Q: “Are there any scholarships available?”
A: The short answer is “no.” If you’ve done research on these kinds of programs in Europe, you already know that “Si parla, si canta” is the least expensive program of its type. We try very hard to keep the tuition as low as we can. We have neither private nor corporate backing to cover any shortfalls in our budget. What we DO have is a brilliant and dedicated faculty who believe so deeply in the program that they are willing to work for a fraction of what they might be able to garner elsewhere.
All of that said, we do know that money is difficult to come by in these times. Let me share some ideas about how you might be able to get some funds for this project. Many participants have given little benefit recitals in their home towns. Churches and libraries can frequently be persuaded to donate space for such an event … or maybe your high school alma mater. We have found that the best strategy is not to charge admission, but to put out a basket and publicize the fact that you are seeking money for an extraordinary opportunity. It’s this kind of plan that often makes $100 bills appear. If you’re still a student in a college, university, or conservatory, by all means inquire if that institution has a student opportunity award for summer programs. Many schools have such things, but tend to forget to publicize them. Find out if there’s an Italian-American Cultural Society in your home town. Italians are thrilled when Americans want to learn their language and will often be glad to try to facilitate the process. By all means, ask your family and friends if they have frequent flyer miles they might be willing to donate to the cause. Hope this helps.
Q: “What city should I fly into in Italy?”
A: If you’re coming from the States (or anyplace else, for that matter), fly into Milano’s Malpensa Airport (MXP).
Q:“When should I plan to arrive?”
A: In 2023, the program officially begins on Saturday, June 10th. If coming from the States, you should plan to fly the night of Friday, June 9th, arriving in Milano early Saturday morning. If you’re coming from somewhere else in Europe, you should plan to arrive in Italy at Malpensa Airport (MXP) sometime Saturday morning, June 10th, before 11:30am.
Q:“Once I’m in Italy, how do I get to Menaggio?”
A: If you’re arriving in Milano on Saturday morning, June 18th, just wait at Malpensa Airport until the chartered bus arrives. We’ll tell you where to meet up with other participants at the airport. The bus will take you directly to Menaggio.
Q:“I’m on medication for a chronic condition. Can I buy my medication in Menaggio?”
A: There is a hospital in Menaggio and some very nice pharmacies within a few of blocks of your apartment. The people that work there are very helpful and friendly. That said, I would recommend that you bring any medication you need with you. If you need for us to make arrangements for someone to give you injections of the medication you’ve brought, that we can certainly do.
Q:“How can I find music for the ensembles I’m assigned?”
A: No worries there! “Si parla, si canta” posts ‘PDF’ files on the website of all the music we perform which you can access via a special link that is provided only to the participants. You will be able to download these files to your own computer and print whatever you need.
Q:“What kind of music should I bring to work on?”
A: In case there was any question about this, we work only on music in Italian. (There are a few exceptions to this…the Music of our Homeland Concert in week number 5, being one.) Bring the songs and arias you’d like to study, both old and new. Whatever you decide to bring, bring 3 copies … one for you, one for the pianist at your coaching, and one for the coach, him/herself. Some singers like to bring complete roles to study. Do bring that stunning piece of American Musical Theatre or American art song for those occasions when it might be appropriate. If you’re not American, please bring a folk song or an art song from your native country.
Q:“What is the attire for the concerts?”
A: Men should bring a dark suit (or a nice sport jacket) and tie with black shoes. Women should bring a gown, but remember that the venues in which we perform are typically not air-conditioned. Bring something lightweight that travels well.
Q:“How can I get to my flight back home after the program is over?”
A: We will provide a bus back to Milano’s Malpensa Airport (MXP) after the 3-week and 4-week programs. The bus will leave Menaggio early on those Saturday mornings, so you could safely catch a 10:00am flight on Saturday, July 1st (the 3-week people) or Saturday, July 10th (the 4-week people).