I arrived in Arezzo after an incredibly long flight from Milwaukee to Newark to Frankfurt to Zürich to Florence and then met up with the group on a bus to Arezzo. This summer I am taking part in the Oberlin in Italy Program in their Emerging Artist Opera Scenes Program and as a cover for Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte. I am in two scenes, one from Handel’s Radamisto and the other from Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto. I was very nervous for the first rehearsal, but Lawrence prepared me for it very, very well. I get to work with opera coaches from such places as The Curtis Institute of Music, The Academy of Vocal Arts, Boston Conservatory, University of Maryland, and Oberlin Conservatory. I will also be taking Italian classes during the week. It will keep me pretty busy, but time flies when performing the things you love.
Arezzo is an incredible little city of about 100,000 people in Tuscany, Italy on a very steep hill with incredible architecture, a Medici Fortress, and many beautiful piazzas. It is about an hour away from Florence by train and is known for its annual Saracen Joust a tradition that’s been held since the Middle Ages in the grand piazza. Four competing neighborhoods have a joust competition where they hit a target and the team with the highest amount of points wins. It is a very big deal here and you can see which neighborhood you are in based on the flags hanging off of the buildings. I am in the Santa Spirito neighborhood whose colors are blue and yellow. I share an apartment with three other young men in the program that are also in the Emerging Artist Program. We’re very lucky because we have air conditioning, a kitchen, two balconies, and Wi-Fi. The interesting part will be sharing one key for four people and since we do not have a laundry machine, we will most likely be doing laundry in the bathtub. I am really looking forward to this wonderful opportunity of learning and cultural immersion.