  a  poorly  concealed   sigh,  a  polite  smile,  and  a  thought  bubble  of   "here  we  go  again.”  A  hyperbolic  scenario,   perhaps,  but  it  is  not  untrue.  I've  often   wondered  what  it  might  be  like  if  I  had  chosen   to  remain  in  German  Education  rather  than   switching  to  Choral  Music.  Do  other  education   majors  have  to  defend  their  right  to  exist  as   often  as  I  do?  In  a  world  where  subjects  like   math  and  foreign  language  are  unequivocally   accepted  in  their  importance  to  life,  the   validity  of  curricular  music  classes  is  constantly   in  question.     In  my  time  studying  music  education,  I've   learned  nothing  so  thoroughly  as  how  to   diplomatically  defend  my  profession.  Music   education  is  always  forced  to  define  itself  in   terms  of  its  contribution  to  I.Q,  spatial-­‐ awareness,  or  mathematical  ability;  the  words   “Mozart”  and  “Effect”  uttered  too  closely   together  are  enough  to  make  me  hiss  like  a   vampire  faced  with  a  crucifix.  I  could  summon   half  a  dozen  different  answers  to  the  question   “what  are  the  benefits  of  music  education?”   but  several  of  those  potential  answers  are   neither  convincing  nor  are  they  the  reason  I   want  to  teach  music.  For  those  of  us  who’ve   been  “doing  music”  for  a  while,  my  own   personal  first  and  best  reason  for  the   maintenance  of  curricular  music  education   shouldn’t  be  too  surprising:  community.       Curricular  music  ensembles  are  unique   among  the  school  subjects  in  their   progression:  students  return  each  year  to  learn   -­‐  11  -­‐  


will respond  to  the  concerted  effort  of   teachers  to  nurture  an  inclusive  community.     The  September  2012  issue  of  the  Music   Educator’s  Journal  featured  a  series  of   fantastic  articles  discussing  how  music   teachers  can  make  their  classes  more   accessible  for  students  with  disabilities.  Joseph   Abramo’s  article  elaborates  on  legal  aspects  of   inclusivity,  but  also  the  myriad  ways  that  music   classrooms  can  make  a  greater  effort  to   include  these  students  in  the  community.  In   this  case,  as  with  every,  the  onus  is  on  the   teacher  to  assure,  to  the  best  of  their  ability,   that  anyone  who  wants  to  “do  music”  can.  The   flexibility  of  music  and  music  teachers  makes  it   a  classroom  particularly  suited  to  inclusivity.   Abramo  ends  the  article  with  a  statement  that   makes  me  want  to  jump  up  on  a  chair  and   debase  myself  with  exclamations  of  joy:   “Regardless  of  their  abilities  and  disabilities,   students  deserve  thoughtful  music  educators   willing  to  make  these  changes  in  the  name  of   what  is  fair,  right,  and  just”.2  Music  classrooms   aren’t  just  a  place  where  the  football  player   with  the  nice  voice  can  commiserate  with  the   nerdy  guy  who  also  doesn’t  like  Dostoevsky.     More  than  that,  it  is  a  community  where   anyone  with  an  open  heart  and  mind,  and  a   willingness  to  work  hard,  is  welcome.      

My own  experiences  shape  my   understanding  of  a  music  community,  and  I’m   aware  that  it  isn’t  all  sunshine  and  roses.    But   regardless  of  how  well  some  individuals  fare  in   being  a  part  of  the  community,  the   opportunity  and  the  opening  are  there  for  the   taking,  if  one  is  willing  to  try.  One  of  many   conclusions  that  came  out  of  a  2003  study   featured  in  the  Journal  For  Research  in  Music   Education  was  that  “the  social  climate  of  these   ensembles  is  important  to  each  member  and   provides  many  with  an  outlet  that  they  might   not  have  had  to  meet  others  from  the  larger   school  setting,  or  to  form  relationships  away   from  the  home  environment  that  assist  them   in  negotiating  the  often  turbulent  high  school   years”.3  Being  in  music  is  an  unforgettable   shared  experience.  It  carries  with  it  benefits   that  cannot  be  measured  on  the  same  scale  as   an  improved  intelligence  quotient.  I  will  never   underestimate  the  importance  of  music  in  the   lives  of  the  students  who  participate  in  it.    It’s   impossible  to  forget  the  people  I  have  seen   grow  and  change  after  finding  a  place  among   us  music-­‐doers.  It’s  not  because  they  placed   first  at  a  competition,  or  because  they   suddenly  improved  their  hand-­‐eye   coordination,  but  because  in  music  they  found   something  infinitely  more  valuable:  a  home.  

Kaela  is  a  graduating  senior  studying  Music  Education       and  German  at  the  University  of  Illinois.  She  is  the     outgoing  president  of  the  UIUC  chapter  of  the  ACDA,     proud  contralto,  and  voice  student  of  Ricardo  Herrera.       A  shameless  nerd,  Kaela  dedicates  her  spare  time  to     learning  Vulcan  and  playing  ukulele.         Footnotes:    1  Eliot,  Paul.  “Community  in  the  Music  Classroom”,  10  December  2012.  http://elementsofeducation.org/community-­‐ in-­‐the-­‐music-­‐classroom/       2  Abramo,  Joseph.  Disability  in  the  Classroom:  Current  Trends  and  Impacts  on  Music  Education.  Music  Educators   Journal  September  2012  99:  39-­‐45     3  Adderley,  C;  Berz,  William;  Kennedy,  Mary;  “A  Home  away  from  Home”:  The  World  of  the  High  School  Music   Classroom  Journal  of  Research  in  Music  Education  Fall  2003  51:  190-­‐205      

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The True Face of Music in Brazil

Isabela Zogaib  

As a  person  who  fell  in  love  with  opera  in   my  twenties,  I  look  back  and  can  see  how   things  could  have  been  different  if  I  had  had   more  appreciation  for  the  art  form  when  I  was   in  school.    But  looking  back,  I  see  that  the   possibility  of  me  getting  hooked  on  what  today   is  my  sole  purpose  of  living  was  very  small   because  I  live  in  Brazil.   Brazil  is,  some  might  say,  a  country  on  the   rise.    It  has  the  6th  largest  economy  in  the   world,  and  we  are  hosting  the  World  Cup  next   year  and  the  Olympic  Games  in  a  couple  more.   However,  Brazil  could  easily  be  described  as  an   underfed  child  who  happens  to  be  wearing   pretty  clothes  and  is  told  to  behave  when  there   are  visitors.    If  you  look  from  afar,  it  all  seems   all  right,  but  if  you  get  to  know  Brazil,  you  will   be  quite  surprised.    It’s  a  country  led  by  people   who  are  ready  to  spend  billions  of  dollars   building  football  stadiums  but  will  not  raise  a   finger  when  it  comes  to  our  educational   system.   It  is  this  type  of  government  that  manages   the  public  schools  and  sometimes  produces   "graduate  students"  who  do  not  know  how  to   write.    The  teachers  in  these  schools  are  quite   competent,  but  they're  told  to  approve  every   student,  regardless  of  achievement,  and  if  the   teachers  do  not  comply,  the  students  bully   them  out  of  their  jobs.    Suffice  it  to  say  that   there  is  very  little  room  for  Arts  Education  in   these  schools.    Normally,  the  pupils  who  attend   public  schools  in  Brazil  come  from  low  socio-­‐ economic  families  who  sometimes  cannot   afford  rent.    They  do  not  have  the  means  to   invest  in  their  children’s  education.   Often  times,  non-­‐governmental  institutions   create  a  bridge  between  pupils  and  the  arts.    In   some  cases,  music  teachers  will  personally  go   to  the  public  schools,  gather  up  the  students   who  are  interested  in  learning  more  about   music,  and  end  up  doing  remarkable  projects   with  these  kids.    A  wonderful  example  is  

