An American in Italy: Music major performs in Florence
June 3, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
Florence, Italy. Through the Florence Voice Seminar, she is
polishing her technique in operatic singing.
Last year, Baumgartner (here in front of Old Centre) played the
starring role in the College’s production of Henry Purcell’s opera
Dido and Aeneas.
This summer, Kristen Baumgartner ’11 of Louisville is gaining valuable career experience in an unusual setting. Since May 16, she has been living and singing in Florence, Italy, where she is attending the Florence Voice Seminar (sponsored by Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N.J.). She chose the program both to improve her vocal skills and to have the opportunity to perform on an international level.
She was also eager to spend the summer in Florence in order to learn the Italian language, and, as she says, “what better place to learn than in Italy?” Strengthening her Italian will, she hopes, enable her to better understand the roots of opera and to enhance her capabilities as a musician.
By offering daily Italian classes and language immersion opportunities, the Florence Voice Seminar makes it easy for students to learn the language. The program will also hold two public concerts produced by Arts Administration students from Westminster for the voice majors at the end of the seminar, which concludes on June 8.
During the seminar, Baumgartner has had private musical coaching sessions that focus on phrasing, diction and interpretation, as well as dramatic coaching sessions to explore the techniques of successfully presenting an aria or ensemble.
Baumgartner, a double major in history and music at Centre, says that the music lessons she has taken at the College have prepared her to sing on the international level. “Professor Moutz has helped me so incredibly much at Centre, and I owe it to her guidance and encouragement that I have had the opportunity to participate in Westminster Choir College's Florence Voice Seminar. I hope to take what I’ve learned from this program and further apply it to my work with her.”
Grateful for the personal attention she has been shown in the program, Baumgartner says that “the most valuable aspect of this program is the focus you can commit to opera. I’ve worked with several coaches on various topics related to performance, and their advice correlates into a whole; everything is interrelated. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with some of the finest coaches and move forward with my intended career. The skills I’ve learned from this program are invaluable.”