The two Hungarians not only played music, they were themselves the music – in every nerve – down to their fingertips.

Adelheid von Schorn on Reményi and Liszt

Opera Singing MA Course Description

Goal

The education of opera singers who will be able to meet the high level expectations of modern performing practice, both technically and artistically.

 

Programme

Learning and analysing operatic roles. Performing vocal cord and respiratory exercises, studying as many different pieces as possible (Lieder, arias, chamber compositions) and performing them in their original languages, studying the characteristics of various vocal types, and getting acquainted with the interpretation of specific musical styles. These training steps are followed in a manner that is best suited to the talents of the individual student.

 

Exam

Preparations for exams are held on stage, in order to correct singing mistakes due to moving and acting. Students are obliged to learn and perform four greater roles and two smaller roles, all in their original languages. At the end of the semester, fragments chosen from these vocal parts are interpreted with a piano accompanist in an exam open to the public, whereas at the end of the academic year the piano accompaniment is replaced by a conducted orchestra. Additionally, an exam is held at the end of each semester by the Opera Department, where the students perform on stage with costumes, make up, lighting, etc.

 

Suggested literature

Famous operatic arias for different voices (Edition Peters)

Piano arrangements of operas (diverse editions: Ricordi, Peters, Universal, etc.)

 

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Professors, both affiliated with and teaching at the department, are all celebrated international stars in opera performance, with the legendary opera singer Éva Marton, professor emerita, „Kammersängerin” of the Vienna State Opera, among them. Professor Marton, after more than 40 years in the limelight on the stages of prominent opera houses all over the world, is now pursuing mentoring duties with the same zest, helping younger generations to excellence. Her artistic endeavours have been honoured with several prizes, including two Life Achievement Awards – of the Graz Opera and the ‘Golden Medalion’ of the Teatro Liceu, Barcelona –, and the most prestigious Hungarian prizes: Kossuth Prize, Bartók-Pásztory Prize, the Corvin Chain among them, in addition to being awarded the title ‘Opera Singer of the Year’ on several occasions.

2014 saw the introduction of a grand-scale competition hallmarked as the Éva Marton Singing Competition, organised by the Liszt Academy. Since its launch, the event has earned an outstanding international reputation, and, owing to its great success, will now take place biannually. Competitors from all over the world attend in the hope of being honoured with the Grand Prix, based on the decision of an international jury.

For further information on the competition, please, visit: martoncompetition.hu/en

The current Head of Department is Professor Andrea Meláth, internationally renowned mezzosoprano, lead singer of the Hungarian State Opera, one of the most acknowledged interpreters of Bartók’s art, and the most demanded singer for the role of Judit of Bluebeard’s Castle. All professors of the department are current or former stars affiliated with the Hungarian State Opera: Ingrid Kertesi, Júlia Pászthy, Atilla Kiss B., Péter Fried, and Magda Nádor, to name but a few.

In order to provide the optimal conditions for continuous development, students in each class work with their prominent mentors on a weekly basis, as well as a professional accompanist twice a week. Voice development and stage acting are the two pillars of the programme: students attend weekly main subject classes and optional classes in equal share, including stage acting, voice and speech production, language acquisition etc. They can polish their talents and explore their own stage persona by being exposed to a wide range of activities such as improvisation, situational role-play, and staging opera scenes – to achieve the finest level of artistic impression.

Every year students prove their skills in two, parallel exams. Each semester they need to pass two aria exams (with piano accompaniment at the semester closing exam and with conducted orchestra at the academic year closing exam), and twice they have to perform in staged opera productions, also with conducted orchestra.

Since 2010, the semester closing exam has been organised by András Almási-Tóth, whose daring, fresh, and genuinely contemporary approach strives for no less than the revitalisation of the opera as genre.   

The Opera and Voice Studies Department works in close collaboration with the Composition Department, whose students often create pieces suited to a particular singer, as well as contemporary operas for the final exam production. In 2012, Máté Bella’s one-act opera entitled Spring Awakening, and in 2013, Árpád Solt’s La Violetta, were written for the exam.

As a result of the ongoing fruitful cooperation between the opera and composition departments, a number of extraordinary productions have been created. For instance, composition students could try their hands at rescoring a baroque opera, as well as writing intermezzos for Mozart concert arias in contemporary style. Fortunately, success reverberates in wide international circles, further enhancing collaborations with more and more illustrious academies. Hence, Liszt Academy was proud to launch an annual international opera festival for European music academy productions. In 2014, the festival hosted productions from Stockholm, Florence, Zagreb and Budapest, in 2015 Florence and Poznan, while in 2016 Berlin and London will be our guests.

The restored building of Liszt Academy is a state-of-the-art establishment equipped with all the facilities necessary to stage opera productions. The lavish beauty of Georg Solti Chamber Hall is matched with outstanding technical requirements, plus its own studio, allowing the space to function as a mini opera house that lives up to its namesake. The chamber hall is available for student rehearsals and a wide array of practical classes. In addition, being our partner, the Hungarian State Opera also hosts exam productions or occasionally brings its own performances to Solti Hall, and is open to involving Liszt Academy students into its own productions.

In accordance with the general educational and strategic plan of Liszt Academy, students are welcome to visit all concerts and productions free of charge, and have special tickets to the Hungarian State Opera. Moreover, students are regular participants of the masterclasses organised by the Eötvös Foundation, often as performers as in the case of the exciting 2014 production of Lady Sarashina.