Cartola’s Violin  Orchestra  (Orquestra  de   Violinos  Cartola),  which  is  based  in  one  of  Rio   de  Janeiro’s  biggest  favelas(slums),  the   Mangueira  favela.    Nowadays,  that  program  has   over  80  kids  enrolled,  and  it  has  an  extremely   big  waiting  list.    One  of  the  orchestras  many   objectives  is  to  bring  in  audiences  and  increase   the  general  public’s  exposure  to  classical  music.   Another  school  that  teaches  classical  music   in  the  slums  is  the  Rocinha  School  of  Music   (Escola  de  Música  da  Rocinha),  which  was   founded  back  in  1994  by  the  German  musician   Hans  Ulrich  Koch.    Rocinha  is  one  of  the  most   dangerous  places  in  Rio  de  Janeiro,  but  with   projects  like  these,  kids  are  taken  out  of  the   streets  and  find  a  purpose.    There,  kids  take   musical  theory  lessons,  various  kinds  of   instrument  lessons,  and  choir  singing,  and  it's   all  for  free.    In  addition  to  all  this,  the  pupils  can   borrow  the  instruments  they  are  learning  and   take  them  home  to  practice.    Unfortunately,   the  Brazilian  government  does  not  back  these   schools.    Rocinha’s  School  of  Music,  for   instance,  is  financed  by  European  donors.   In  private  schools,  the  scene  changes  a  bit.   More  than  half  of  the  children  in  Brazil  attend   different  kinds  of  private  schools.    We  have  a   wide  range  of  private  schools,  from  high  end   expensive  to  middle  class  affordable  private   schools.    Since  there  are  so  many  different   kinds  of  schools  in  Brazil,  it  is  difficult  for   colleges  to  rely  only  on  school  transcripts  to   evaluate  a  student’s  academic  abilities.    Each   college  holds  an  entrance  exam  every  year  for   all  who  are  interested  in  attending  the  school.     These  tests  are  the  biggest  factor  for   acceptance;  so  quite  literally,  schools  teach   entrance  exam  material  instead  of  actually   educating  their  students,  especially  in  high   school.   Because  the  school  curriculum  is  focused  on   the  entrance  exams,  there  is  not  much  room   for  arts  education  in  private  schools  as  well.    In   - 13 -


many cases,  children  will  have  some  sort  of   music  class  between  the  ages  of  7  to  10.    The   quality  of  these  lessons  varies  from  school  to   school.    Some  have  excellent  programs,  but   most  others  are  disappointing.    Some  schools   have  music  lessons,  choir  lessons  and  flute   lessons  as  extracurricular  activities.   Unfortunately,  the  quality  of  these  lessons   again  varies  from  school  to  school.   In  order  to  learn  about  music  or  how  to  play   an  instrument,  parents  normally  enroll  their   children  in  conservatories,  music  schools,  and   private  lessons,  which  are  often  very  expensive.   The  Conservatories  sometimes  have  high-­‐ end  teachers  who  can  provide  excellent   instruction.    Very  young  children  get  basic   music  classes  for  a  few  years,  and  then  they  are   directed  to  an  instrument  of  their  liking.   Normally,  these  schools  teach  only  classical   music,  but  there  are  some  schools  that  are   opening  their  doors  to  more  modern   repertoire.  The  modern  repertoire  comes  as  an   option  the  pupil  can  have  once  he  or  she  has   mastered  the  basic  rudiments  of  playing  the   instrument.    A  full  course  in  a  conservatory  can   last  up  to  10  years  and  can  sometimes  even   allow  the  student  to  skip  needing  a  minor   degree  in  music  in  order  to  do  a  Graduate   course  in  college.   One  of  the  best  music  schools  in  Brazil  is   the  Escola  Municipal  de  Música  in  São  Paulo.      

Pupils are  often  given  the  opportunity  to  take   private  lessons  with  musicians  who  members  of   the  major  orchestras  in  São  Paulo.  For  instance,   one  of  their  faculty  members  on  the  classical   singing  staff  is  one  of  the  most  in-­‐demand   sopranos  in  Brazil.    Apart  from  the  private   instrument  lessons,  the  students  also  get   Harmony  lessons,  Counterpoint  lessons,  Ear   Training  lessons,  and  History  Lessons,  all  for   free.    The  courses  can  last  from  2  to  12  years,   depending  on  the  instrument.    The  school’s   capacity  is  800  students,  and  they  accept  200   new  students  every  year.   Although  projects  like  these  are  wonderful,   these  numbers  are  not  enough  to  meet  the   enormous  need  of  the  11  million  citizens  in  São   Paulo  alone.    Moreover,  most  people  are  not   exposed  to  classical  music  nearly  enough  and   sometimes,  they  have  no  exposure  at  all.   Because  of  this,  ignorance  and  prejudice  grow   along  with  an  absolute  lack  of  interest.     Fortunately,  there  are  many  who  are   passionate  about  classical  music  here  in  Brazil,   and  they  do  their  best  to  do  outreach  and   introduce  opera  to  as  many  people  as  they  can.     Brazilians  are  stubborn  and  persistent  when   they  find  their  purpose,  and  as  we  say  around   here,  “Brazilians  never  give  up”.  Being  both  a   Brazilian  and  an  opera  singer,  I  must  confess  I   take  pride  when  I  look  around  and  see  no  dry   eyes  by  the  end  of  La  Traviata.

Isabela is  a  Brazilian  soprano  living  in   São  Paulo.    She  will  be  finishing  her   minor  degree  in  Music  by  the  end  of  this   year.  Her  life's  passions  are  opera,   books,  friends  and  food.  She  blogs   about  opera  for  fun   at  http://unexpected-­‐ song.blogspot.com.br/  and  hopes  to   become  an  opera  singer  in  the  future.  

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Learning Music in France Lucie Knecht-­‐Deyber  

During  all  my  schooling  in  France,  we  only  had  "music  lessons"  when  we  were  between  11  and   15  years  old  and  only  for  an  hour  a  week.  That's  not  much.  And  what  we  did  in  those  lessons   was  not  much  either.  We  listened  to  all  kinds  of  music,  we  sang,  and  we  played  a  sort  of  plastic   flute  (like  a  recorder).  Our  singing  was  more  like  "listen  to  the  original  and  then  try  to  imitate   it."  So,  at  the  end  of  those  four  years,  nobody  was  able  to  sing  a  single  note  right.  Playing  the   flute  was  even  worse  :  first,  the  instrument  itself  was  quite  awful,  and  the  sound  was  really   bad.    We  had  to  play  very  simple  tunes,  but  most  of  us  couldn't  read  the  notes  (exept  those   who  played  an  instrument  outside  of  school),  so  it  was  kind  of  a  mess.  The  'listening  to  all  kinds   of  music'  was  maybe  more  interesting,  since  it  made  us  discover  things  we  wouldn't  have   listened  to  by  ourselves,  but  at  the  same  time,  the  only  thing  we  did  in  class  was  write  one  or   two  paragraphs  about  the  context  and  try  to  guess  which  instruments  were  playing.  How  were   we  supposed  to  know  the  different  instruments  if  the  only  one  we'd  ever  heard  was  a  plastic   flute?       To  me,  the  music  education  in  France  was  really  insufficient  and  inadequate.  The  result  after   those  four  years  was  that  most  of  the  pupils  still  couldn't  read  even  a  single  note  and  most  of   them  left  with  not  much  interest  in  music.       That  was  six  years  ago,  but  my  brother  just  recently  went  through  it  and  he  told  me  that  it   hasn't  changed  much.  The  only  difference  is  that  now  they  don't  use  the  plastic  flute  anymore   and  now  they  don't  use  any  instrument  at  all,  which  is  not  better.       In  my  case,  my  parents  listened  to  a  lot  of  different  things  and  I  was  curious  enough  to  pay   attention  to  every  kind  of  music  I  heard.  But  I  really  regret  that  I  didn't  learn  anything  about   music  in  school.  The  very  few  things  I  know  about  music  now  is  what  I've  learned  during  the   year  I  studied  piano  (when  I  was  eight)  and  by  reading,  listening,  and  discussing  music  with   other  people.  All  I  know  I've  learned  by  myself,  outside  of  school,  and  that  is  a  shame.    

Lucie is  a  twenty  year-­‐old  French  history   student.    She  is  not  a  musician,  but  she   is  a  big  opera  fan.    You  can  find  her  at   lulu-­‐ptit-­‐lu.tumblr.com.  

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“Review: Do Great Voices Sing John Denver” Kevin Ng    

Operatic crossover  projects  can  be  a  gamble,   ranging  from  Eileen  Farrell’s  iconic  jazz  recordings   to  Renata  Scotto’s  much  maligned  ‘Somewhere   over  the  Rainbow’.    The  difficulty,  it  seems,  lies   not  in  being  able  to  sing  all  of  the  notes,  but   being  able  to  adapt  to  the  style  of  music   required.    The  fifteen  singers  represented  on  the   recording  all  do  a  decent  job,  and  some  actually   sounding  quite  spectacular  in  this  repertoire.     Unfortunately,  all  are  hampered  by  an  overly   schmaltzy  orchestra  track,  complete  with   swooning  strings  and  harp  glissandi,  that  seems   foreign  to  John  Denver’s  simple,  acoustic   aesthetic.    Despite  this,  it’s  an  enjoyable,  if  not   revelatory  recording  and  is  worth  a  listen.    

