Charming beginnings: Paolo Nevi

Born in Narni, he began studying opera singing during his high school years at the Liceo Musicale in Terni. He subsequently attended the Conservatory of Parma under the guidance of Nemi Bertagni, where he graduated in opera singing with top marks in 2019. In the same year, he joined the Accademia alla Scala, where he still attends the specialisation course for opera singers. He has won various prizes including the most prestigious: Pavarotti Foundation Prize and Young Male Talent Prize at the Etta and Paolo Limiti Competition at the Teatro Dal Verme in Milan in 2019 and Best Under 25 Award at the Clip International Opera Competition in Portofino in the same year. On both occasions, the highly prestigious juries were chaired by the current Superintendent of La Scala, Dominique Meyer. He has already debuted the roles of: Nemorino in Donizetti’s Elisir d’Amore at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Don Ramiro in Rossini’s Cenerentola in the children’s version at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Il Conte di Almaviva in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia in Lugano as part of the Festival Ticino in Musica Benvolio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Teatro alla Scala and Don Curzio in Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro at the Teatro alla Scala.

Hello, dear Paolo! It is a pleasure for me to interview you! I truly admire your dedication and achievements so far, considering that you are only 25 years old! Was opera love at first sight for you? When did you realize that this is the path you want to follow?

The first opera I’ve ever seen was La Bohème. It was my first year at the conservatory and I had no idea what I was looking at because I didn’t know anything about this world (I used to be a punk rock musician). I only know that when I came out of Teatro Regio di Parma, I said to myself ‘I want to do that in life’.

Your career started at a very young age and I am sure that all the young singers who are reading our conversation right now are very curious about the way you visualize everything. Do you think opera studios and academies are helpful? I would love to know more about your experience at the Accademia della Scala. What changes has this brought for you both as an artist and as a person?

Academies are very useful for young people who feel ready to show themselves to an important audience and want to start working. In the academy, I had the chance to study with very well-prepared pianists like Vincenzo Scalera, James Vaughan, Michele D’Elia and Umberto Finazzi, who helped me to increase my cultural and stylistic knowledge, making my ideas about the various repertoires very clear. The academy brought me back down to earth. Initially, I had a very poetic idea about music, about the connection between people. Unfortunately, upon entering the academy, I realised that the world of music can be very heavy and sometimes also full of jealousy, envy, malice and ignorance. However, I can say that it has made me a more caring and mature person.

Read the entire interview here, in the 5th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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