Charming beginnings: Giulio Riccò

At the age of five, Riccò joined the Verdi Chorale Children’s Choir, conducted by Maestra Beniamina Carretta. He spent ten years participating in important events in and around Parma. A highlight was Imparo l’Opera, an event that showcases young talent. Produced by Teatro Regio di Parma, this event was broadcasted throughout Italy and abroad, at the Italian Cultural Institutes in London and Nice in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.
At the age of fifteen, he began studying privately as a soloist under the guidance of Maestro Fabrizio Cassi who is currently the Chorus Director of the Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari.

In September 2016, he was admitted to the pre-academic opera singing course at the Conservatorio di Parma Arrigo Boito and studied under the guidance of Donatella Saccardi. In November of the same year, he collaborated with the Pellegrino Parmense Choir, performing “Dal tuo stellato soglio” from Mosè by Rossini at St Peter’s Church in London; an important structure for all Italian migrants in the UK.

In 2017, 2018 and 2019 he collaborated with the Verdi Chorale at “Cori al Festival” and made his debut on the stage of the Ridotto del Teatro Regio di Parma, singing Mozart arias. In November 2018, he performed the roles of Messer Amantio/Notary (Gianni Schicchi) and Marchese d’Obigny (La Traviata) at the Teatro Crystal in Collecchio (PR).

In February 2019, he reprised the role of Messer Amantio for the “Parma Lirica” ​​association with great reviews by OperaClick.
In April 2019, he performed with Paola Sanguinetti, an internationally renowned soprano and active collaborator of Andrea Bocelli, at the Nicolò Paganini Auditorium in Parma.
In April 2020, he was a guest on the Rai 2 programme, I fatti tuoi, hosted by conductor, Giancarlo Magalli. He was invited to chat about his studies and to promote his initiative of singing operatic arias from the balcony of his home during the lockdown. In July 2020, he collaborated with the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali di Reggio Emilia e Castelnovo ne’ Montias as a member of the chorus for Il Campanello by Donizetti which was held at the Cloisters of San Pietro.
In September 2020, he signed his first contract with the Teatro Regio di Parma as a soloist at the VerdiOff Festival. He performed some recitals of Verdian song repertoire.
In September 2020, he began his Bachelor of Music at Conservatorio Arrigo Boito di Parma.

As a boy, you were immersed in the charming world of music and theatre. It seems that your personal bond with singing and, later, your career path, was cultivated within a group dynamic rather than by purely individual circumstance. At the age of 15, you started studying, privately, with Maestro Fabrizio Cassi who is now the Chorus Director at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, to whom you owe your successful admission to the Parma Conservatory. What did you learn from your years spent in the chorus?

My love for singing was apparent from a very young age. Every occasion was a musical opportunity! My passion for singing developed while I was in the children’s choir of the Corale Verdi di Parma. In that choral spirit, breathing the air of those places where legends of the past graced the stage, ignited my passion and propelled me towards a future in opera. My first contact with opera occurred as a member of the chorus. I realised, in that moment, that there would be nothing more beautiful than dedicating my life to such a glorious art form. In the eyes of a child, opera was the perfect fusion of song and action, illusion and reality, the ordinary and the magical. The most important lesson I learnt, as a choral singer, was the ability to listen carefully to my colleagues so that my voice could blend and harmonise as one sonorous instrument. This is the true essence of choral singing: To be a group of individual people but with one soul and one voice. The choir is still one of the few structures left that harbours deep core values ​​and bequeaths positive feelings to be embodied like a second skin. Choirs are melting pots of culture, wisdom and, above all, of mutual respect.

You have had the opportunity to visit London several times. You have experienced the city’s vibrant artistic atmosphere. What differences have you noticed between the UK and Italy and what do you think we could learn from the British? 

The London artistic scene is such a playground for exploring a myriad of sociocultural themes and showcasing them artistically in both a direct and indirect fashion. The end goal seems to engage dynamically with the audience and incite a powerful response. Culture is a vital part of the London lifestyle. Attending operas and concerts is more a normality than an exception. Theatres and concert halls swarm with artists and the atmosphere is always one of feverish excitement that lends itself again and again; night after night, act after act, concert after concert. 

Read the entire interview and many other interesting articles here, in the 1/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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