Welcome to our
Summer 2018 newsletter!


The Solti Accademia is the finest living tribute my husband could ever have wished for. His favourite place in the world was his home in Castiglione which he said reminded him so much of his childhood holidays in Hungary.
Solti’s dream was to spend time working with young singers at his Italian home, coaching them and passing on the techniques and advice he had learnt from his own mentors: Bartók, Kodály, and Richard Strauss.
Candice Wood and Jonathan Papp, together with the citizens and Commune of Castiglione and the wonderful support from Rolex and its director of philanthropy Rebecca Irvin and her team, have made Solti’s dream come true.
Outstanding young singers and pianists have attended the courses over the past years, many of whom are now making important careers in the leading opera houses of the world.
Thank you everyone for your support and for enabling Solti's dream to be realised - he would be smiling!


The GSA is a source of such pride for all of us, not just the students.  I urge you all to keep an eye on the Alumni news. Some highlights include the sad but wonderful news that my marvellous assistant, Jonathon Swinard, has his final year with us.  This is due to his success in becoming Head of Music at Garsington Opera - a wonderful achievement - and I’m delighted for them. Jonathon changed our lives at the GSA, not just through his musical talents, but also with his calm, thorough and meticulous planning and administration skills. I would never have lasted this long without him. Jonathan Lakeland, another accomplished alumnus takes over from him. Amongst the notable news with our singers I must celebrate Christina Gansch, who makes her Glyndebourne debut as Mélisande in their brand new production of Pelléas and Mélisande. We are also thrilled for the success of the young British tenor who joined us in 2017, Freddie De Tommaso. His victory at such a young age in the Viñas competition, winning First Prize, the Verdi Prize, and the Placido Domingo Tenor Prize is remarkable. His career from Munich and Madrid, through to the Royal Opera House in London, is already on an extraordinary trajectory.

Repetiteurs and singers from the 2018 Solti Peretti Repetiteurs’ Masterclasses

By this point in the year we have had both the Venice and Beijing Masterclasses - two exciting and successful courses - and our Summer line-up of singers promises to be an accomplished group, including two from the Beijing classes of 2017 and 2018. We welcomed Stefano Baldasseroni as our new language coach in China and we look forward to him continuing his outstanding and rigorous work in Castiglione.  Along with his skills as a diction coach, Stefano is a world-class drummer, having toured with Frank Zappa, amongst others.  We are also excited and delighted to welcome Federico Grazzini to enable the drama and staging of the final concerts. His extensive credits range from Rome and Parma, through to Nice and Wexford.  These two new young members of the faculty join us in welcoming Alessandro Corbelli, who is such a larger than life figure on the operatic stage, passing on his huge experience and world class standards to our young and aspiring singers for the first time.

Jonathan Papp playing with a student at the Beijing Masterclasses ©Rolex

I hope you enjoy all the news of the GSA and its singers and pianists, and we hope to welcome you at one of our projects soon!



Announcing the singers for the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto masterclasses of summer 2018:

Sopranos: Beatrice Acland, Wenmeng Gu, Whitney Morrison, Alexandra Oomens

Mezzos: Bronwyn Douglass, Marvic Monreal, Hannah Poulsom

Tenors: Luis Aguilar, Satriya Krisna

Baritones: Alan Higgs, Darwin Prakash, Chunlai Shang



SOLTI-PERETTI REPETITEURS COURSE, April 2018 Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice Here is what our six repetiteurs had to say about their 10 days on the Solti-Peretti Repetiteurs' course this year: AYMERIC CATALANO | Italy / France The course has been a terrific experience for me …



Wallis Giunta (GSA 2011) won “Young Singer of the Year” at the 2018 International Opera Awards in London. Her busy upcoming schedule has her jumping between countries to perform roles in Germany, where she is on contract at Oper Leipzig, Canada, and the USA.   

Freddie De Tommaso (GSA 2017) walked away with First Prize, the Placido Domingo Tenor Prize, and the Verdi Prize at the 55th Viñas International Singing Competition in January. This autumn he joins the Opernstudio at the Bayerishe Staatsoper, where fellow Solti alumnus Long Long (GSA 2017) continues for a second year.