Among the  15  songs  recorded,  it’s  astounding  that  none  are  outright  failures.    The  least   successful  is  ‘The  Eagle  and  the  Hawk’,  though  that’s  more  the  fault  of  the  sound  engineers   than  the  singers.    The  idea  of  Rod  Gilfry,  Daniel  Montenegro,  and  Dolora  Zajick  singing  a  trio  is   an  odd  one  to  begin  with,  and  it’s  not  helped  by  the  fact  that  the  sound  keeps  getting  more  and   more  present  as  the  song  progresses.    Otherwise,  the  rest  of  the  singers  sound  more  or  less   comfortable  in  their  songs,  avoiding  the  overblown  emotion  often  used  by  opera  singers  who   have  no  idea  what  to  do  with  the  music.        

A few  singers  stand  out,  showing  a  close  connection  to  the  text  and  music  while  retaining   their  own  unique  musicality.    Heldentenor  Stuart  Skelton  sounds  spectacular  in  ‘Fly  Away’,   lightening  his  tone  effectively,  and  Daniel  Montenegro’s  sensitive  and  restrained  ‘Goodbye   Again’  was  another  highlight.    Plácido  Domingo  in  ‘Perhaps  Love’  is  pretty  much  exactly  what   you  would  expect  from  him,  but  Thomas  Hampson  surprises  with  a  witty  and  understated   ‘Sweet  Surrender’.    The  standout  has  to  be  Patricia  Racette’s  ‘Leaving  on  a  Jet  Plane’,   performed  with  the  same  absolute  commitment  and  passion  as  she  does  her  celebrated  Puccini   heroines.    Proof  indeed  that  opera  singers  can  bring  something  special  to  this  repertoire!     Kevin  is  a  second  year  university  student  who   dreams  of  a  career  in  the  opera  world,  which  is   why  he  is  currently  studying  cell  biology  and   doing  chemistry  labs.    You  can  find  him  at   nonpiudifiori.wordpress.com.  

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Come Scoglio A drama giocoso in three acts* K. A. Feltkamp

 

About the  Author   Kim  Feltkamp  is  a  mezzo-­‐soprano  currently  pursuing  her  MM  at  Bard  College  in  Dawn  Upshaw’s   Vocal  Arts  Program.  She  has  been  part  of  the  online  opera  community  as  OperaRox,  providing   interactive  opera  liveshows  and  contests  to  educate  and  unite  the  opera  community.  She  is  also   a  published  writer.  You  can  find  her  at  OperaRox,  Kimozart,  and  her  professional  website.  

Note from  the  Author   I  wrote  this  story  to  depict,  as  closely  as  possible,  the  people  and  events  in  Mozart’s  life  when   he  was  at  the  height  of  his  compositional  success.    The  people  in  this  novella  all  really  lived  and   had  personalities  close  to  the  characters  portrayed  here.    This  is  a  work  of  fiction,  but  the  goal   was  to  remain  as  close  to  history  as  possible.    I  took  the  time  to  read  countless  letters,  journal   entries,  autobiographies,  and  the  like,  not  only  to  capture  the  true  essence  of  the  people  in  the   story,  but  also  to  get  all  the  facts  and  dates  straight.    Many  of  the  things  said  or  alluded  to  by   the  characters  are  directly  from  these  sources.    The  one  exception  to  this  is  the  narrator,  Louise   Villeneuve.    History  tells  us  what  and  where  she  sang,  but  not  who  she  was.    Therefore,  I  have   taken  some  license  in  regard  to  the  narrator  and  her  connection  to  the  composer,  especially  in   ways  which  strengthen  the  plot.    In  short,  everything  relating  to  Ms.  Villeneuve  is  completely   from  my  imagination.    I  have  made  educated  guesses  from  what  others  said  about  her,  which  is   very  little,  and  from  the  music  that  Mozart  wrote  for  her,  which  tells  us  a  bit  more.    Therefore,   this  story  is  a  conglomerate  of  sorts,  as  all  fiction  tends  to  be,  but  there  is  a  great  deal  of  truth   in  it.    I  hope  you  enjoy  the  ride  and  learn  a  little  of  who  Mozart  truly  was  and  what  he   experienced  as  a  composer  and  a  man.     *continued  series.  Previous  chapters  can  be  found  in  earlier  issues  of  Opera21.    

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Act III   January  26,  1790       The   noise   outside   my   dressing   room   door   was   louder   than   I’d   ever   heard   it.     I   was   a   bit   apprehensive  as  I  opened  the  door.     People   came   from   all   directions,   pressing   in   and   chattering   and   extending   their   gloved   hands.     For   a   few   moments,   I   couldn’t   tell   what   was   going   on.     I   tried   to   stabilize   myself,   but   I   found   it   extremely   difficult.     I   plastered   a   smile   on   my   face   and   kept   nodding,   accepting   hands   and   congratulations.    It  took  me  a  moment  to  realize  that  someone  was  pulling  incessantly  on  my  sleeve.     I   turned   to   see   a   servant.     His   uniform   betrayed   his   position:   he   worked   for   the   Emperor.     He   shoved  a  small  card  into  my  hand  and  said,     “Madame,  the  Emperor  sends  his  deepest  regrets  for  not  coming  in  person.    He  was  feeling  a  bit   ill  and  had  to  go  home,  but  he  wanted  to  give  you  this  message.    Please  give  me  your  response.”     I  looked  down  at  the  handwritten  card  and  couldn’t  believe  what  I  was  reading.    I  read  it  again   and  knew  that  I  wasn’t  mistaken.    It  read,     “Please  join  me  for  dinner  on  12  Feb.    Details  to  follow.”     “I  accept,”  I  told  the  servant,  my  voice  breathless.     “Thank   you.”     He   bowed   and   then   disappeared   into   the   crowd.     The   sea   of   people   pressed   in   closer  after  his  departure.    I  did  my  best  to  enjoy  the  onslaught  of  strangers.     After  I’d  drowned  in  compliments  and  disentangled  myself  from  the  socialites,  I  retreated  to  my   dressing  room  and  checked  my  makeup  and  hair.    Before  I  could  do  much  else,  there  was  a  knock  on   my  door.    I  hoped  I  would  open  the  door  to  a  familiar  face.     My   hopes   were   fulfilled.     Mozart   stood   there,   his   face   flushed   with   excitement.     The   moment   the  door  was  no  longer  between  us,  he  took  me  in  a  fierce  embrace,  saying  rapturously,     “My   dear,   my   Liebchen,   you   were   absolutely   stunning   tonight!     I   couldn’t   have   asked   for   anything  better.    Thank  you,  thank  you!”     I  was  overwhelmed.    I  laughed  and  he  let  me  go.     “Thank  you,”  I  said.    “I’ve  never  had  someone  write  an  entire  role  for  me.”     “Consider   it   two   roles,”   he   said,   “for   you   are   surely   Fiordiligi.     To   me,   you   will   always   be   Fiordiligi.”     “Then,  thank  you  twice  over.”     He  shook  his  head.     “You’re  the  inspiration.    My  muse.    I’m  eternally  grateful.”    He  kissed  my  hand.     “Come,”   he   said.     “My   carriage   is   waiting   outside   and   everyone   else   is   probably   already   on   their   way.    This  is  a  night  to  celebrate!”     He  took  my  hand  and  started  to  pull  me  from  my  dressing  room.     “One   moment,”   I   said,   going   back   for   my   things.     He   stood   impatiently,   energy   almost   visibly   throbbing  from  him.    I  felt  caught  up  in  it—in  the  rush  of  his  movements,  in  the  intense  life  radiating   from  every  inch  of  his  body,  in  his  obvious  affection  for  me…     I  came  out  of  my  dressing  room  and  he  immediately  put  my  hand  on  his  arm,  leading  me  away.     We   entered   the   warm   darkness   of   his   carriage.     As   he   helped   me   in,   I   saw   Constanze   already   seated  in  the  carriage.    The  old  feelings  of  friendship  felt  subdued.    A  smile  didn’t  come  automatically.     Instead,  I  had  to  summon  it.    I  took  a  seat  next  to  her  and  Mozart  climbed  in  after  me,  sitting  across   from  us.  

