Italian Embassy Cultural Centre hosts Opera concert on 50th anniversary together with Neemrana Foundation

Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. On the occasion, a live piano and opera concert was organized in collaboration with The Neemrana Music Foundation

Italian Embassy Cultural Centre hosts Opera concert on 50th anniversary together with Neemrana Foundation
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Murtaza Ali Khan

The Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, New Delhi recently celebrated its 50th Anniversary. On the occasion, a live piano and opera concert was organized in collaboration with The Neemrana Music Foundation. The concert was followed by a cake-cutting ceremony. Speaking on the occasion, Vincenzo de Luca, the Ambassador of Italy to India said, “Today we celebrate 50 years of art and culture, 50 years of lifestyle events, and 50 years of fine Italian cuisine. Our Cultural Centre over the last 50 years has been a reference point for the cultural life in Delhi. We have worked closely with the cultural institutions of the city and the civil society since the inception.” Ambassador Vincenzo de Luca also thanked Dr. Andrea Baldi, Director of Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, for his remarkable contribution to the centre during his ongoing tenure while also extending his gratitude to all the previous directors.

Dr Baldi, during his address, thanked Ambassador Vincenzo de Luca for his support to the Cultural Centre. “For us, this is a truly meaningful occasion. Not only it is the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Centre but it is also the first in person event organized by the Culture Centre after the outbreak of the pandemic apart from an event of cinema back in March this year. Furthermore, this event also marks the debut of our new piano. During the 50 year long period the Cultural Centre has been a major cultural hub in the city, operating in all sectors of cultural life and promoting the regional Italian languages and culture,” said Dr. Baldi while also acknowledging the contribution made by each and every director who came before him.

Italian Embassy Cultural Centre hosts Opera concert on 50th anniversary together with Neemrana Foundation

The Neemrana singers are a group of young artists from Delhi, who perform throughout the country and specialize in the genre of opera. They are trained to both sing and act. Opera Soprano Aude Priya Wacziarg, the Managing Trustee of The Neemrana Music Foundation, said, “Opera was born in Italy not 50 years ago but 500 years ago and we are greatly honored to be performing here tonight on the occasion of the Italian Cultural Centre’s 50th anniversary. We have a group of very dedicated young opera singers in Delhi who are learning opera and performing opera. The ones who are learning are doing just the choir tonight and the professionals are doing the solos.”

As part of the concert, the solos were performed by Renie Mathew, Jateen Sharma, Shambhavi Mishra, and Akash Gadamsetty with Philippe Engel, Head of Music Department, The Neemrana Music Foundation, at the piano. Along with the solos, the young artists also performed alongside the world famous Italo-French soprano Harmonie Deschamps who excels in various repertoires, ranging from the baroque to the contemporary. “I have been working with this wonderful group of young singers at the The Neemrana Music Foundation and it is always a pleasure because they are all so full of enthusiasm. I am really happy to be performing with them here tonight on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre,” said Deschamps.

Speaking about her learning, one of the young singers Renie Mathew revealed, “I began singing in the choir with The Neemrana Music Foundation in 2014 and started training with our teacher Mr Jasmin Martorell soon after my first concert with them. Over time, the foundation has helped me in numerous ways to grow as a musician with guest artists and teachers coming in from all around the world to work with and on us. And, additionally, providing scholarships to study in France in collaboration with the French Embassy. I was lucky to be one of the recipients of this scholarship. The exposure and experience they provide for Indians aspiring to be classical musicians is unparalleled.” At the concert, Renie sang Orpheo's aria “Che Faro Senza Eurydice” from Gluck's Orpheo ed Eurydice, Mozart's duet “La Ci Darem La Mano,” the trio from Cosi Fan Tutte “Soave Sia il vento,” and the quartet from Verdi's Rigoletto “Bella figlia”.

Italian Embassy Cultural Centre hosts Opera concert on 50th anniversary together with Neemrana Foundation

One of the other solo performers, Jateen Sharma extended his gratitude to Priya Wacziarg and The Neemrana Foundation for the opportunity. “I have been with the Neemrana Foundation for almost 1.5 years now and it has really changed the way I sing. I have improved a lot under them. My vocal coach Mr. Jasmine Martorell has helped me a lot in my journey and he is one the best vocal coaches I have ever had. I would like to thank Priya for everything that she is doing with the foundation. She’s always so motivating and such a kind person. Also, she has one of the best voices I have ever heard. I am also grateful to Mr Philippe Engel for his support and guidance. I always get to learn something new from him and I love his talent as a pianist.”

Shambhavi Mishra, who has been training with The Neemrana Music Foundation since 2015 said, “The foundation has not just been a very important platform for me to learn about western classical music, choral singing and to train my voice but also for performance. Pre-COVID we had at least two productions every year and we began preparing roles of operettas and zarzuelas over the years.” While the pandemic did pose several impediments it also provided the young performers the opportunity to watch and study of the world of opera. “While we were partially online during the pandemic, we also did several workshops and performances in this time with Ms Harmonie Deschamps and the Alliance Français, while Ms Aude Priya Wacziarg made sure we had enough opportunities to perform and learn even during these pandemic years,” added Mishra who sang Giuseppe Verdi’s “Saper Vorreste” from Un Ballo in Maschera and Carlo Menotti’s “Hello, Hello” from The Telephone as part of the concert.

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Published: 09 Oct 2021, 7:00 PM