Beatrice Venezi: Music can’t be only about technique. We still need to get excited!

An interview by Viviana Nebuloni about M° Venezi’s thoughts on how theatre and opera is perceived nowadays. A natural and spontaneous way to talk about culture and how it can be promoted by theatre foundations and audience! Let’s discover the rock side of the opera!

Principal Guest Conductor of Orchestra della Toscana and Principal Conductor of Milano Classica Orchestra, Beatrice Venezi is a member of the Women’s Council of the Pontifical Council for Culture for the three-year period 2019-2021. She is among the few women in the world to conduct orchestras at an international level, from Japan to Belarus, from Portugal to Lebanon, from Canada to Argentina, from the United States to Armenia. She has collaborated with internationally renowned performers such as Bruno Canino, Stefan Milenkovich, Valentina Lisitsa, Carla Fracci, Andrea Bocelli and with prestigious orchestras such as Teatro La Fenice Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and New Japan Philharmonic. In 2021 she made her debut at the Opéra-Théâtre de Metz Métropole and she will make her debuts with the Orquesta Filarmónica del Teatro Colón, with OSESP, with Nagoya Philharmonic and at Opera Holland Park. She has won several awards in the music sector for her brilliant career, especially for her impressive artistic skills and her commitment to spreading musical culture to younger generations – including the historic Scala d’Oro award, received in 2017, and the Leonia Award for Audacity, received in 2019. Corriere della Sera listed her among the 50 women of 2017, and in 2018 Forbes placed her among the 100 young leaders of the future under 30. The UTET / DeAgostini publishing house has published her Allegro con fuoco (April 2019) where she explains why everyone should fall in love with classical music, and Le sorelle di Mozart (November 2020), dedicated to brilliant and innovative female musicians forgotten from the official historiography of music. In 2019 she became a Warner Artist, and in October 2019 her debut album My Journey for Warner Music was released worldwide, dedicated to symphonic pieces by Giacomo Puccini, recorded at the Teatro del Giglio in Lucca with Orchestra della Toscana.

You graduated in piano under the guidance of M ° Norberto Capelli, and later specialised with the Masters Lucchesini, De Maria and Balzani. You then joined Maestro Piero Bellugi’s conducting class and graduated from the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan with full marks cum laude under the guidance of Maestro Vittorio Parisi. Lastly, you furthered your conducting technique with M ° Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and with M ° John Axelrod, to whom you were assistant in the production of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide” at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 2015. As far as composition is concerned, you studied with Maestro Gaetano Giani Luporini. Certainly, your musical study is remarkable (also considering your young age).  What did each of these three disciplines that mark your multifaceted curriculum give you?

On the one hand, the piano was the first musical form I dealt with that then turned into a solid job when I became a vocal coach. Being an accompanist was also useful for my future role as conductor, essential for knowing how to breathe together with singers, to accompany them. Participating in opera productions with this job was invaluable for me, it was a very useful experience for me. Composition and conducting are two essential disciplines as they represent creation and musical interpretation respectively. Studying both of them gives you a double perspective on the same piece, helping to understand what the mechanisms were that led to its creation as well as an analysis of the piece itself. 

Maestro Luporini was very important in this regard. He was a true composer, not just a teacher, also because he taught me both subjects as well as the various aspects of orchestration, for which he had superb taste. These were fundamental elements for me, all brought together in an organic way, and it was an effective method of teaching. It was M. Luporini who recommended I start working with M. Bellugi. The music seemed to flow from his hands; it was something extraordinary. I always found him very interesting and his memory is still very much alive in me; I am very grateful to him because he immediately gave me great confidence and support. 

All of them were great people, extraordinary souls. It was almost like studying in a floating cloud, in an ideal world; they were teachers who wanted to transfer their knowledge and kept nothing for themselves. Then, of course, I encountered other realities that catapulted me into the real world, but I am very grateful to have met them. They gave me a very human dimension to music making, a dimension that I can’t forget. I remember one story about Bellugi, when he received a check for his studies from Bernstein, but he could not return the check because Bernstein did not want it back, and so M. Bellugi decided to do the same with his students. I recently went to France for a production of Butterfly and made time to listen to young singers. Humanity is possible even in simple possibilities of comparisons between artists like these.

Read the entire interview & many other interesting articles here, in the one year anniversary issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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