Get a Feel for Italian Opera with Elisa De Toffol

Everything started with a couple of her fellow-students from the Vocal Department approaching the Italian singer asking her advice when it came to pieces in her native language: Hey Elisa, how do I pronounce this word? Or: How would you structure this sentence in that aria? ‘The Italian language is very important when it comes to singing. After all, the opera genre originates from Italy’, Elisa explains. The word spread fast amongst the singers, and soon the requests became too many, to be answered during her lunch break or after classes. And when all her concerts and projects were suddenly cancelled in 2020, Elisa stayed positive. Now, she would have time to teach again; something she really enjoys and is quite good at! Elisa knew that there was a high demand for coaching lessons in Italian singing and so she approached the Head of the Vocal Department and together, they worked out a pilot project. My dad always says: ‘When there is no work, you have to create it yourself. I am very grateful for this opportunity. It’s not just a job to me. Being here at school and staying in touch with the KonCon-Family feels amazing!’

Elisa, who already had extensive experience in teaching and coaching vocalists for more than 9 years, saw a couple of patterns in the questions she received from the students but also realised that the different cultural backgrounds and nationalities of them also resulted in very different issues. ‘I therefore use an individual approach for each of my students and focus on the specific things they want to achieve. Some students are preparing for an audition, where you often have to sing at least one Italian piece and other students take the coaching lessons to prepare for a recording.’

Bass-Baritone Jaap wants to work on his expressiveness and 4th Year Bachelor student Ben, who already had a couple of lessons with Elisa says: ‘I am here, because I always want to improve.’ Since the closing of the school, Elisa moved all her lessons online, which actually works quite well. Elisa’s eyes light up when she talks about her students: ‘With all my students, I already see an immense progress after 2-3 lessons. They become more confident in singing Italian because they get familiar with the language and gain a better understanding of the context. You can see that their connection with the music grows and this has a huge impact on their sound as well. My biggest joy in life is to see my students succeed.’