-­‐ 18  -­‐  


“I assume  you  two  know  each  other,”  Mozart  said  with  a  smile.     “Wonderful  singing  tonight,”  Constanze  said.     “Thank  you,”  I  said.    “What  did  you  think  of  the  show?”     “It   was   fun,”   she   said.     I   didn’t   believe   her.     Something   in   her   voice   made   me  feel   uncontrollably   cold.    I  fought  back  a  shiver.     “I’m  glad  to  see  you  were  able  to  come,”  I  said.    “I  know  Herr  Mozart  was  afraid  you  wouldn’t  be   well  enough.”     “I’m  glad  to  be  well  again,”  she  said.    “The  doctor  said  that  I’ve  almost  fully  recovered.     Now  life   can  go  back  to  normal.”     She  looked  intently  at  Mozart  with  her  large,  brown  eyes.    Mozart  looked  back  with  his  equally   large  blue  eyes  although  his  gaze  was  pleading  more  than  accusatory.       Constanze’s  anger  was  suffocating.    The  carriage  felt  too  small,  too  hot.    I  willed  the  carriage  to   drive  faster.     How  different  this  trip  was  from  last  night’s!    How  quickly  things  could  change!       The   night   continued   in   much   the   same   way.     I   could   barely   enjoy   myself   at   the   party   because   Mozart  was  working  so  hard  to  keep  everyone  happy.    Constanze  was  upset  and  trying  to  hide  it  with   silence.     The   tension   between   them   and   within   each   of   them   was   too   much   to   deal   with.     I   watched   them   from   across   Signor   da   Ponte’s   parlor   and   it   felt   like   something   was   rotting   inside   of   me.     My   emotions  had  become  tied  up  in  them.    How  had  I  let  this  happen?    How  had  I  become  so  dependent?     Vincenzo  sidled  up  beside  me  and  I  didn’t  notice  until  he  said,     “What  is  so  interesting?”     I  nearly  spilled  my  wine  all  over  him  from  surprise.     “Vin,  don’t  do  that.”     “I’ve  never  seen  you  so  intent.    What  are  you  looking  at?”     I  considered  not  telling  him.    But  I  couldn’t  hold  it  in.    I  said,     “The  Mozarts.    There’s  something  awful  between  them  tonight.”     Vincenzo  nodded.     “They   can   get   into   the   most   terrible   fights.     Constanze   can   hold   her   anger   for   days.     Mozart   always   tries   desperately   to   smooth   things   over   immediately,   but   she’s   too   stubborn.     She   doesn’t   let   things  go.”     “I   wonder   what   they   could   be   fighting   about,”   I   said.     I   didn’t   dare   voice   my   suspicions   as   to   the   answer  to  that.    I  hoped  my  thoughts  were  wrong.     “It  could  be  anything,”  Vincenzo  said.    “Don’t  bother  yourself  over  it.    It’ll  be  over  soon  enough.”     “I  hope  so,”  I  said.     “I  know  so,”  he  said.    “They  love  each  other  too  much.”     He  smiled  at  me,  saying,     “Marriage  is  a  strange  thing.    You’ll  understand  it  one  day.”     I  hoped  so.    Although,  the  way  things  were  going…     I  looked  across  the  room  at  Mozart  and  music  rushed  through  my  head.    All  that  magical  music   that  so  easily  pulled  at  my  heart,  so  quickly  changed  who  I  thought  I  was.    Feelings  pounded  through   me  and  I  thought,     Damn  it  all.    One  look  should  dissuade  me.    He  has  Constanze  on  his  arm.    He’s  a  married  man.     Constanze’s   my   friend.     There’s   no   way   around   that.     Normally   the   thought   of   loving   a   married   man   would   never   cross   my   mind.     What’s   wrong   with   me?     What   has   happened   to   me   in   the   past   few   months?    When  did  things  start  to  break  down?     Mozart  caught  me  looking  and  smiled  at  me  from  across  the  room.     “Louise?”    

-­‐ 19  -­‐  


The voice  belonged  to  Vincenzo.     “Yes?”  I  asked.     “You’re  acting  so  strange  tonight.    We  just  had  a  fantastic  premiere.    You  should  be  elated.”     He   was   right.     Nothing   was   the   way   it   should   have   been.     My   unwarranted   emotions   were   ruining  everything.     But  I  couldn’t  tell  Vincenzo  that.    Here  I  stopped  telling  him  the  truth.     I  smiled  at  him,  saying,     “I’m  okay.    I  guess  it’s  all  so  overwhelming.    I’m  not  sure  how  to  feel.”     “Understandable,”  he  said.    “Just  try  to  enjoy  yourself.    This  may  never  happen  again.”     “You’re  right,”  I  said.    “I  think  I’ll  go  congratulate  Pietro.”     “Yeah,”  Vincenzo  said,  “go  congratulate  him  on  his  self-­‐control.”     “Vincenzo,  you’re  so  bad.”     He  shrugged,  then  said,     “Teresa’s   giving   me   the   signal.     I   need   to   go   talk   to   her.     I’ll   come   get   you   when   she   wants   to   leave.”     He   kissed   me   on   the   cheek   and   went   across   the   room   to   his   wife.     I   stood   there,   unsure   what   to   do   with   myself.     Mozart   must   have   noticed   me   standing   there   looking   lost   because   he   whispered   something  to  Constanze  and  they  started  towards  me.    I  stood  there,  helpless,  as  they  came  closer.    My   heart  started  its  restless  beating  and  I  had  to  force  myself  to  breathe  normally.    I  felt  like  I  was  15  again   and  I  hated  it.     “Mademoiselle  Villeneuve,”  he  said,  kissing  my  hand.    “Are  you  enjoying  yourself?”     I  nodded  and  smiled.    He  smiled  back  and  I  wondered  if  he  knew.    Could  he  tell?    Was  I  being   obvious?     “Constanze  is  rather  tired,”  he  said,  “so  we’re  heading  home.    Do  you  have  a  way  home?”     “Yes,”  I  answered.    “Vincenzo  and  Teresa  are  set  on  taking  me.    Thank  you  for  asking.”     “That  Vincenzo  is  always  stealing  you  from  me,”  he  said  playfully.    “So,  what  are  you  going  to  do   with  your  day  off  tomorrow?”     “Sleep,”  I  said.    “I  need  it.”     “Don’t  we  all,”  he  said.    “Well,  then,  we’ll  say  good  night.”     “Good  night,”  I  said  to  them  both.     “Good  night,”  Constanze  said,  leaning  in  to  kiss  me  on  the  cheek.    The  touch’s  sterility  upset  me.     I  reached  out  and  squeezed  her  hand,  trying  to  bring  some  warmth  back  into  the  situation.    She  went   away  without  a  reaction.     “Good  night,  dear,”  Mozart  said,  kissing  my  hand  again.    He  let  Constanze  walk  away  and  as  he   passed  by  me,  he  pressed  his  cheek  to  mine  and  simultaneously  pushed  something  into  my  free  hand.     His  clean-­‐shaven  face  was  cool  against  mine.    I  hoped  that  he  didn’t  feel  how  flushed  my  face  was.    It   must  have  seemed  so  warm  against  his  cold  skin.     He  left  without  another  glance  backward  at  me.     I   looked   down   at   what   he’d   given   to   me   and   saw   that   it   was   a   piece   of   folded   paper.     Not   wanting  to  open  it  here,  I  quickly  hid  it  in  my  purse.    I  wanted  so  badly  to  know  what  was  written  on  it!     A  thrill  of  anticipation  raced  from  my  feet  upward.         Vincenzo  and  Teresa  will  probably  want  to  leave  soon,  I  thought.    Once  I’m  home,  it’ll  be  safe  to   open  it.     I  smiled  at  the  prospect  and  floated  through  the  rest  of  the  party,  smiling  at  every  little  incident.    

