Trains & Planes, What to Bring, Food, Clothes, Scores, & More!
DEAR SINGERS AND STAGE DIRECTORS:
It’s that time!I know many of you have already purchased plane tickets and many more would like to do so. Here’s some important information about trains and planes, arrivals, what to bring, and beyond. I’m always happy to hear from you if I haven’t answered your questions already, please know that. That said, here is some vital information about your trip:
AIRPORTS & TRAINS: The nearest airport to Orvieto is Rome - Fiumicino or Rome - Ciampino. It is 30-45 minutes from the airport to the Termini Station, and then 1-1.75 hours more to Orvieto depending on which train you take. Florence is also a reasonable choice if you’re coming from within Europe, just an extra hour from Orvieto. The transfer bus from the airport to the main train station there, Santa Maria Novella, runs frequently, and takes about 25 minutes. The train from Florence runs just over 2’15” hours to reach Orvieto. For arrivals to Rome, there are trains leaving 3-4 times an hour from Rome which you should take to Termini Station. From Termini, trains run on average once an hour to Orvieto. Please know that unfortunately, the usual binario or platform number where you arrive from the airport train is a LONG walk from the platform where you need to be to get to Orvieto. Walking hard and fast it can take you 15 minutes. That said, if you miss a train, you should be just fine using your ticket and getting on the train just after. TRAINLINE.COM is a good website for purchasing train tickets at a good price if you don’t wish to wait in line and deal with machines. It can save you a lot of time and running. Getting to Termini on bus or local train costs $5-$10. If you take the Leonardo express, it can cost as much as $18. ARRIVALS: Please email us your travel plans as soon as you have them!! There is a welcome DINNER at 7:45pm on Sunday, May 31st, very near to the hotel. We’ll provide a lot of important information at the dinner, and also take time to introduce ourselves, faculty, singers, directors, and musicians, all. As such, please arrive in Orvieto on Sunday, May 31, by 4pm if possible. If you wish arrive before the 31st, see section below. I will advise you on how to set up accommodation — whenever possible in the room you’ll be staying in for the program --at VERY reduced rate. On Sunday May 31st, We are arranging transportation to get you from the Orvieto train station and to the hotel. We recommend everyone download WhatsApp, which is a (so far) free social media site that has a telephone and messaging service. That way you can alert us to any changes in your schedule or your progress on the trains, and we’ll be sure someone is waiting for you at the train station, or will instruct you to take a taxi to the hotel with one of our colleagues, which will be paid for. Please do your best to arrive between 11-4 pm to Orvieto. We have chosen these times based on the typical flight arrival schedule from overseas, but BE ASSURED we will do everything to accommodate you outside of those hours if you have delays or a different schedule. For those arriving on a different day to Orvieto, the funicular is just across the street from the train station, which takes you up to the medieval city center. It costs under $2, and takes just a few minutes, running 3-5 times an hour. From there, there is a free minibus that takes you to Piazza del Duomo, very near to the hotel. We’re nearest to the Duomo, and just around the corner from the TORRE DEL MORO. If you mention that to people, you should be able to work your way easily from there to the Hotel Posta., at Via Luca Signorelli, 18, 05018 Orvieto TR. Telephone: +39 0763 341909
EARLY ARRIVALS & Accommodation Please send an email to both me (Clara) AND Alessia, the director of our Hotel Posta, if you wish to arrive in Orvieto before the 31st of May. Alessia is a wonderful, bilingual colleague who is there to help you get settled. