Conductors of the future: Giuseppe Famularo

The young singers are not the only musicians OPERA Charm Magazine focuses its attention on! The young conductor GIUSEPPE FAMULARO is this time the protagonist of one of our CHARMING BEGINNINGS interview. In a conversion with VIVIANA NEBULONI, he talked about the past, the present & the future of conducting: a real HOW TO manual for the new generation of conductors!

Sicilian musician, Giuseppe Famularo, has been dedicating his life to music since the beginning, first beginning with singing and then learning piano in the small seaside town, Santo Stefano di Camastra, in northern Sicily. He completed his academic studies at the Palermo Conservatory, majoring in piano under Donatella Sollima with a minor in composition, graduating cum laude and with special mention. He went on to specialise in Lugano at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana, with Nora Doallo and Anna Kravtchenko, two figures of great artistic and human importance for his growth as a musician and pianist. His training has provided him with experience in both solo and chamber repertoire, as well as significant experience working as a Lied, Opera and Instrumental music coach. He is a very versatile musician and works across numerous repertoires and styles, including traditional classical music with jazz and pop. He performs extensively as a solo pianist in recitals with orchestra and as a chamber musician in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Alongside his performances, he has kept his keen interest for composition, writing in particular piano, choral and chamber music. He came across conducting almost by accident conducting Cavalleria Rusticana. Having always enjoyed conducting with great ease, through this experience he discovered a great opportunity to express his art and personality. He now has extensive opera, symphonic and choral conducting experience, including Tosca and Cavalleria Rusticana, with the Philharmonic Orchestra Città del Duca, which he founded in his own city; the Messe de Requiem by Saint Saens in a concert dedicated to Maria Elisa di Fatta in the Cathedral of Cefalù; at Villa Simonetta, in Milan festival Notti Trasfigurate “Musica per Corti d’animazione”; for the Coccia Theatre in Novara, where he was among students selected by the AMO Academy to conduct music by Mozart for the program “Nessun Dorma”. He has also worked as a coach and piano collaborator for various opera productions and shows, and has tried his hand at composing stage music for various dialect plays. . This month, he graduated from the Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado in Milan with a diploma in conducting and is currently studying at the Accademia AMO at the Teatro Coccia in Novara. He will soon be a student at the Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan and we are sure of future successes for Giuseppe Famularo.

Giuseppe, Thanks for agreeing to this interview with OPERA Charm Magazine! You graduated in piano, then conducting sparked something. How did your very personal connection with the profession happen?

It happened by chance, actually. One day I was at the conservatory in Lugano, preparing for my diploma exam in piano. While I was studying Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Handel – one of the pieces in my diploma concert – the phone rang and it was a dear friend calling to tell me that they were organising a production of Cavalleria Rusticana in Sicily for the summer, in my hometown. Initially, I was to play the opera on piano and I helped prepare company during rehearsals with a view to accompany them in the performance. A few days later, however, it was decided that the opera would be staged with an orchestra. A conductor was needed and I was asked to conduct it. Without even thinking about it, I said yes. I had thought that conducting was something I would think about doing sooner or later, but I didn’t know when. Suddenly the opportunity presented itself. I remember that when I was at the Conservatory in Palermo, at the end of a piano exam, a teacher on the board pointed out that while I was playing, I tended to direct myself and that this was very beneficial to the music I was making. I had never paid too much attention to those words, though.

Since you have trained as a coach and have accompanied singers before directing them, do you have a personal idea of how opera singers are prepared for their private and/or conservatory training? Is there anything you have found that you would recommend to all young opera students reading this?

I accompanied the Lied classes along with opera whilst at the conservatory. I think there is a notable difference in the approach to singing an opera aria compared to a song. Certainly on a vocal and interpretative level, but especially in terms of preparation and in the relevance to the written text, in the importance given to emphasising a certain expression of the words. In opera, tradition often comes before text, and this results in many inaccuracies that end up having repercussions in the final performance. Due in part to the tight production schedule, singers are now expected to have an increasingly high level of musical training, and with this, the correct pronunciation of the text and the correct interpretation of the vocal part written in a precise manner by the composer.

Read the entire interview here, in the 4th/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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