Simone Piazzola: You don’t see the sounds, you hear them, and often not only with your ears.

Simone Piazzola began his musical studies with the soprano Alda Borelli Morgan when he was 11 years old. In 2004 he took part in various concerts organized by Fondazione Arena di Verona. In 2005 he won the first prize in the “Marie Kraja” in Tirana and in 2007, the Competition “Comunità Europea” of Teatro Lirico Sperimentale in Spoleto. In August 2013 he won the Second Prize as well as the Audience Award at the Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition in Verona; in June of this season he won the Abbiati Prize. In 2017 Mr. Piazzola won the “Bastianini” Prize in Sirmione. In 2020 he received the “Arrigo Boito” Prize in Padua and the Premio speciale per la Lirica “Rocca di Castruccio” in Serravalle Pistoiese .He has twice won the prestigious Premio Abbiati della critica teatrale: in 2015 for his interpretation of the role of Simon Boccanegra and in 2019 for the L’incisione della Messa (Rossini) by Decca, w. conductor M° Riccardo Chailly. Currently Simone Piazzola builds his skills further with Giacomo Prestia (bass) and he also collaborates with Maestro Giuseppe Vaccaro, pianist and conductor. Simone Piazzola made his debut in 2005 at the Giordano Theater in Foggia in Il Re by U. Giordano, and subsequently Rigoletto, directed by Maestro Bruno Campanella at the Opera Theater in Rome, an opera resumed on a tour in Japan, and then as Conte di Luna/Il Trovatore at the Teatro Nuovo in Spoleto. During season 2019/2020 Mr. Piazzola sang (among others) Ezio/Attila at Opera Australia, Ernesto/Il pirata and Rodrigo/Don Carlo at Teatro Real de Madrid, and the title role of Simon Boccanegra at Wiener Staatsoper. In 2018 and 2019 Simone Piazzola performed as Giorgio Germont/La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, London, the Royal Opera House of Muscat, Arena di Verona Opera Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, München, and Staatsoper Hamburg. He also sang Amonasro/Aida at Wiener Staatsoper and at Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Don Carlo/Ernani at Teatro alla Scala Milano and Teatre Principal de Maó, Ford/Falstaff and Enrico/Lucia di Lammermoor at Teatro Real de Madrid, Ford/Falstaff at Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Alphonse/La Favorite at Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Seid/Il corsaro at Fondazione Teatri di Piacenza, Renato/Un ballo in maschera at Bayerische Staatsoper München, Graf Luna/Der Troubadour at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Renato/Un ballo in maschera at Opéra National de Paris, Count de Luna/Il trovatore at Ópera de Oviedo, Enrico/Lucia di Lammermoor and Marcello/La bohème at Semperoper Dresden.

You’re from Verona, city of opera par excellence. You started studying music at the young age of 11 with soprano Alda Borelli Morgan, and currently you are specialising with the bass, Giacomo Prestia. From your experience what would you say are the necessary ingredients for a singing teacher?

I had the great fortune to be able to start right away with a great soprano and teacher, Alda Borelli Morgan, and then be followed by one of the greatest basses and teachers I know.
Teaching is not for everyone, being a good singer does not automatically mean being able to teach well.
It is important to have the ear and the intelligence to recognise beautiful voices that may have been ‘ruined’ by bad teaching, to understand what the problem is, and to have the competence and understanding to help the student improve. I was lucky enough to study with a great soprano and teacher, Alda Borelli Morgan, right from the beginning, and then following that with one of the greatest basses and maestros that I know. Teaching is not for everyone; being a good singer doesn’t automatically mean you know how to teach well. You need to have an ear and the intelligence to recognise beautiful voices that have perhaps been ‘ruined’ by bad teaching, and then to understand what the problem is and have the competence and understanding to actually be able to help the student grow. Moreover, a teacher cannot have the same method for everyone: we are all different voices and psyches, with different times, defects and vocal or mental strengths.
You have to be able to work on the singer as well as on the voice. Furthermore a teacher can’t have the exact same method for everyone: we have diverse voices and minds, with

At the same time as your debut in the world of opera, you won the “Marie Kraja” competition and, a few years later, the “European Community” competition of the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale in Spoleto. Not forgetting your triumph in 2013 at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia international competition in Verona: how much do singing competitions change a young singer’s career? What would you advise opera students to do when approaching an opera competition?

Competitions can always be useful not only to gain experience but also to be heard by various artistic directors, regardless of whether you win or not.
The advice is always the same: study, study and study. You don’t enter a competition with the sole aim of winning, but to grow internally and apply yourself more and more, because then real life is in the theatre, and there the only victory that counts is singing the whole role well, with technique and interpretation. 

Read the entire interview here, in the 5th/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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