Matteo Pais as artistic director of the Centro di alta formazione del Teatro del Maggio

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by Opera Charm Team
March 13, 2024

BIOGRAPHY

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INTERVIEW

Florence, 13 March 2024 – The Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the advanced training centre of the Teatro del Maggio, announces the name of Matteo Pais as artistic director. Pais will hold the position as of 16 March 2024.

‘I know the Accademia del Maggio well,’ says Matteo Pais, ‘having been one of its teachers for several years. I am happy and excited to be the new artistic director of an institution that is exemplary in training young talents, stimulating their curiosity for musical theatre and enriching their cultural background. So many singers and pianists in their careers today have perfected their skills here. Thanks to the work of President Mario Curia, the Governing Board and Director General Luca Ioseffini, the Academy is in excellent health and enjoys unanimous praise. Moreover, I can only thank Maestro Tangucci for putting his profound experience and legendary history in the Italian theatre world at the service of the Academy and its talents’.

Matteo Pais was artistic coordinator at the Fondazione Toscanini in Parma from 2020 until 10 March 2024. For around 25 years, he worked as a collaborating maestro and musical assistant at prestigious theatres and festivals including Semperoper Dresden, Theater an der Wien, Baden Baden Osterfestpiele, Canadian Opera Company, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Ndr Hannover, working with conductors such as Christian Thielemann, Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Omer Meir Wellber, Bruno Bartoletti and many others. He was also assistant artistic director at the Festival della Valle d’Itria. Among the national and international academies he has collaborated with are the Theater an der Wien Junges Ensemble, the Young Singers Project-Salzburg Festival, the Oberlin College in Ohio and the Opera School of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, a project he helped initiate in 2008 as music coordinator. He is currently also an honorary board member at the Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival.

Speaking of the work that awaits him, Matteo Pais said: ‘My first objective will be to consolidate the heritage represented by the Accademia and then go on to implement its profile, vision and international positioning according to the models that I have known and appreciated in the European theatres in which I have had the good fortune to work. We must continue to bring the best young people to Florence, aware and proud of the fact that the two-year period spent at the Accademia represents not only an extraordinary moment of artistic improvement but also a very high example of sharing, mutual understanding and inclusion between girls and boys with different backgrounds, cultures and histories, a theme that is as topical and extremely important today as ever. Together with the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, we have a valuable experience to offer them, which provides a unique support and opportunity in Italy, in the city that is the cradle of melodrama and the Italian language’.

The Academy

The Accademia del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the international centre of advanced training of the Fondazione Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, was established with the aim of guaranteeing the most accurate and prestigious professional preparation of young talents who intend to devote themselves to the arts and professions of the opera house.

The courses are aimed at young opera singers, collaborating masters, conductors, set designers, iron builders, wood builders, prop makers, stagehands, audio/video technicians, theatre tailors, as well as those who wish to acquire and develop specific skills in the field of performance organisation and management. The training plans aim to achieve specialised and innovative skills and competences, while maintaining a close link with the musical theatre tradition. The didactic-training proposal is characterised by a strong integration between classroom training and work experience in the field, as well as an effective interaction between the various professional profiles involved.

Classroom and workshop activities are therefore followed by a significant stage experience which, under the guidance of internationally renowned artists, allows the verification of the results achieved and offers students the opportunity to measure themselves against the complex dynamics of opera production. The strategic lines of development and the synergies implemented with the Fondazione Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino ensure that the young trainees are given a context of professional growth of the highest level, in which to live the theatrical experience on a daily basis and acquire the art and secrets of the craft according to the methodology of “workshop” learning.

Aiming precisely at the new generations, the Accademia intends to valorise, hand down and spread the rich Italian opera tradition, which has its origins in Florence, the home of melodrama and the universally recognised language of opera. The Accademia also intends to give continuity to the fortunate experience that was the “Centro lirico di avviamento”, active at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino between 1937 and 1950, where some of the most famous singers in the history of opera were trained, including Fedora Barbieri, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Gino Bechi, Rolando Panerai, Franco Corelli, Gian Giacomo Guelfi and Paolo Washington. With the aim of promoting and disseminating musical culture among the younger generations, the Accademia also set up the Coro delle Voci Bianche del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Choir of White Voices of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino) and the related Choral School for White Voices.

As regards institutional relations, since its inception the Accademia has implemented educational and cultural cooperation projects with the most prestigious national and international musical institutions. The training proposal and the concrete career opportunities offered have made the Academy a world-renowned and appreciated reality, a valid point of reference for young people to be initiated into the theatrical professions.

The Accademia is an organisation accredited by the Region of Tuscany for funded and recognised training (accreditation code OF0175) and holds the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Certificate.

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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.

BIANCA L. NICA

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