VOX Integra has been keen to develop courses in beautiful places that are conducive to learning and that therefore offer a broader learning experience. In recent years Vox has expanded into Europe with two courses so far in Italy and three in France. Building on the success of these we will run more Vox Europe courses in 2018. In March we have our 'Italian Aria Weekend' at the gorgeous Villa di Rondini, Florence. In May we have a course in Basel, Switzerland and in June our 'French Song' Course in Alsace, France. Watch this space!
Our European venture started in September 2014, when we conducted a vocal workshop weekend in Lombardy at the magnificent Borgo della Rocca, it was a chance to welcome new members to the VOX Integra team, the celebrated coach and pianist Michael Pugh and the internationally renowned Soprano Beverley Worboys. Beverley is based in Switzerland and has been our ‘Morag’ in Europe!
The Lombardy course attracted local Italian opera singers as well as a few VOX Integra UK regulars, it was a hugely successful and enjoyable course.
In May 2015, the first of several collaborations between VOX Integra and Berlin-based Forsing took place in the beautiful setting of the Convent of the Antonins in Issenheim, Alsace. The focus was French Song, concentrating on interpretation and French lyric diction with the baritone Denis Combe-Chastel, a much sought-after teacher, interpreter and exponent of French opera and chanson. The weekend attracted singers from France, Germany, England and America and repertoire explored ranged from Poulenc to Dumont.
We realised we had an ambitious agenda for the weekend with very different types of singer and personalities but after a brilliant first session taken by Beverly drawing on acting techniques, trust games and bodywork the bond of the group was established. Aspects explored in Individual sessions with Theresa, Denis and Beverly all unstintingly supported by Mike Pugh were brought together in masterclasses and culminated in a concert in the church on the Sunday evening.
The concert was warmly received by an appreciative audience and gave the participants of the course a chance to put their learning experience into a public performance. It was very satisfying from the team’s perspective to see the culmination of the personal and vocal development achieved with excellent, very individual performances from all the singers.
Alongside the luxury of such an idyllic, peaceful setting, the weekend was also very sociable as it coincided with the Issenheim Foire aux Vins d’Alsace; we spent a jolly evening sampling the region's wines and gastronomic delights!
The course finished on the Monday with a trip to Colmar to visit the famous Issenheim altar piece now on display at the Unterlinden museum.