-­‐ 20  -­‐  


January 27,  1790       I  sat  on  my  bed,  pulling  my  knees  to  my  chest.    The  light  of  mid-­‐morning  flooded  the  room  but  it   did   not   affect   me.     I   buried   my   face   in   my   legs,   willing   the   outside   world   to   disappear.     Why   did   everything  have  to  be  so  convoluted?     I  picked  up  my  head  and  stared  at  the  two  objects  beside  me  on  the  bed.     The  first:  Mozart’s  letter  from  last  night.    It  was  crumpled  from  my  hasty  move  of  smashing  it   into  my  purse.    I  could  see  bits  of  his  handwriting  between  the  uneven  folds.     The  second:  my  mother’s  wedding  ring.    It  had  come  in  the  mail  for  me  today.    Apparently  my   family   members   had   gone   through   all   of   my   mother’s   things   and   found   it   in   her   will   that   I   have   her   wedding   ring.     They’d   sent   it   to   me   with   a   lovely   note,   but   I’d   left   that   on   my   clavier.     The   small   golden   circle  glared  accusingly  at  me.     I  picked  up  Mozart’s  letter  and  decided  to  face  it  again.    I  read  it  carefully,  meditating  on  each   word:     Dearest  Louise,     My  dear,  my  Liebchen,  I  can  no  longer  hold  back  what  must  be  said.    I  cannot  bear  to  keep  this   from  you  any  longer.    I  must  speak  with  you.    Will  you  meet  me?    Constanze  is  out  visiting  tomorrow.     Will  you  come  to  my  place  during  the  day?    I  intend  to  discuss  things  while  the  sun  is  still  out,  for  the   cover  of  dark  would  suggest  the  wrong  intentions.   I  shall  be  anxiously  awaiting  your  coming,  my  Fiordiligi.   Always  yours  with  much  love,   Mozart   I  let  the  letter  fall  to  the  bed,  covering  my  mother’s  ring.    I  immediately  felt  guilty  and  moved   the  letter  so  I  could  pick  up  the  ring.    I  turned  the  small  gold  object  over  between  my  fingers.    It  was   pure   and   smooth   to   the   touch.     I   couldn’t   help   but   remember   it   on   my   mother’s   finger.     The   image   brought  a  smile  and  tears.   I  caressed  the  ring  and  thought,   Oh,   Mother,   why   can’t   you   be   here   now?     You   left   me   when   I   needed   you   most.     You   could   always  make  things  right.    Why  can’t  you  do  the  same  thing  now?   I  thought  of  all  the  times  we’d  sat  at  the  kitchen  table  discussing  life,  love,  God…anything  and   everything.    How  many  of  those  profound  conversations  had  we  had?    Mother  was  so  wise.    She  always   knew  what  to  say,  how  to  deal  with  things.       All  those  promises  I’d  made  her!    I  told  her  I’d  live  my  life  right.    I’d  treat  people  right.    I’d  wait   for  the  right  man.    I’d  do  things  with  purity  and  a  solid  conscience.   Did  those  things  matter  now?    Had  my  promises  died  with  her?   My  tears  of  sorrow  turned  to  tears  of  anger.    It  was  all  too  much.    I  shouldn’t  have  to  deal  with   this.    It  was  unfair  to  ask  it  of  me.   I’d  been  abandoned.    It  was  time  to  act  for  myself.   I   looked   down   at   Mozart’s   letter,   my   anger   pulling   me   toward   a   decision.     I   dropped   the   ring   on   the  bed  and  picked  up  the  letter.   I  would  go.   Vincenzo’s  words  of  warning  resounded  in  my  memory.    Be  careful.   He  isn’t  in  my  situation,  I  thought.    He  doesn’t  know  how  I  feel.    He  doesn’t  know  what  I  need.     Besides,  I’m  just  going  to  talk.    There’s   nothing   wrong   with   talking.     I’m  not  doing  anything  wrong.    I’m   just  going  to  hear  Mozart  out.   I’ve  lost  so  much.    Why  can’t  I  have  this  one  thing  that  I’ve  found?   I   stood   to   my   feet   and   started   to   get   ready.     I   picked   my   prettiest   dress   and   shoes.     I’d   hire   a   carriage.    Plans  started  forming  as  I  dressed.    

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Yes, yes,  I  thought.    That  is  how  it  will  be.    I  am  my  own  woman.    I  will  do  what  I  please.    I’m  tired   of  doing  things  the  “right  way.”    I’m  going  to  do  them  my  way  now.    I’m  going  to  take  what  life  never   deigned  to  give  me.   I  finished  dressing  and  headed  for  the  door.   The  ringing  of  the  Stephansdom  bells  echoed  through  my  room.    I  stopped,  not  even  breathing   as  I  listened  to  each  toll.   Finally  the  resounding  of  the  twelfth  bell  dissipated  and  I  was  released.   Yet   something   kept   me   from   leaving.     I   felt   as   though   I   was   forgetting   something—something   immensely  important.    I  looked  around  the  room,  trying  to  think  of  what  it  might  be.   My   gaze   caught   on   my   mother’s   ring   sitting   innocently   on   the   bed.     It   called   to   me,   paralyzed   me.    It  wouldn’t  let  me  leave  without  it.       I   fought   the   terrible   feeling   in   my   chest   for   a   moment   then   gave   in,   walking   slowly   to   the   bed.     I   picked  up  my  mother’s  wedding  ring  and  quickly  slipped  it  onto  my  right  hand’s  ring  finger.    The  fit  was   disturbingly  perfect.   I  didn’t  look  at  it  anymore,  but  I  felt  its  weight  the  entire  way  to  Mozart’s  place.     I   heard   clavier   music   through   the   door.     Had   it   been   warmer   outside,   I   would   have   delayed   stating   my   presence   just   so   I   could   listen   to   it.     But   it   was   too   cold   to   wait.     I   raised   my   hand   and   knocked  on  the  door.   The  music  stopped  at  once.    Heavy  feet  stamped  down  the  stairs  and  the  door  opened  with  a   powerful  force.    Mozart  stood  in  the  doorway,  staring  at  me  in  disbelief.    He  had  his  blue  suit  on.   “You  came,”  he  said.    There  was  something  so  hopeful  and  childish  in  his  expression  and  tone.    I   wanted  to  laugh,  but  I  chose  to  smile  instead.   “I  did,”  I  said.   He   stood   there   a   moment,   simply   looking   at   me.     It   was   as   though   he   expected   me   to   disappear   like  some  teasing  shade.       “It’s  cold,”  I  said.   “Oh,  of  course,”  he  muttered.    He  stepped  aside  and  said,  “Come  in.”   He  was  all  energy  as  he  closed  the  door  and  followed  me  up  the  stairs.   “I’m  sorry  the  maid  wasn’t  here  to  let  you  in,”  he  chattered.    “She  accompanied  Constanze  and   Karl.    It’s  just  the  two  of  us  here.”   He   spoke   nonchalantly   but   the   words   held   an   unmistakable   depth   of   meaning.     I   didn’t   say   anything  in  return.   We  reached  his  apartment.    He  took  my  things  and  told  me  I  could  go  into  the  parlor  and  make   myself  at  home.    How  ironic.    If  only  he  knew  how  much  this  room  meant  to  me.   I  was  simply  standing  in  the  middle  of  the  room,  soaking  in  the  atmosphere,  when  he  came  in.     He  smiled  at  me  as  though  he  found  my  behavior  overwhelmingly  adorable  and  gestured  for  me  to  sit   on  the  loveseat.    I  sat  obediently,  watching  him  incessantly.    He  looked  straight  at  me  with  his  blue  eyes   and   everything   that   I   loved   about   him   was   there   in   that   moment.     If   only   he   would   go   over   to   the   clavier.    Then  I  would  truly  be  undone.   He  did  not  go  to  the  clavier.    Instead,  he  spoke.   “Since  it  was  I  who  invited  you  here,  I  shall  begin  the  talking,”  he  said.    “There’s  no  other  way  to   say  this  except  straight  out.    I  love  you,  Louise.”   The  words  weren’t  totally  unexpected,  but  they  still  shocked  me.   “I  couldn’t  keep  it  from  you  anymore,”  he  said.    “I  had  to  tell  you.”   I  wanted  to  say  something  but  the  words  stuck  in  my  throat.   He  took  my  hand  and  kept  talking.   “I’ve   had   little   passionettes,   as   da   Ponte   likes   to   call   them,   but   this   is   different.     I’ve   never   taken    

