Solti-Peretti Répetitéurs Masterclasses

Project location: ITALY
Project start date: December 2008 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2008-27
Beneficiary: Accademia di Bel Canto


As Maestro Solti and many of his colleagues started their careers as répétiteurs, and in response to the Accademia's outstanding success, in close partnership with the Comune of Castiglione della Pescaia, a separate annual course for répétiteurs named Solti-Peretti Répetitéurs course was created in 2009.
Following highly competitive auditions, 6 talented young pianists were invited to attend the Solti-Peretti Répetitéurs Course, and to work principally on the Italian Operatic Repertoire with 6 singers from the Accademia's Summer Programme.

Jonathan Papp, Artistic director of the Accademia and pianist to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, led the course which took place from the 18th to the 27th of April, 2009. The other Tutors of the Accademia Solti for the Solti-Peretti Repetiteurs' course were: Pam Bullock from Chicago Lyric Opera, David Syrus from London Royal Opera House, Audrey Hyland from London Royal Academy of Music, and Roberta Biondi, Language assistant from the British School, Italy.

It was agreed by all the staff and students that this course was an extraordinary success. Not least, this was because no one has ever set up such a course before, as it was deemed impossible to teach the various requirements for being a successful coach, repetiteur and conductor.
Various aspects of the job of being a repetiteur were covered, based upon the feedback from the singers and pianists each day. These jobs were accomplished by some projects assigned before and during the course. Each day was framed by a two hour Italian class with Roberta Biondi, at the beginning and end of the day. This was hugely appreciated by the pianists, and it gave them much greater courage in their use of the text, both speaking it and singing it. In the final concert, they were able to introduce themselves and the piece they were going to perform - a skill hugely appreciated by the audience.
Their work was variously focused on playing with an orchestral awareness of the score, being able to sing in the various parts of the singers, conducting, the playing and delivery of secco recitative, as well as the conducting of recitativo accompagnato and preparation of the singers on both a 1-1 and ensemble basis.

The Faculty agreed that in future it might be included work on the art of prompting the singers, as well as devoting more time to the art of playing the scores. It was also thought that the main teaching room would benefit from having two pianos in it. It was suggested that they would all have benefitted from an introductory two hour slot at the Royal Opera House in London, where the Italian coach could have taken them through the libretti.

The final concert took place in the new boatshed of Castiglione. The concert programme was a mixture of composers. It was mainly Italian arias and ensembles, but there was Czech music, as well as Mozart. It was decided to use all six pianos together in the concert. To do this, a new task was chosen for the pianists. This was to arrange the Overture of Così Fan Tutte for six pianos. This way, combined with the Act 1 Finale of Così Fan Tutte, in which the conducting was shared, and a Donizetti extract from L'elisir d'amore, each of them had the opportunity to conduct in public.

The benefits of the course have already become apparent. David Syrus of the Royal Opera, London, invited the pianists in to watch rehearsals at the Royal Opera, and he has already ear-marked the ones that he thought had particular promise. Pam Bullock of Chicago Lyric also spoke to Maestro Pappano, who was full of enthusiasm for the project and wanted to help them with their conducting.

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