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. She has arranged a special rate of 35 Euro per night for those sharing a room, and 50 Euro per night for those who have paid for single accommodations. You will find that that’s much less than half the price of the going rate in the high season for a room anywhere in the vicinity. Please expect to pay the additional days at the time of your arrival. A few of you have it in your contracts to arrive a night earlier, so please email me directly if you are uncertain as to your accommodations for that night. Of course, if you have any possibility to arrive a few days early in Italy to do some sightseeing, we strongly recommend it. Please do not underestimate the impact of the 6-9 hour time change! Naturally, Rome and literally dozens of the cities nearby (within 2 hours) to Orvieto — such famous towns as Perugia, Rome, Siena, Montepulciano, Florence (add a 1/2 hour) and well beyond - are well worth a visit. THINGS TO BRING Yoga mats are provided! So you do NOT need to haul a mat with you. Please bring your opera scores, as well as 3 copies of all your concert repertoire. The third copy might come in handy in case you are coaching with different pianists. There is a printing and copy store paces away from the hotel, but apart from the fact that they close for 3 hours a day in the afternoon for riposo, I recommend preparing everything before your arrival so that you can have more mental focus for arriving and adjusting. Temperatures range from 75-85 in June, with occasional chilly days at the beginning of the month (68 or cooler overnight). Italy sells wonderful, VERY affordable, stylish clothes that could be useful to you in any case, should you need anything extra for a concert. For women, I have a few pieces size 8 which are yours to borrow if you would like. Otherwise, please visit our website here for detailed information on concert attire: https://www.vocalacademyorvieto.com/repertoire-attire-concert-roles.html Some of you may wish to takean additional course of language study either before or after the program, as well as look into European auditions if you are at that point in your career. We will work with you this summer on making those choices if they are of interest to you. Otherwise, we offer beginning Italian classes, as well as Intermediate-Advanced classes through the first 2 weeks of the program. Conversational groups for those wanting them and time-permitting with rehearsals will also be offered in the third week. ENVIRONMENT & ETHOS We strive to make the environment at our Vocal Academy a very friendly and positive one.The faculty has been chosen as carefully as each of the singers in this small group so as to enable an environment of conversation, learning, and openness. We the faculty LOVE teaching and mentoring, and honor you as YOUNG PROFESSIONALS. We are delighted with the talent and integrity you demonstrated in your auditions and cannot wait to work with you.
We ask that you stay away from any behaviors or attitudes that demean or diminish a colleague’s sense of self-worth. This might include gossiping, unsolicited vocal advice or advice in general, and especially, exclusionary tactics. Everyone here has demonstrated an excellent work ethic, talent, and creative/intellectual ability to forge a career in a difficult field. Someone who at first judgement might not seem “at your level” or “not interesting” may actually be the person that you end up admiring most as a singer, colleague, or friend.
Please keep an open mind both to the possibility of friendship, as well as to appreciating the unique talents and gifts of others which can only inspire your own growth if you keep mind and heart open to appreciation and curiosity. We are an intentionally small and intimate group. We will be living in a “boutique” hotel together, dining together, and of course rehearsing and practicing crazy hours together. We ask that you approach your peers with an open and trusting mind about one another’s talents! There is no one who has been accepted that hasn’t demonstrated a lot of skill, integrity, savvy, artistry, and intelligence.All of you have shown an attitude that indicates capability for success in whatever you take on next, and of course, we hope that will very shortly be a paid career in opera.
CARE OF THE VOICE UNER HOT, ITALIAN SUN, AND CONSIDERATION ABOUT ALCOHOL Please be especially careful to not go out in the Sun too much, as it causes inflammation of the vocal cords and can ruin a performance for you. It’s fine and even encouraged to be outside a lot, but it’s best to avoid the the extremes of the day. 10am-4pm has intense sunshine. Because Europe is so far north, there will be some daylight stretching until almost 11pm (and even after) in June.