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things this  far.    You  are  so  much  to  me.    You’ve  brought  such  music  from  me.    You’re  an  inspiration— my   muse.     You’re   like   no   one   I’ve   ever   known.     Music   just   flows   right   through   you   into   me.     I   feel   connected  to  you  in  a  way  that  I  can’t  explain.    This  is  something  special  –  I  cannot  deny  that.    Do  you   feel  it,  too?”   I  couldn’t  lie  to  him.   “I  do,”  I  answered.   “You  do!”  he  said,  rapture  on  his  face.   I  took  hold  of  his  other  hand,  suddenly  wanting  to  be  close  to  him.   “But  what  are  we  to  do?”  I  asked.   “I  was  hoping  you  would  know.”   He   just   looked   at   me,   a   dangerous   question   in   his   eyes.     I   looked   back   at   him   and   the   silence   pressed  on  my  chest  like  a  corset  tied  too  tightly.   Suddenly   Mozart’s   gentle   yet   strong   fingers   were   on   my   exposed   neck,   moving   upward.     My   heart  raced.    I  reciprocated  by  touching  my  fingertips  to  his  cheek.    The  space  between  us  decreased.   Right   before   our   lips  met,  I   caught   sight   of  the   ring  on  my  finger.    All   the   promises  flooded  back.     I  turned  my  face  at  the  last  moment  and  he  kissed  my  cheek  instead.   He  moved  back  and  took  his  hand  away,  obviously  confused.   “What’s  the  matter,  dear  one?”  he  asked.   I  feel  like  a  traitor.   “Don’t  you  love  me?”  he  asked.   “Oh,  I  do,”  I  said.    “Terribly  so.    More  than  anyone  else  I’ve  ever  known.”   “Then  what  are  you  afraid  of?”   “I’m  not  afraid,”  I  said.   “Then  what’s  the  matter?    Why  won’t  you  let  me  kiss  you?”   Contrasting  emotions  raged  inside  of  me.    My  heart  was  a  bloody  battlefield  and  I  was  feeling   every   death.     I   wanted   so   much   to   give   in   to   him.     I   wanted   to   scream   “I   want   to   kiss   you!”   but   the   words   wouldn’t   come   out.     My   body   was   no   longer   obeying   my   commands.     I   couldn’t   move   toward   him  even  if  I  wanted  to.   I  didn’t  have  to,  because  he  came  to  me.    He  moved  closer,  taking  both  of  my  hands.   “Dear   one,”   he   said   softly.     “Please   don’t   reject   me.”     His   words   were   beginning   to   thaw   the   frost   that   had   settled   over   me.     I   leaned   against   him   and   he   put   his   arm   around   me.     I   let   my   head   nestle  against  his  chest.    His  scent  –  candles,  ink,  and  something  else  indistinguishable  –  filled  me.    I  felt   myself  relaxing  against  him.    How  nice  it  felt  to  be  held  like  this!   “I  could  never  reject  you,”  I  said  into  the  lace  of  his  shirt.   He   heaved   a   sigh   of   relief.     His   breath   lifted   and   lowered   my   head.     I   wanted   to   stay   there,   listening  to  him  breathe,  forever.    I  wanted  him  to  be  mine,  to  belong  to  me.    Was  that  asking  so  much?   “Why  can’t  we  be  together?”    The  words  came  out  of  my  mouth  despite  my  better  judgment.   “Why  can’t  we?”  he  asked.   I  sat  up.   “It’s  all  painfully  obvious,”  I  said.    “You’re  married.”   The  word  hung  in  the  air  like  a  deadly  poison.    Suddenly  everything  was  sharp  and  clear.   “I  shouldn’t  even  be  here,”  I  said,  standing.    “I  don’t  know  what  I’m  doing.”   “’Non  so  piu  cosa  son,  cosa  faccio,’”  he  quoted.    I  no  longer  know  who  I  am,  what  I’m  doing.   “That’s   what   Cherubino   says,”   he   said   with   a   smile.     “Must   you   always   be   so   noble,   my   Fiordiligi?”   His  words  were  said  lightly,  but  they  cut  me  deeply.    He  called  me  ‘my  Fiordiligi.’    I  wanted  to  be   his!   “I’m  not  so  noble,”  I  said.    “It’s  just…”    You’re  not  what  I  need.    

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It was  all  so  unfair.   He  reached  from  his  seat  on  the  couch  and  took  my  hand,  trying  to  bring  me  to  his  side  once   again.   “Liebchen,”  he  cooed.    “Come  here.    Calm  yourself.”   As  he  caressed  my  hand,  he  noticed  the  ring  on  my  finger.   “What  is  this?”  he  asked.   “It  was  my  mother’s,”  I  said.    “It  came  for  me  this  morning.”   He  examined  it,  his  expression  perturbed.    It  seemed  like  he  wanted  to  ask  a  question  but  kept   himself  from  doing  so.    Instead  he  said,   “It  is  so  unassuming,  just  like  you.”   I  could  only  nod  and  let  him  pull  me  down  to  the  couch.    My  stomach  felt  like  it  was  eating  itself.     I  thought:  why  does  love  feel  so  horrible?   Mozart  brushed  the  back  of  his  fingers  on  my  cheek.   “You  are  so  beautiful,”  he  said.    I  blushed.   “Why  can’t  I  have  you?”  he  asked.    He  leaned  in  to  kiss  me.    Something  in  me  knew  that  one  kiss   would  undo  me.    Once  I  stepped  in,  there  would  be  no  more  resistance.    Fiordiligi’s  fatal  words  crossed   my  mind:  Fa  di  me  quel  che  ti  par.    Do  with  me  what  you  want.    The  words  scared  me.   When  he  got  close,  I  asked  the  question  that  had  been  unspoken  all  along:   “What  about  Constanze?”   He  moved  back  abruptly.   “We  both  know  it’s  wrong,”  I  said.    “I  wish  it  wasn’t  like  this,  but  it  is.    I  can’t  reconcile  it.”   “Louise,”   he   said,   his   voice   strained,   “you’ve   seduced   me   and   now   you   push   me   away.     Why   would  you  do  this?”   “I  seduced  you?”   “With  every  look,”  he  said,  “with  every  note  that  you  sang.    I  couldn’t  help  but  fall  in  love  with   you.”    His  face  was  pale,  as  though  he  was  in  pain.       “I  didn’t  mean  for  any  of  this,”  I  said,  my  voice  starting  to  break.   “Don’t  be  upset,”  he  said.    “I  didn’t  mean  to  blame  you.”   His  words  came  too  late.    I  could  feel  the  tears  starting  already.    They  stung  as  they  fought  to  be   released.    A  tear  fell  down  my  face  and  Mozart  saw  it  immediately.    I  hated  to  show  such  emotion  in   front  of  anyone,  least  of  all  the  man  I  was  trying  to  resist,  but  self-­‐reproof  made  me  even  more  upset.   “Oh,  my  dear,”  he  said.    “This  is  not  what  I  wanted.    Here,  I’ll  make  you  feel  better.”   He  stood  and  moved  over  to  his  clavier.    He  opened  the  lid  and  started  to  play  a  gay  little  tune.     It  was  all  useless.    The  music  swept  over  me  and  made  me  cry  all  the  more.    I  hid  it  with  my  hands  until   Mozart  gave  up  at  the  clavier  and  came  over,  pulling  me   to   him.     I   cried   on   his   shoulder,   unaware   of   all   else.   After  a  few  minutes,  I  moved  away  and  he  offered  me  his  handkerchief.    I  took  it  and  as  I  looked   at  him,  I  saw  that  he  had  tears  in  his  eyes  as  well.    I  felt  extremely  vulnerable.    Everything  in  me  was   screaming  out  for  the  things  I  wanted:  love,  comfort,  to  belong  to  someone…    And  here  was  the  man   I’d  come  to  love,  sitting  so  close  beside  me  with  tears  in  his  eyes.    Willing,  waiting…    The  temptation   was  so  strong.    I  could  feel  my  strength  wearing  thin.    I  did  the  only  thing  I  could  think  of.   “God,  help  me,”  I  whispered.   That  hadn’t  worked  for  Fiordiligi,  but  my  life  wasn’t  a  libretto  written  by  Lorenzo  da  Ponte.   I  felt  a  new  resolve  in  me.    I  suddenly  wanted  space,  time...    I  looked  up  at  Mozart  and  for  one   moment,  I  felt  that  I  had  a  bit  of  control.   I  held  his  gaze  and  smiled  lightly,  asking,   “Can  I  ask  you  for  something?”   “Anything,”  he  said  quickly.    I  saw  hope  return  to  him.    

