The “Rodolfo Celletti” Belcanto Academy in Martina Franca is funded and run by the Fondazione Paolo Grassi in collaboration with the Festival della Valle d’Itria. It was founded in 1020 with the aim of offering young opera singers a specialised training in the various aspects of the technique, style and interpretation of Italian bel canto (from Monteverdi to early Romanticism), but without neglecting analysis and studio practise of different spheres of western opera and a wide range of contemporary styles.
The Academy offers a variety of workshops on performance practise, relating to bel canto technique and aesthetics: from seventeenth century “recitar cantando” to the styles of the Puglia/Neapolitan School, from the coloratura technique to the art of variation in early nineteenth century Italian bel canto. During the work experience phase, the pupils’ educational journey is enriched by numerous opportunities for direct experience of performance during the Festival della Valle d’Itria, under the guidance of renowned teachers, performers and musicians.
Great attention is also given to physical training and acting skills, as well as the correctness and sharpness of Italian diction in the young students who play the essential roles of singing actors, necessary to give opera its theatrical dimension. The training course at the Academy also includes a specific in-depth module on Baroque bel canto, which offers prestigious masterclasses and individual lessons for young performers who are particularly interested and talented in this area of repertoire. The musical director of the Bel Canto Academy and the Festival della Valle d’Itria, Fabio Luisi, alongside the festival’s artistic director Alberto Triola, coordinates and supports the work of teachers and internationally famous artists.
Since 2014, to accompany the specialised course in opera singing, the Academy’s programme has included a workshop for assistant conductors, aimed at young pianists, who are able to take part in the productions during the Festival della Valle d’Itria as part of their work experience.