My Musical Holiday To Treviso In Italy


Last weekend I had a short yet musical holiday to Treviso in Italy, where the sun was shining bright so I could recharge my batteries before a busy final term at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  The main reason for my visit was that I had been accepted to compete in the 8th International Competition “Giovani Musicisti – Città di Treviso”.

I had to prepare five arias for the preliminary round and a 15 minute program for the final. As always I prepared as well as I could and after visiting the Leeds lieder master-class the previous weekend I had some new ideas to try out to help improve my communication of the arias and the portrayal of the characters.

The other competitors were wonderful and very friendly. During the competition it was lovely to hear voices from Switzerland, Slovenia, China, Lithuania, Italy, Poland and Georgia and to be able perform alongside them.


The stage was in a large converted cinema, that paid homage to Charlie Chaplin in its corridors with screen shots from his movies. The stage had rich velvet curtains draping the performance space, a selection of fresh cut flowers and two grand pianos. The day before the competition we were able to have a short rehearsal on the stage to test the acoustics and to get a feel for the space.

On the day of the competition at lunchtime I performed Rusalka’s “Song to the Moon” by Dvorak and “Prendi Per Me Sei Libero” by Donizetti in the preliminary round.  Following which I stayed to watch the other contestants who performed some glorious Arias such as ‘Chi Bel Sogno Di Doretta’ by Puccini and ‘Don José’s Flower Aria’ by Bizet. We all then had to wait until late afternoon for the results of who would go through to the final that evening.

At 16:00 a sheet was posted onto the notice board with the names of the contestants through to the final, mine was the only name on the list for my category which I thought a little strange at the time.  Apparently the competition has a very strict rule that unless you get at least 85/100 you cannot proceed to the final. I was shocked as the standard of singing from everyone there was very high.  So I began to mentally and physically prepare for the final which I knew would be both exciting and demanding as the standards were so high.  This meant dashing back to my hotel room to get my dress ready to perform again at 17:00 alongside the finalists from the older category.

The River Sile In Treviso

In the early evening I went on stage again to perform my final program and gave it everything I’ve got. I tried to give every musical phrase a reason and a thought which provoked it. But in all honesty I don’t remember much as I went to a place of sheer concentration and the time just disappeared. But I know that I had a lot of fun and the adrenaline gave me such a rush I had to be careful descending from the stage via the stairs as my feet were quivering haha.

I then watched the three older singers who performed in the final of their category. All very lovely and extremely talented singers. The three were Chinese but study in Bologna so I was able to converse in Italian with them. (Which was very exciting!)

Then came the time for deliberation. The performers and audience had to leave and await the verdict. When the three judges had finished we were called forward. The three judges, who were all opera singers gave their verdict in Italian mainly, which I could understand but they broke it down into English at times (possibly because of the look of deep concentration on my face). Sadly they didn’t award any prizes to either category as they said this industry is very tough and often you learn more and will then work harder from receiving a ‘No’.

They explained that if we were all auditioning for work in Italy though we all sang well we still had areas that we needed to improve. They further explained that to be an opera singer you must be able to navigate and be efficient in all five main areas, idiomatic pronunciation, legato, projection, breathing, acting (colouring the voice).   Afterwards I was able to speak to the judges individually and discuss in more detail what I needed to address first and their comments have enabled me to create new tasks to work on with my teacher going into my final term and then to continue with during my master’s degree.

Reaching the final in my first non-UK based ‘International Competition’ was such an exciting experience and I can’t wait to try again.

So perhaps they were right telling me ‘No, try harder’.  Which is what I have already started to do after returning to Glasgow.

(Even though I don’t know how I have managed to raise the bar – I think I need an extra hour in every day 🙂  )

Lewis Carroll


63 thoughts on “My Musical Holiday To Treviso In Italy

  1. Oh Charlotte, what a wonderful action packed weekend for you, in Italy.
    So exciting, plus, quite a learning experience. You look pretty in your pink.
    Keep up the great work, thanks for posting about such an interesting weekend
    in Treviso.

    1. Thank you Darlene, I could happily wear my new pink outfit every day but I’m keeping it for performances, it makes me happy. It was terrific I got to hear some amazing singers and their repertoire and got some key points to work on.

      Best wishes

    1. I learnt a lot from the experience Kevin and that’s what’s the most important to me at the moment. Just seeking out the lowest costs to get around and arranging last minute rooms is a useful experience. Thanks for leaving a message for me here 🙂

      Best wishes

  2. Great, proud of you. Nice that you have discuss with the judges. Thanks for this nice share – Take care of you. As passionate artist, one often needs the day of 25, 26, 27 hours :-). Often people forget, because we give them impression that it is easy, yet there is much, much work to give pleasure to others …. Fortunately even if a lot of fatigue, it was a lot of fun also. The best for you Charlotte. 🙂

    1. Yes, I’ve been swimming, exercising, meditating, and regularly going to yoga and all the rest to keep some balance with the tremendous amount of work I’m taking on. I’ve been relaxing and watching some films too. Don’t worry I’m taking care.

