Opera Camp Hits Right Notes for FSC Students

Jul 1, 2022

by Chris Gonzales
Director of Content

Summertime is filled with fun activities for students of all ages, and this summer, three Florida Southern College students will participate in an intensive Opera Camp, in the mountains of Central Italy throughout the month of July.

Clara Mansilla ‘22, Aaron Santos ‘22, and Amber Schmidt ‘22 are all participating in the International Opera Performing Experience (IOPE), which provides intense opera skills training in the medieval town of Mercatello sul Metauro, Italy. In addition to vocal coaching and stagecraft, programs include collaborative pianist, conductor apprentice, Italian language, master classes, audition seminars, resume building, and a cultural tourist component.

A total of 13 students from across the United States, including Indiana, Las Vegas, and New York, will attend the camp, which runs from July 2-29. Helping to organize the trip is program director Mark Thomsen, Artist-In-Residence and Director of Opera Theatre at Florida Southern. Thomsen is one of several professionals organizing the trip.

“This program allows our students an opportunity to live the life for a month,” Thomsen said. “They will meet other students and have access to a world-class faculty. They will truly immerse themselves in opera for the month.”

Students will have the opportunity to bridge the gap between academic and professional experience by working alongside established professionals, expanding their repertoire, increasing their knowledge of acting and movement techniques, while developing a basic proficiency of Italian language and pronunciation.

“This is a great opportunity for me to grow and hone my skills,” said Santos, who will graduate in December after transferring to Florida Southern. “I am so excited to work with some great people.”

During the four-week program, there are two major performances for all members of the program. The first is a smaller “songs and aria” concert at the end of the third week. At the end of the program is a fully staged production of two Puccini works, the comic opera Gianni Schicchi, followed by scenes from Madama Butterfly.

“I want to learn how to really sing opera, and learn the language with native Italian speakers,” said Mansilla. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I need to grab it and make it amazing!”

Vai Mocassini!

Aaron Santos, who graduates in December, has agreed to share his experiences with you through this weekly blog.