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“I want  some  time.    Not  too  much  –  just  a  few  days.    I  want  time  to  think  this  through.”   He  said  with  reserve,   “If  that  is  what  you  wish.”   “Sunday,”  I  said.    “No  longer,  I  promise.”   He  smiled.   I   took   his   hand,   feeling   a   tingling   again.     I   chose   my   words   carefully,   thinking   through   my   German  before  speaking.    It  was  my  third  language  after  all.   “I  want  to  make  sure  you  understand,”  I  said.    “I  don’t  want  you  to  lose  the  meaning  because  of   my  German.”   “Then  we’ll  use  your  language,”  he  said  in  perfect  French.    I  was  astonished.   “Thank  you,”  I  said.    Then,  going  back  to  the  subject  at  hand,  I  continued,  “I’m  not  backing  out.    I   just  need  time  to  think.    That’s  how  I  work.    If  I  make  a  decision,  it’s  with  everything  in  me.”   He  smiled  and  touched  my  cheek  affectionately.   “That’s  why  I  love  you,  my  Fiordiligi,”  he  said.    He  watched  me,  adoration  in  his  eyes.       “I  should  have  expected  you  to  say  this,”  he  said  softly,  tracing  my  jaw  with  his  fingers.     “I  do   understand  you  as  well  as  I  thought.    You  see—people  don’t  understand  me,  but  I  understand  them.    I   can  see  how  people  think,  how  they  work.    I’m  like  a  tinker:  I  can  open  a  clock  and  understand  what   makes  it  tick.    Only  instead  of  clocks,  I  open  people.”   He  leaned  closer  to  me,  whispering,   “So  that’s  my  secret:  I  know  how  you  tick,  Louise.    And  that’s  why  I  love  you.”   I   thought   I   would   melt   away.     Hearing   those   words   from   anyone,   and   especially   in   my   own   language,  was  almost  too  much  to  handle.       I  smiled  at  him  without  thinking  about  it  and  he  smiled  back.   “I  need  to  go,”  I  said  quietly.   “Then   you   may,”   he   said,   standing   and   extending   his   hand   to   help   me   up.     I   took   it   and   he   drew   me  close,  pressing  his  body  against  mine  and  kissing  my  cheek.   “I’ll  get  your  things,”  he  said  and  disappeared  down  the  hallway.  

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Opera Companies: Outreach Programs in America On  the  hit  CBS  show,  The  Big  Bang  Theory,  several  of  the  main  characters  brainstorm  ideas  to   get  more  women  interested  in  the  hard  sciences.    Sheldon,  the  self-­‐declared  brains  of  the   group,  makes  a  very  important  statement.    He  says,  “All  your  ideas  address  the  issue  at  a   university  level.    By  then,  it’s  too  late.    You  need  to  design  an  outreach  program  that  targets   girls  at  the  middle  school  level  and  sets  them  on  an  academic  track  towards  the  hard  sciences.”     Similar  in  concept,  the  future  of  the  opera  industry  is  very  heavily  tied  to  the  state  of  arts   education,  especially  in  America.      Several  opera  companies  seem  to  have  caught  onto  the   necessity  of  investing  in  children,  for  building  young  fans  is  an  excellent  way  to  make  the  art   form  accessible  and  invest  in  future  opera  lovers.    We  have  highlighted  various  opera  outreach   programs  in  several  major  opera  companies  in  America.    Please  write  to  us  and  let  us  know   what  you  think.    Do  you  think  these  programs  are  effective?      

The Dallas Opera One of  the  leading  opera  companies  in  the  country,  the  Dallas  Opera  has  hosted  and   continues  to  host  some  of  the  best  stars  and  productions  of  the  opera  world.    In  addition  to  its   excellent  programming,  the  Dallas  Opera  has  one  of  the  best  music  education  outreach   programs  in  the  country.     Dallas  Opera  has  two  types  of  outreach  programs.    The  first  is  a  two-­‐day  residency  program   called  “Dallas  Opera  in  a  Suitcase.”    It  is  an  after  school  program  for  students  grades  K-­‐6.     Members  of  the  Dallas  Opera  will  go  out  to  different  schools.    On  the  first  day  of  the  program,   the  opera  staff  introduces  opera  to  the  students.    They  explain  to  the  students  what  opera  is,   and  then  they  introduce  different  aspects  of  performing  an  opera  (lighting,  costume,  etc.).    On   the  second  day,  the  students  will  watch  a  performance  of  and  opera  called  Jack  &  the   Beanstalk.    In  addition  to  the  after  school  programs,  the  Dallas  Opera  also  has  an  in-­‐school   program  targeted  towards  students  in  grades  3-­‐8.    The  opera  company  will  take  a  45-­‐minute   opera  into  the  school  and  do  a  full  performance  with  a  piano.     The  Dallas  Opera’s  school  programs  are  aligned  with  the  state  standards  for  curriculum  and   lessons.    In  fact,  schoolteachers  are  asked  to  help  write  the  curriculum  for  the  Dallas  Opera   programs.    Therefore,  teachers  need  not  worry  about  spending  time  on  material  that  does  not   meet  state  standards.      The  Dallas  Opera  also  provides  teacher-­‐training  sessions  about  how  to   incorporate  opera  into  their  curriculum,  and  the  teachers  who  show  interest  are  not  just  music   teachers;  they  range  from  math  teachers  to  librarians.       The  Dallas  Opera  also  invites  high  school  students  to  dress  rehearsals.    Up  to  1000  dress   rehearsal  tickets  are  offered,  free  of  charge.       Last  year  alone,  through  all  of  these  education  programs,  the  Dallas  Opera  reached  over   25,000  students.    With  the  community  outreach  programs,  including  dress  rehearsals,   simulcast,  hospital  and  nursing  home  programs,  over  90,000  people  were  reached.      You  can   find  more  information  about  their  programs  at  http://dallasopera.org/learn/.     -­‐  26  -­‐  


San Francisco Opera By Jane  Hoffman   The  San  Francisco  Opera,  the  second  largest  opera  company  in  the  United  States,  is   renowned  for  its  ambitious  programming  and  prescient  casting  choices.  They  offer  a  wide  array   of  educational  programs  that  range  from  educational  and  outreach  programs  for  school  age   children,  to  programs  designed  to  welcome  families  and  first-­‐time  audience  members.   SFO’s  educational  programs  empower  educators  and  schools  to  make  the  best  choices  for   their  students  by  emphasizing  flexibility  and  interdisciplinary  integration.  Each  program  is   designed  to  blend  seamlessly  into  any  school’s  curriculum.  Opera  ARIA  (Arts  Resources  in   Action)  encompasses  a  series  of  programs  which  promote  three  core  principles:  cooperation   between  educators  and  teaching  artists,  adaptable  content  and  implementation,  and   professional  development  for  educators.  Each  level  of  the  ARIA  program  is  tailored  to  a   different  amount  of  classroom  time  and  grade  level.  SFO  encourages  educators  to  adapt  the   program  to  fit  their  needs  and  the  needs  of  their  students.  SFO  offers  educators  hours  of   professional  development  that  includes  integrating  the  program  and  planning  classroom   activities.  Although  the  ARIA  program  includes  the  option  of  a  visit  by  SFO  resident  artists,  the   program  does  not  focus  solely  on  performers.  Schools  can  receive  visits  from  costume  staff,  set,   or  prop  staff,  tours  of  the  history  War  Memorial  Opera  House  and  tickets  to  dress  rehearsals,   simulcasts,  and  student  performances.  SFO  offers  educators  the  option  to  simply  attend   professional  development  sessions,  giving  them  the  opportunity  to  incorporate  opera  in  their   classrooms  as  they  see  fit.  Finally,  the  San  Francisco  Opera  Guild  offers  many  programs  of  its   own  which  cater  to  every  age  group  and  commitment  level.  Together  they  offer  educational   programs  to  fit  many  different  situations,  and  encourage  educators  to  mold  them  to  fit  their   own  needs.   SFO  also  welcomes  new  audiences  to  its  own  performances  via  educational  programs   centered  on  performances  at  the  opera  house.  Even  the  most  inexperienced  audience  member   can  feel  right  at  home  at  the  opera  by  taking  advantage  of  some  of  their  introductory  programs.   For  adults,  SFO  offers  free  pre-­‐performance  lectures  at  every  performance  that  cover  the   music,  story,  and  historical  background  of  each  opera  in  less  than  half  an  hour.  The  San   Francisco  Opera  Guild  offers  pre-­‐performance  panels  on  selected  evenings.  Working  together   with  Opera  Guilds  from  the  Bay  Area,  the  San  Francisco  Opera  Guild  invites  composers,  singers,   librettists,  and  musicologists  to  share  their  insights  into  the  works  being  performed.  New   audience  members  can  also  participate  in  an  Opera  Workshop,  which  give  participants  a   behind-­‐the-­‐scenes  look  at  how  an  opera  is  created;  a  Workshop  next  month  will  be  led  by   composer  Tobias  Picker  and  will  cover  the  creation  of  new  operas.  Even  the  SFO’s  website   offers  resources  for  those  who  are  not  opera  regulars.  Their  concise  guides  to  “Opera  Basics”   (courtesy  of  San  Diego  Opera  and  Elizabeth  Otten)  and  “New  to  Opera?”  cover  the  most   frequently  asked  questions  in  a  warm  and  casual  manner.              

