Bel Canto (‘beautiful singing’) tradition thrives here.
Dramatic performances. Recitals. Conversations. Immerse yourself in opera for a day or a weekend.
Let yourself be moved.
Of all the operatic works restored to life in our age of revivals, the most extensive and enduring group has been the products of the bel canto school – Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, and the young Giuseppe Verdi. Between 1808 and 1850 these masters produced some 125 works of musical theater in a style that made Italian opera the world’s most popular art form. Later, the shifting winds of taste swept all but about ten of these operas from regular use. But beginning with the spectacular example of Maria Callas, and continuing through Marilyn Horne, Joan Sutherland, and Beverly Sills, exciting artists have rediscovered the lapsed skills of bel canto singing and revealed dozens of masterpieces anew to modern audiences. In 1997, following the success of a Caramoor production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola that introduced Vivica Genaux to New York, we decided to establish a formal concentration on bel canto opera, and Bel Canto at Caramoor was born.
Apply to be a Bel Canto Young Artist
Program Dates: June 5 – July 23, 2017
YA Salary: $3,750 (plus additional fees if you choose to participate in the chorus)
Application Deadline: Friday, October 21, 2016
Application available online: yaptracker.com – Register here to begin the application, and check here for details on how to apply.
Who We Are
Will Crutchfield, Director of Opera
Rachelle Jonck, Head Coach/Chorus Master
Lucy Yates, Italian instructor
Derrick Goff, Coach
Timothy Cheung, Coach
Caramoor is a music festival established over sixty years ago in Westchester County. It is set on the lush grounds of a former private estate, with extensive gardens, a house museum, and three beautifully appointed performance spaces. The Bel Canto at Caramoor program was established in 1997 with a production of Rossini’s La donna del lago, and has built an international reputation since that time as a center for innovative interpretation and memorable performances of bel canto opera. Our repertory through 2013 has included 28 operas by Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, and Verdi, along with individual items by Mozart, Gluck, Handel, Viardot and Francesco Conti. Among these have been the world premiere of Donizetti’s lost opera Élisabeth; the first New York performance of Verdi’s La forza del destino in its St. Petersburg version, the introduction of new critical editions of five operas, and the first New York area productions of Don Carlos and Les vêpres siciliennes with their original French librettos. The New Yorker’s Alex Ross declared after Norma in 2010 that “Caramoor has become an operatic paradise” – just one of many accolades from the national and international press.
Our Young Artists
The typical member of our program is a singer who has completed formal training and begun to work professionally, who has particular aptitude for some aspect of the bel canto repertory, and who could participate successfully in a mainstage production if required to go on as a cover (as happened in 2010 when Jennifer Rowley took over the title role of Maria di Rohan with great success). We have no age limit; exceptional younger singers still in school are sometimes accepted, and for roles that typically require a mature voice, more experienced singers are sometimes invited as well. Some past program members currently pursuing notable careers include: Christopher Bengochea, Reyna Carguill, Carla Dirlikov, Inna Dukach, Amanda Forsythe, Stephen Gaertner, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Eric Jordan, Yeghishe Manucharyan, Nicholas Masters, Mari Moriya, Angela Mortellaro, Zurab Ninua, Marco Nistico, Nicole Piccolomini, Jennifer Rowley and Manon Strauss-Evrard.
Roles Available for Cover
Il pirata, Bellini
Stabat Mater, Rossini
Roles To Be Sung by Young Artists
Il pirata, Bellini
Stabat Mater, Rossini
Young Artists and Apprentices to be featured in two Thursday evening recitals and four pre-performance events
What We Do
Program members receive an intensive seven-week course in Italian operatic style and performance practice, while gaining practical experience as covers, singers of secondary roles, and soloists on concerts and recitals. Our focus is on the classic vocal accomplishments of bel canto singing, the Italian language, and the stylistic history of the Italian vocal tradition. We place great emphasis on integrating the theoretical and linguistic topics at the level of performance, and on one-on-one training; all of our faculty members give private coaching nearly every day of the program, making an unusually favorable coach-to-singer ratio. Performance exposure comes through the secondary roles sung in our mainstage performances and through recitals by the Young Artists given at Caramoor in the afternoon before every opera performance; these have become a very popular and well-attended feature of the Caramoor experience.
The program runs Monday through Saturday between 10:00am and 6:00pm. On most days, the full group will be called from 10:00am to 3:00pm, and the later hours will be devoted to private coaching. Each member will receive a private coaching approximately every second day. Rehearsals are mostly in Manhattan, and transportation is provided when we go to the Caramoor site.
A typical day will include:
Lecture class on bel canto style and performance practice
Work class (group work in masterclass format)
Chorus rehearsal (optional participation – see below)
Rehearsal of mainstage opera (from third week onward)
Private coaching and concert rehearsals
Bel Canto at Caramoor has adopted an innovative approach to the perennial problem of chorus participation in YA programs. We recognize that, for some young professionals, it becomes necessary to say “no” to singing chorus – but at the same time, we value the energy and vocal resources that solo-quality singers bring to choral performance. Our solution, therefore, is to make it optional: nobody is required to sing in the chorus, but program members who would like to do so can earn some extra money. We also strive to make the choral experience “soloist-friendly,” with our chief coach doubling as chorus master.
A second level of participation, the Caramoor Bel Canto Apprentices, is open to those for whom we do not have slots in the Young Artist group. The Apprentices participate in the class activities and receive occasional private coachings, and at least two masterclasses each week are devoted exclusively to this group. At least one recital program will also be designed to feature members of the Apprentice group. Apprentices are paid for chorus participation and receive a small honorarium to cover local transport.
ONE IMPORTANT LIMITATION to note before applying: We do not have a budget for housing; all members must either live in the New York area, or have access to a place to stay here.