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Master Class donnée par Dame Felicity Lott en 2018 © Olivier Monoyez

The Voice Academy

  -    -  The Voice Academy

In the founder’s lifetime, the Fondation des Treilles hosted young musicians with their professors during internships. At the end of each session, they organised concerts in the music room (today’s conference room, which has an Imperial Bösendorfer).

Wanting to reconnect with this musical tradition, the Fondation des Treilles has created an Académie de la Voix, a Voice Academy, whose role is to offer a place and institutional support to young professionals, helping them perfect not only vocal technique but also performing arts.

Each year, the master-class is supervised by renowned singers.

Moments of the 2018 season

Seasons

The 2019 Voice Academy  – Mozart… and after

Director: Ivan Alexandre, musicologist, producer and director of the Voice Academy, assisted by Julien Benhamou, director of casting and of artistic coordination of the Opéra National de Bordeaux and Alain Perroux, director of artistic administration of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Guest Professor: Dame Felicity Palmer

Lyric artists selected:

  • Soprano : Anna Dugan, Caroline Jestaedt et Cyrielle Ndjiki Nya
  • Mezzo-soprano : Adriana Bignagni Lesca et Natalie Pérez
  • Tenor : Jérémie Schutz
  • Baritone : Louis de Lavignère
  • Bass Baritone : Jean-Fernand Setti

Pianists and song coach: Annabel Thwaite and Antoine Palloc

“O privilege of genius,” marvels Sacha Guitry, “when a piece of Mozart has just been played, the silence that follows is still his.” If the silence following Mozart is still Mozart, what about the music? Wagner names Don Giovanni “opera opera”. At the end of his life, Gounod devotes an entire book to the same Don Juan, this “uninterrupted series of treasures,” adds Tchaikovsky, “with which everything that was written before and after turns pale.”

If the silence following Mozart is still Mozart, what about music? Wagner names Don Giovanni “the best of operas”. At the end of his life, Gounod devotes an entire book to the same Don Juan, this “uninterrupted series of treasures,” adds Tchaikovsky, “with which everything that was written before and after turns pale.” The opera that succeeds Mozart is still his: this will be our theme in 2019. Under the expert and thoughtful eye of Dame Felicity Palmer, we will explore together the various and often contrary paths that connect Mozart to his disciples Weber, Donizetti, Gounod, Verdi, Offenbach, J. Strauss, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, R. Strauss, Messenger, Korngold … Two centuries of quotations and tribute but above all of fidelity.

Fidelity to the magic recipe where expression, naturalness, cantabile, incarnation, show and simple truth are mixed, what we always call without being able to define it but that we cultivate because it is good for the vocal cords and the ears, the body and the mind: the mozartian chant.

The 2018 Voice Academy  – Mozart and Da Ponte

Director: Ivan Alexandre, musicologist, producer and director of the Voice Academy, assisted by Julien Benhamou, director of casting and of artistic coordination of the Opéra National de Bordeaux and Alain Perroux, director of artistic administration of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Guest Professor: Dame Felicity Lott

Lyric artists selected:

  • Soprano: Sandrine Buendia et Marie Perbost
  • Mezzo-soprano: Adèle Charvet et Violette Polchi
  • Tenor: Paco Garcia et Sebastian Monti
  • Baritone: Michał Janicki
  • Bass Baritone: André Courville

Pianists and song coach: Edwige Herchenroder and Karolos Zouganelis

In 1783, Mozart was finally established in Vienna. The triumph of his Entführung aus dem Serail had just given the German troupe of the capital its legitimacy and fame. When suddenly the emperor changes his mind. As popular as it is, the German Singspiel is not prestigious enough for such a glorious court. Thus, Joseph II founds an Italian opera buffa company, supervised by the compositor Antonio Salieri…

… where Mozart yet again hopes for success. But the story slows down. Two attempts fail, and it is not until three years later that he gets the troupe to perform a work of his.

What a masterpiece! It is his Nozze di Figaro that he manages to give to the Burgtheater on the 1 May 1786, while the Mariage de Figaro by Beaumarchais remains prohibited in Vienna. Not quite as successful as the Serail, but still resounding enough for the emperor to edict a special rule: the encore on ensembles became illegal! Only arias could be sung twice if the clapping demanded it.

It’s that the rivals in melody – the Paisiello, the Cimarosa, the Salieri – enchant the public, while nobody, neither before or after, could rival with the dazzling duos, trios, sextets and finales of the Figaro.

In this field, Mozart can thank his muse, but also the poet who made this miracle possible: the abbot Lorenzo Da Ponte, cooperative and inspired librettist who, like him, possesses the magical gift of banishing the borders between buffo and seria, between large and small, between game and life.

After the founding Figaro, the partners would together create Don Giovanni (Prague 1787) and finally Così fan tutte (Vienna 1790), trio of masterpieces unique in its density, its diversity, its cruelty, its simple truth.

It is to this bottomless triptych that the second edition of our Voice Academy was devoted to, under the supervision of Dame Felicity Lott, who knows these characters, this singing and these feelings better than anyone.

The 2017 Voice Academy  – The opera seria from Handel to Mozart

Director: Ivan Alexandre, musicologist, producer and director of the Voice Academy, assisted by Julien Benhamou, director of casting and of artistic coordination of the Opéra National de Bordeaux and Alain Perroux, director of artistic administration of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Guest Professor: Yvonne Kenny

Lyric artists selected:

  • Soprano: Harmonie Deschamps et Léa Frouté
  • Mezzo-soprano: Ambroisine Bré, Victoire Bunel, Anna Dowsley
  • Tenor: Yu Shao
  • Countertenor: Paul-Antoine Benos
  • Bass Baritone: Thibaut de Damas

Pianists song coaches: Rūta Lenčiauskaitė et Gary Matthewman

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.