As a start for the program there is a "sing-out". Each student sings a song or aria for the rest of the program, including students and teachers. But before this, the day began with a staff and faculty meeting at the Casa de Popolo where they shared delicious pastries and coffee. Now when I say delicious pastries, I mean croissants laced with chocolate and sugar donuts stuffed with cream. The teachers got a chance to prepare for the sing-out and learn more about the students they were about to hear.
The singers began to arrive at the Torre and they looked amazing! They were dressed in gorgeous dresses and suits, which was all I could focus on for a while until they began to sing. The morning was only for the emerging artists (which means they have more experience and have had longer careers), so of course the singing was absolutely beautiful. The second they started, we were overtaken by the sound and, if I'm being honest, I did cry during some of the La Boheme pieces.
After the emerging artists had all finished we were sent to lunch. The lunch consisted of pasta with a sauce made from the meat of wild boar, roasted chicken, and salad full of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I was expecting the lunch to be like a scene from mean girls where every group is separated, but it was the opposite. People of different cultures and backgrounds were breaking bread together, literally, and it was a truly heartwarming scene.
Lunch ends in the middle of the siesta. In Italy, from 1-4 in the afternoon, it's a period of relaxation. Stores close, and a silence settles on the town. The singers are not allowed to practice so they don't disturb the peace. Instead, they get a chance to nap and rest their voices.
With the end of siesta came the beginning of the young artist sing out. Even the young artists blew the crowd away. They made up in energy what they lacked in technique. While the young artists sang, other students were sent to the Italian classes (beginner and advanced). It was a day of serious enjoyment and a great chance for the singers to meet and hear each other sing.
As a quick addition to today's piece I wanted to add a little bit about me. My name is Camilla and I interned last year for the program as a town liaison and translator to the program. This year am I interning again. I am so excited to learn more about the way the program runs, and I feel I have a special perspective because I am not a teacher or student or even a musical person.