Similarly, please don’t overdo alcohol or do any other thing that detracts from your dedication to singing and study! Alcohol can also swell the cords and not only impair concentration. Wine will be offered at some meals and you are welcome to purchase it for yourself when not offered. That said, we recommend very little or no consumption of alcohol during the long days of lessons and rehearsals, depending on how it affects you.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND MEALS Tuition includes room and board (breakfast including eggs, meat, and a huge array of bakery items ) 7 days a week, and a substantial, family-style dinner 5 nights a week (on a schedule that accommodates concerts). Please allow room in your budget for personal items, as well as for a lunch or snack daily, and 2 dinners a week. We live across the street from a supermarket and surrounded by a few dozen highly affordable cafes where you don’t have to pay service fees. If you have any allergies, dietary restrictions, or requests, please let us know and we’ll arrange for them with the restaurants. We aim to provide healthy, low-sodium meals, where restaurants are conscious about choosing local produce and avoiding all processed foods. Medicines and Doctors: Please bring needed medicines so that you have them on hand. We live paces away from a pharmacy and supermarket for anything else you don’t wish to carry with you or will have forgotten. We do have contacts with a local doctor who can be arranged to come on site to the hotel for 40 Euro, but beg of you to make it your intention to stay well and sing beautifully!!!
TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THE PROGRAM: LANGUAGE, AUDITIONS, AND WORK EXCHANGES While you may have a bit of time on the weekends to sneak off to nearby towns, our schedule is quite intensive, and must remain at the center of life while engaged in the program. If not for the poor exchange rate, we would have lengthened the program by a week to provide more time for rehearsal and travel. However, just by participating in this program, you will get to know intimately the wonderful cities of both Orvieto and Panicale. Panicale is also 20 minutes from the famous Lago Trasimeno, and you will have one day off to enjoy this enormous and picturesque lake. So in addition to taking some extra time in Italy (and Europe) BEFORE or AFTER the program, we highly recommend that if at all possible, you extend your stay and enroll in an intensive language school. Singers from Asia know the secret! They flock to the famous Italian language school in Perugia (also in Umbria) to take intensive, 4-hour a day classes at the Università per Stranieri. It’s a very economical way to advance your study of Italian by total immersion. One of the safest, quickest ways to practice a language is to be in that country, and surrounded by other foreigners who won’t bat an eyelid as you bumble through conversations with them in the language you’re all studying together, everyone with their own funny accent! Italian language immersion programs (which exist in general dozens if not hundreds of cities in Italy) are very affordable relative to taking painstakingly slow language classes at an American university or institute here in the USA. While we provide serious Italian lessons, due to rehearsal schedule, we can only afford 1-2 hours a day of classes. That said. you’ll definitely pick up a lot of Italian and be able to practice daily while in Orvieto. Also, when working with any of the 3 Italian faculty or the Italian orchestra, you are encouraged to communicate or ask to be spoken to in Italian. You’ll see how easy it becomes to “talk music” in any language once you get into the mindset of inhabiting a language despite gaps in vocabulary or grammar. Any coaching with Riccardo will be very heavy on the Italian, too, although with his teaching style you’ll see there’s not much need for speaking! STAYING IN EUROPE TO AUDITION If your career is “on the verge” and you are ready for professional and apprentice auditions, please consider staying overseas and setting up auditions in Europe. We can advise you on how to find excellent work-exchange opportunities such that you can get free room and board while waiting on auditions and competitions, whether for apprentice programs, opera houses, competitions, or graduate schools. Europe also has some wonderful and affordable graduate schools and academic artist programs you might wish to considered if you are not yet finished with your schooling. Many are free! We can look into these options with you this coming summer and will share every resource we have to help your career move along as quickly as possible. MEDICAL AND/OR TRAVEL INSURANCE Other less fun details: Very often, your current medical and home insurance will already provide coverage for your health and travels. Such companies as Allianz, AIG, Llyods, Nationwide, are VERY useful because they not only provide emergency medical protection, but also reimbursements or stipends for loss of luggage, or a need to cancel your trip due to illness and other reasons. They combine travel and property insurance with medical coverage and are very affordable. I will ask that you find a suitable plan to cover your medical needs while abroad. Many of you have “WhatsApped” me and messaged me. You are WELCOME to do so, and it helps me prepare the group for travel with all the relevant questions and concerns. So Thank You. With much enthusiasm and anticipation, Clara & Hugo