Jonathon Swinard (GSA 2013) takes over as Head of Music and Artistic Director of the Alvarez Young Artists’ Programme at Garsington Opera. He has also been appointed Artistic Director of the Scottish Opera Young Company and continues his work as Chorus Master and Repetiteur for the main company.


The UK has a plethora of summer opera festivals on offer. Many of our talented alumni can be found in each of these festivals and this summer we’ve been showcasing them on Social Media. In case you missed it, here are just a few highlights of the fantastic things they are doing:

Christina Gansch (GSA 2012) is singing the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande at Glyndebourne.

John Irvin (GSA 2015) can be found singing Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville at The Grange Festival.

Tereza Gevorgyan (GSA 2011) is at Grange Park Opera singing Oscar in Un ballo in maschera.

From our Solti Peretti Repetiteurs’ Course David Todd (GSA 2016) is the Chorus Master of Isabeau at Opera Holland Park, Mark Austin (GSA 2010) is the Assistant Conductor on The Barber of Seville at The Grange Festival, and Soojeong Joo (GSA 2010) is the repetiteur for Idomeneo at Buxton International Festival.


Above: Wallis Giunta (GSA 2011).
Left: Christina Gansch as Mélisande rehearsing
Pelléas et Mélisande at Glyndebourne. ©James Bellorini
Below: John Irvin as Count Almaviva in
The Barber of Seville at The Grange Festival. ©Simon Annand


Four of our alumni have been selected out of hundreds to compete in the internationally renowned competition Operalia, held this year in Lisbon, Portugal. We caught up with them to get a bit of ‘backstage insight’ into competing in such a huge international competition.

How does it feel to be selected as a competitor for this year’s Operalia?

Elizabeth Sutphen (GSA 2016): I am absolutely thrilled and honored to have been selected as a competitor for Operalia this year. As I have grown in this industry, it’s become abundantly clear how much talent exists in this field. Even just among my close friends and the colleagues with whom I have worked, I know that there is no shortage of brilliant singing and artistry in this realm. I feel incredibly lucky to stand among the great young singers of my generation: not only in this competition, but in all of the work that I pursue. These other young singers and colleagues inspire me tremendously, and any chance I have to be exposed to what they have to offer is a priceless opportunity to better my own self and enhance what I have to offer. The stage of Operalia is truly a testament to that.

What are the challenges of participating in an international competition of this calibre?

Luis Gomes (GSA 2012): First of all, there will be some of the best young singers you can find in the world at the moment. So when you perform, you have to show not just what you can do technically speaking, but also what you can bring from yourself into the pieces. Your focus of heart and mind make such a difference and it is not always easy to achieve that focus under such close scrutiny.

How did you choose your repertoire for this competition?

Alexander McKissick (GSA 2016): As of now, I’m planning on sticking to a few pieces that have done very well for me over the past two years or so. I’m adding "Ella mi fu rapita... Parmi veder le lagrime" from Rigoletto though, and a new zarzuela piece for that competition. Essentially, I've tried to pick pieces that are electrifying, but are also technical displays. Edgardo’s aria from Lucia di Lammermoor and the Rigoletto are both in the bel canto tradition and navigate the passagio constantly, so I’m hoping to win points from technically minded judges in those two. At the moment I’m thinking Roméo’s aria from the Gounod and Alfredo’s aria from La traviata to round out the set. I will have performed both of those roles in their entirety by competition time and I’m hoping to bring out that knowledge of character and style won through intimate knowledge of a show.

Is there any aspect of the competition that you are particularly looking forward to?

Long Long (GSA 2017): For this competition, I am particularly looking forward to showcasing myself on the world stage. I want more people to know me and I think this will be a good start for my career. In particular, I am excited to meet Maestro Placido Domingo. He is the most respected maestro I have ever known and I am a super fan of his.


Jan 16 - 17, 2019
Royal Academy of Music,

April 18 - 27, 2019
Solti Peretti Repetiteurs’ Masterclasses, Venice

June 25 - July 15, 2019

GSA Bel Canto summer school, Castiglione della Pescaia


Barbara Frittoli ©Clive Barda
Below: Jonathon Papp, Barbara Frittoli, and Stefano Baldasseroni with the students at the Beijing Masterclasses. ©Rolex


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