      Best wishes

  3. Congratulations on reaching the final! That alone says much about your talent and preparation. You should be very proud! And congratulations also for seizing the opportunity to learn from the experience. Your attitude is so great!
    We learn throughout our lives, and in all honesty, I never felt that I was getting close to what I wanted to do until 30 years or so after leaving music school. Hearing music all those years—and especially great singers, a few of whom I have been privileged to know—is what taught me the most. I almost never play anything on my clarinet (as I did for a church service this morning) without being acutely conscious of what I have learned from hearing the singers I have learned from.

    1. There’s plenty of finals I don’t get into Peter it’s about discovering what works and what doesn’t at the moment whilst I’ve still time to make corrections and work on improving. I realise it’s a lifelong commitment as the judgements in classical music are so much more demanding. How lovely that you have had wonderful partnerships with singers I like to think that I have that relationship with other musicians I sing with.

      Best wishes

  4. Well done on reaching the final but I’m amazed they didn’t award any prizes, their demands must have been sky high! Glad to hear you had a nice time anyway, good luck with the upcoming term.

    1. I’ve been in a competition before where the first prize wasn’t awarded because no-one scored over 90, thank you for your good luck wishes I’ll store them up.

      Best wishes

  5. The excitement of knowing better awaits… This ensures you will always have something fresh and new to experience. Good on you! 🙂

    1. These experiences are all ‘character building’ my parents always remind me. I saw this poster the other day ‘The man on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there’ 🙂

      Best wishes

  6. Not bad of a break from the university!

    I have to give a nod to the judges. It took some moxy to not just declare a winner and it is refreshing that they wanted your group to push yourselves onwards.

    Congrats for making the finals!

    1. Haha, my parents take a small number of holidays so I’ve always been used to activities through holiday periods. I like to be busy. Thanks Steve.

      Best wishes

  7. Well done for getting through to the finals! I hope you were encouraged by what the judges had to say. It is quite refreshing to find that some competitions don’t award prizes just for the sake of it. I know you know how difficult it is to make a career as an opera singer and these judges appeared to treat you all as sensible, hard-working people. It must have been a very tiring experience, especially as you had to work so hard to understand what the judges had to say! Congratulations!

    1. I hadn’t had much luck with scholarship applications, so I thought I’d try my hand competing again after a year’s break – it was a brilliant experience anyhow. Competition season is over now so I’ll have to be more enterprising.

      Best wishes

  8. Fantastic to get to the final of an International competition. I feel really pleased for you and your family. I am going to borrow some of your courage and join a local organisation for public speaking, as this terrifies me and I will have to do it several times this year.

    1. I think it’s a great idea to join a local society, I think practise is the key. I got a lot out of doing the English song competition because it helped me to improve my speech presentation, my Mum said it has really improved.

      Best wishes

    1. Thanks Marie. I’ve been preparing my final recital performance, really working on planning and preparation and keeping on top of projects so I’ve an exciting final few weeks ahead.

      Best wishes

  9. “Sadly they didn’t award any prizes to either category as they said this industry is very tough and often you learn more and will then work harder from receiving a ‘No’.”

    Wha?! That sounds like a gimmick to me…they are judges and they didn’t do their job! If I’d paid for this I’d ask for my money back!

    1. Classical music adjudicators are often very stringent. It takes many years to build up a tough skin, luckily I have a really supportive network to help me to deal with things.

      Best wishes

  10. I’m happy you reached the Final, though I don’t understand a Competition without a Winner. If I had feathers, they would be officially ruffled right now. But I’d never turn down a trip to Italy and you seemed to have had fun. Congratulations. At least, making it to the Final on such strict standards has given you even more confidence. We’re still rooting for you.

    1. You’ve just got to accept it wasn’t quite good enough, it’s disappointing when you’ve been working hard on a recital but you just have to move on.

      Best wishes

  11. Someday, you must explain, if possible, what it means ro “color the voice.” somehow (I think it must be akin to tone in speaking). What fun to have a competition with no losers. Wonderful that singers from Slovenia, Poland and Georgia could attend, given their circumstances a few short decades ago.

  12. Hi Charlotte, I noticed you liked one of my recent posts and that’s how I landed on your lovely blog. I must say you are a wonderful and an inspiring young lady. I wish you all the very best in your endeavours. Break a leg darling! Hugs X

  13. Congratulations on reaching the final, Charlotte! I only wish I could have been there to hear you. And double congratulations on your ability in Italian; I wish I could speak more than one language. Oh, and I love the pink dress, too. 🙂

    Best regards,


  14. Congratulations on reaching the final. A competition with no winner is an unusual experience, but it’s wonderful that you were able to get better because of it. Ultimately a win for you and your passion.

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