When Mrs Anne Gruner Schlumberger was alive, young musicians used to be trained by teachers at Les Treilles and concerts were organized in the music hall (the present Conference Room, equipped with an Imperial Bosendörfer).
Willing to resume with this musical tradition, the Foundation of Les Treilles decided to create a Voice Academy, directed by Ivan Alexandre (musicologist and director), aimed to offer to young professional musicians a place as well as an institutional support and allowing them to improve, not only their vocal technique, but also the art of staging.
A first master class took place from 30 October to 4 November 2017, in the estate of Les Treilles, on the theme of the Opera seria, from Handel to Mozart:
Being a vague and distant memory, the opera seria had disappeared. During the whole of the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century, it represented the abstract and artificial art of the castrates, supplanted by the emotional and “realist” singing of the Romantics, which still today represents the essence of our repertoire.
This Opera seria emerged from silence by means of a double resurrection: that of the Rossinian singing and of the baroque opera. It became then obvious that its vocalizations, ornaments, improvised cadences and forgotten language had nothing to do with a mere catalogue but, on the contrary, represented an ideal.
Born about 1700, this bel canto had been supplanted by Gluck’s dramatic genre and by the opera buffa by the end of the eighteenth century. The bel canto in the works of Porpora, Handel or young Mozart became the main object of the composition. Superhuman, the singer was the earthly messenger of a divine gift, master of an art that was opening the gates of heaven to the public who claimed in London in 1735: “One God, One Farinelli!”
But, what kind of art are we talking about? On the modern stage, for nearly half a century, the opera seria of Handel (Alcina, Ariodante, Giulio Cesare …) like that of Mozart (Mitridate, Lucio Silla …) have conquered a place that they did not enjoy even at their time. Rare until the 1980s, they are now applauded from Sydney to Aix-en-Provence and from the Staatsoper of Vienna to the Met of New York. But under what conditions? What are we really singing? How? What do we know about this lost bel canto, what can we learn from it and for what purpose?
To answer these questions, more delicate than it seems, the Foundation of Les Treilles has decided to dedicate the first session of its new Voice Academy to the opera seria. Under the direction of specialists, practice will respond to theory so that in the future, the beautiful chant will be heard again and even more forcefully.
The master class has been conducted under the direction of Yvonne Kenny (master of the course) and Ivan A. Alexandre (Director of the Academy of Voice), assisted by Alain Perroux (artistic advisor and playwright at the Aix-en-Provence Festival) and Julien Benhamou (casting director of the Opéra national de Bordeaux).
For this first master class, the deadline for the submission of applications was April 30, 2017.
The deadline for the submission of applications is 30 April 2017.