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Make the most of Florence’s cultural offerings with one-to-one Opera-singing or Painting classes at Hotel Savoy

In the city where the world’s first opera was written and some of the greatest Renaissance art created, it is now possible to take opera-singing and art classes as part of a short luxury break. Rocco Forte’s Hotel Savoy in Florence has teamed up with respected local tutors of painting and opera-singing from the Accademia Europea di Firenze to offer guests a fabulous 3-D experience that includes specialist tutoring, guided walks and tickets to the opera.

The opera masterclass, which can be covered in a single day or two half-days, includes a guided walk to the courtyard of the Pitti Palace where the first ever opera was performed in 1600, a session with a music academic on the history of Italian opera and how to listen to it, and a singing lesson with a specialist in vocal technique, with particular reference to what is required of an opera singer. To round off the day guests can attend an opera such as Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims or Puccini’s Tosca or Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.

In June, the opera being performed at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale is Verdi’s La Traviata; in July it will be Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and in November and December it will be Puccini’s Turandot.

Tutors include the soprano Susanna Rigacci, well-known for her renditions of Ennio Morricone’s work, who has sung in many international festivals and with orchestras such as the Rome Symphony and the London Sinfonietta; Gian Luca Lastraioli, a member of the Società Italiana di Musicologia, who has taught at universities in Florence and Brazil and published several books on the history of opera, the lute, medieval music and dances; and specialist author and cultural journalist Rodolfo Tommasi.

The first opera with a complete score was written in Florence in October 1600. Eurydice was commissioned by Maria de Medici and Henry IV of France for their wedding, the music written by Jacopo Peri and the libretto by the poet Ottavio Rinuccini. It was first staged in the courtyard of the Pitti Palace, sparking a genre that is now a fundamental part of Italian culture. Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi all lived and worked in Italy in the 19th century, making the voice was the focus of music there at the time.

The art masterclass includes a lesson in drawing or painting in the style of one of three great Italian masters – Leonardo, Michelangelo or Caravaggio – and a guided visit to see their work in the Uffizi Gallery. The three-hour lesson takes place in the morning and inspiration will be taken from the detail of works from these important artists. The gallery visit takes place over two hours in the afternoon and is also guided by the art teacher.

Tutors, also from the Accademia Europea di Firenze, include specialist guide Matteo Cristini; artist Carlo Tarani; and well-known sculptor and scenographer Camilla Bacherini.

Rocco Forte’s Hotel Savoy is located on Piazza della Repubblica close to the Duomo and a short walk from the Uffizi Gallery and all the best shops in Florence. It was built in 1893 – the same year in which Verdi wrote his comic opera Falstaff – and now features the best of modern Italian style as interpreted by its designer Olga Polizzi.

A two-night stay including the music project starts at AED 4,662; or including the art project at AED 5,308.



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