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The Metropolitan Opera By Naomi  Sankaran   The  Metropolitan  Opera  is  one  of  many  opera  companies  that  takes  an  interest  in  educating   people  about  opera  and  making  them  feel  involved  in  the  opera  community.  They  run  both   community  and  student  programs.  The  student  education  programs  have  reached  over  1600   schools  in  20  different  states.  In  the  classroom,  students  learn  about  the  different  arts  that   make  up  opera:  writing  the  librettos,  acting  out  scenes,  composing  music,  and  designing   costumes  and  sets.  Then  they  have  the  Access  Opera  program  which  provides  classes  with  the   opportunity  to  see  a  dress  rehearsal  at  the  Met  itself.  The  students  can  study  the  opera  that   they  are  going  to  attend  in  school  before  they  go  to  the  performance.  The  aim  is  to  help  them   learn  about  the  music  and  words  of  the  opera  and  how  it  can  be  interpreted  in  different  ways   by  different  directors,  conductors,  and  singers.  The  Met  emphasises  that,  as  opera  is  developing   and  changing  constantly,  it’s  important  that  it  is  approached  from  new  perspectives.     Even  those  of  us  who  live  a  long  way  away  from  New  York  are  aware  of  what  the  Met  does   through  their  radio  and  Live  in  HD  cinema  broadcasts.  The  cinema  broadcasts  are  also  used  for   the  Met’s  HD  Live  in  Schools  program,  in  which  classes  and  their  teachers  are  given  tickets  to  go   to  a  performance  in  a  local  cinema.  The  Met  provides  teachers  with  suggestions  for  activities  in   lessons  that  relate  to  the  opera  that  they  are  going  to  see.  Afterwards,  the  students  know   something  about  the  opera’s  music  and  plot  and  can  discuss  the  performance  and  think  about   what  they  liked  or  disliked  about  it.  Of  course,  many  teachers  will  not  be  confident  in  their   knowledge  of  opera.  The  Met  tries  to  help  with  this  by  offering  workshops  on  introducing  opera   in  schools.   The  Met  also  tries  to  help  create  an  opera  community  and  get  more  adults  interested  in   opera.  Their  main  work  in  this  area  is  the  lectures  which  take  place  at  the  Met.  The  lectures   vary  from  masterclasses  and  interviews  with  singers  to  discussions  about  the  characters  and   plots  of  certain  operas.  The  Met  also  offers  backstage  tours  for  the  public  so  that  people  can   see  how  every  part  of  opera  comes  together  to  make  the  productions  that  we  see  on  stage.          

Lyric Opera of Chicago By Valerie  Demma   Lyric  Opera  of  Chicago  has  a  long  history  with  its  educational  outreach  programs.  Catering   not  only  to  young  children  but  to  the  adults,  students,  and  teachers  of  the  Chicagoland   community,  Lyric  is  committed  to  introducing  opera  to  people  at  all  stages  of  life.     Lyric’s  grade-­‐school  programs  include  OperaKids  and  Opera  in  the  Neighborhoods.   OperaKids  is  open  to  children  in  grades  1-­‐6  and  is  open  to  schools  across  the  Chicagoland  area.   OperaKids  prepares  students  for  a  performance  of  an  original  work  through  in-­‐classroom   sessions  which  are  led  by  teaching  artists  from  Lyric  that  involve  music  study,  creative  writing,   drama,  and  movement.  Teachers  are  also  prepared  for  these  sessions  with  professional   development  workshops.  The  program  is  quite  popular  and,  more  often  than  not,  reaches   capacity  far  before  the  deadline  (as  is  the  case  with  this  upcoming  school  year).  Opera  in  the   Neighborhoods  is  an  opera  presented  by  Lyric  that  is  tailored  to  younger  audiences.  Produced  

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by the  Patrick  G.  and  Shirley  W.  Ryan  Opera  Center,  the  production  is  usually  a  kid-­‐friendly  one.     This  year’s  selection  is  The  Barber  of  Seville  and  is  performed  by  singers  from  Lyric’s  young   professionals  program.  The  performances  are  in  English  and  the  story  is  abridged  in  order  to   make  it  a  bit  easier  for  young  audiences  to  sit  through.  The  performances  are  fully  staged  and   costumed  and  accompanied  by  a  live  pianist.  Study  materials  are  provided  for  both  the   students  and  teachers.  Opera  in  the  Neighborhoods  is  performed  at  a  number  of  remote   locations  around  the  city  and  suburbs,  usually  taking  place  in  either  a  high  school  or  college.   The  program  is  geared  to  entertain  students  from  grade  3  and  up.     Lyric  also  offers  student-­‐centric  backstage  tours.  Available  to  grades  3-­‐12,  the  80-­‐minute   tour  takes  students  through  the  Civic  Opera  House  from  the  wig  department  to  the  props   displays  to  the  catwalk.  Lyric  makes  its  full-­‐length  performances  available  to  grade  school   students  during  the  course  of  opera  season.  Student  performances  are  offered  at  a  discounted   rate.  This  gives  students  the  opportunity  to  experience  a  fully-­‐staged  opera  in-­‐house,  up  close   and  personal.     In  addition  to  its  grade  school  programming,  Lyric  also  offers  the  Teen  Opera  Circle.  This   program  allows  junior  high  and  high  school-­‐aged  students  the  opportunity  to  experience  opera   through  in-­‐depth,  guided  study.  In  addition  to  attending  a  performance,  students  also  attend  a   dress  rehearsal  and  are  assisted  by  Lyric’s  teaching  artists.  Lyric  also  provides  resources  for   teachers  to  bring  opera  into  their  classrooms.  A  mailing  list,  workshops,  and  professional   development  seminars  are  available  to  educators  interested  in  integrating  opera  into  their   classroom  teaching.  Lyric’s  educational  outreach  has  become  more  visible  in  the  past  few  years   especially  with  the  naming  of  Renée  Fleming  as  Lyric’s  first-­‐ever  Creative  Consultant  in  2010.  In   her  time  in  this  position,  Ms.  Fleming  has  made  many  school  and  public  appearances  and   worked  with  a  number  of  school  children  and  introduced  them  to  opera  through  workshops   and  school  appearances.  All  information  from  www.lyricopera.org        

Washington National Opera The Washington  National  Opera  boasts  a  thriving  education  program,  teaching  all  ages   about  the  wonders  of  opera.    For  the  younger  children,  they  have  various  programs  including   Kids  Create  Opera,  Opera  in  the  Outfield,  and  the  NSO  “petting  zoo.”    In  Kids  Create  Opera,   children  are  taught  all  the  aspects  needed  to  put  on  an  opera  and  then,  at  the  end  of  the   program,  they  stage  an  opera  of  their  own.       The  Opera  in  the  Outfield  program  lets  the  children  sit  in  on  dress  rehearsals,  experience   stage  combat  demonstrations,  and  try  on  the  costumes  that  make  up  the  opera  world.    The   NSO  Petting  Zoo  allows  the  kids  to  have  hands-­‐on  fun  with  the  instruments  in  the  orchestra.     For  adults,  WNO  hosts  “Explore  the  Arts,”  which  is  a  series  of  opportunities  for  community   members  to  become  immersed  in  the  arts  through  master  classes,  lectures,  open  rehearsals,   and  workshops.    You  can  get  more  information  and  read  about  all  of  their  education  initiatives   on  their  website  at  http://www.kennedycenter.org/education.    

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August 2013  

Music Education and Opera

August 2013  

Music Education and Opera

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