welcome to

"Si parla,
si canta!"

Summer 2023
Lake Maggiore

Arona, Italy

June 10 – July 1/July 8

“Si parla, si canta!” is a unique program created by M° Benton Hess, dedicated to talented young singers, with the intent of furthering their knowledge of Italian culture and operatic repertoire, with a special focus on language. 

While staying on the breathtakingly beautiful Lago Maggiore, participants of “Si parla, si canta!” will receive an intensive 57-76 hours of Italian language class and, moreover, will have the opportunity to work with an unrivalled voice faculty.  The training experience is enriched by the presence of our specialized physiotherapist. 

Within the four-week program, singers can expect to participate in several public concerts in some of the most cherished venues of northern Italy. In addition, each summer we average six public masterclasses and a concert at the renowned Casa Verdi in Milano.

inspired by language
A thorough knowledge of language is key to singing opera: it helps in overcoming technical obstacles and guides in expressive interpretation.
Every singer can relate to this concept, without having to upset the foundations of their technique.
This perspective makes SPSC the summer program most loved by students as well as by their teachers at home!
experience excellence

OUR facultY


The 2023 edition of “Si parla, si canta!” boasts a faculty of internationally recognized performers and pedagogues. 



Si parla, si canta!” is the only program in which the Dante Alighieri Society Italian language teachers have been specifically trained in diction for opera singers by former artistic director M° Benton Hess. 

Lessons will focus on grammar and conversation, while diction will be supervised by Hemdi Kfir, language coach at the Metropolitan Opera of New York. 

Participants will attend an intensive 76 hours of Italian language classes.

our location

ARONA - Lake Maggiore

Breathtakingly beautiful Lago Maggiore will be the background of all SPSC activities. Amid all of the work and study that goes on during the week, it is still important to find time to enjoy Italian culture and all that the beautiful Piemonte and Lombardia regions have to offer. 

Arona is right on the lake, and yes, there is a beach! It is almost equidistant between Milano and Switzerland. Torino, Lake Como, Lugano, Bologna, Genova and Verona are also easy trips, as are many, many other points of interest in northern Italy.

A few words About

M° Benton Hess

His motto is “the better you parla, the better you canta!

American conductor, composer, pianist, and pedagogue Benton Hess is the founder and former Artistic Director of “Si parla, si canta!”. He has conducted hundreds of performances encompassing a myriad of musical styles for dozens of opera companies, including Annapolis Opera, Augusta Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lake George Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Minnesota Opera, Mobile Opera, New York Lyric Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera Theatre of Rochester, Shreveport Opera, Tacoma Opera, Tulsa Opera, and Washington Summer Opera, among others. 

Widely acknowledged as one of America’s most respected vocal coaches and accompanists. He has served on the faculties of several prestigious institutions, including Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Rutgers University, Mannes College of Music, Hartt School of Music, and was the Covington Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for seven years and Distinguished Professor of Voice and Musical Director of the Opera Theatre at the Eastman School of Music.

Benton Hess is also a composer; he has received several important commissions and his works are in the repertoire of some of the finest artists of our time. Benton Hess’ recordings may be found on the Albany, BIS, CBS, and Crystal labels.

one vision,
two options

3-week program

Besides daily intensive Italian language classes, participants are coached in pre-assigned operatic scenes as well as arias and art songs of their choosing.  Five public masterclasses and three concerts will engage all students in an intense performing activity.

4-week program

One more week of intensive Italian language classes, as well as daily private coachings on Italian repertoire of interest (arias, recits, roles, art songs). One more public masterclass, concert at Casa Verdi and our very popular “Songs of our Homeland” concert, celebrating the cultural diversity of our participants.

an all round experience

Arona’s main square (Piazza del Popolo)

La lingua

The most important component of “Si parla, si canta!” is the language study. We have seen time and time again that the better you “parla” the better you “canta”. This is why mastering the Italian language and Italian diction is our first priority.

Every day, Monday through Friday, begins with 3 hours of Italian language classes, which are offered at all levels for students of all ages, from grammar classes for the absolute beginner to literature courses for the extremely advanced. The programs are therefore flexible, adaptable, varied, rich, and unique. In addition to the 3 hours of Italian grammar class offered every morning, Italian conversation classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. At “Si parla, si canta!” participants are truly given every opportunity to perfect their Italian.

La musica

While mornings are focused on the study of the Italian language, afternoons serve as an opportunity to apply all that you have learned in the classroom to music. Participants receive a minimum of 5 private coachings per week with our esteemed faculty on arias and previously assigned scenes.

“Si parla, si canta!” is a program rich with performance opportunities. Within the four-week program, singers can expect to participate in at least five public concerts. In addition, each summer we average six public masterclasses. For our scenes concerts, we have the great pleasure of performing in some of the most cherished venues of northern Italy.

Excerpt from SPSC 2019, orchestra concert in Arona.

San Carlo Borromeo’s statue in Arona

La cultura

Towards the end of the Lake Maggiore is Arona, the principal seat of the Borromeo family, which for centuries exerted a strong influence on the lake area. The giant statue of Cardinal San Carlo Borromeo, a Colossus 23.40 metres high, stands above the town. You can climb up inside to see a breathtaking view of the Lombard and Piedmontese shores of the lake through the apertures in the statue’s robes and through the Saint’s eyes. 

Find more info here: 


Masterclass with Chris Merritt

how to apply

To apply to “Si parla, si canta!”, fill the online application, including your resume and a youtube link. 

RESUME must include your studies, competitions, performances.

YOUTUBE LINK of 1 or 2 arias of repertoire in any language that shows you at your best.

QUESTIONS: Any questions or concerns about the application process can be sent to siparlasicanta@cromamilano.it, but beforehand, check the FAQ section on this site. 

experience the excellence

What Our Students Say About Us

“SPSC is a place perfectly suited to getting lost in the romance of the Italian language - really tasting the nuance of the words and grasping a real sense for the rhythm of it’s sentences. Students have a very special opportunity to really broaden that studied authenticity in their Italian operatic repertoire, while creating a personal love for the language and Italian culture with memories that will be cherished for life. I loved every moment of my time at SPSC, and have felt it’s positive effects in my life and career ever since!

Kathryn lewek



“SPSC provided me with a one of a kind musical and educational experience that I’ll never forget and will always cherish. There I was able to gain tools and techniques that I still use today in preparing my roles. I had an amazing time and I made lasting friendships. Thank you for everything!”

Donovan singletary



SPSC provides a unique educational experience for students to immerse themselves in the world of Italian language, music and culture. The opportunity to learn from world-class faculty in the classroom and studio, combined with the practical application of those lessons in daily activities and on the concert stage, deepened my understanding and bolstered my confidence. I returned from the program feeling empowered,”




Get Ready to pursue
your dream!

Application deadline March 31st, 2023
Deposit deadline 15 April, 2023