Linda di Chamounix, Linda's aria (Ah! tardai troppo)
Linda di Chamounix, Linda's aria (Ah! tardai troppo)
In this masterclass for the voice, Maarten Koningsberger and Séléna Hollemaërt-Awadé work on vowels in different registers, breathing techniques, and more.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy
In this masterclass, Maarten Koningsberger discusses vowel shape and breathing in Linda’s first aria from Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix. He works with the student extensively on vowels, including finding the right shape in the mouth, staying centered with the voice inside the body, supporting them with clear diction, and how to change them depending on the vocal register. Additionally, he encourages the student to sing more into her middle range.
Because this aria does not contain too many high notes, she does not need to prepare her body as though she is reaching for the high register, and can instead stay more centered and sing naturally. He helps her maintain a sense of calm in the body, almost like she is only speaking, while still encouraging her to keep the energy in the music. They also work on preparing phrases with effective breaths in and producing clear trills.
Keeping the voice inside the body.
Shaping and supporting the vowels in different registers.
Maintaining the energy of the aria, but keeping it in the right place.
Freeing the larynx for clear trills.
Having clear diction to support the vowels.
Gaetano Donizetti composed Linda di Chamounix in 1843, near the end of his life. By this time, he had already composed numerous extremely successful operas and achieved international acclaim, but Linda di Chamounix helped him gain a new audience in Vienna and an invitation to become Kapellmeister at the Emperor’s court. The opera tells the story of Linda, a young woman who falls in love with a nobleman pretending to be a poor, working artist named Carlo. Meanwhile, she is also pursued by the Marquis. In an effort to rescue her from the Marquis, Carlo unveils his true identity and houses Linda in a beautiful home. However, Linda’s father assumes that she is living dishonorably with Carlo, bringing shame to the family. When Carlo is rumored to have found another wife, Linda loses her mind with grief and loss. Carlo decides not to follow through with his wedding, fortunately, and returns to Linda. She regains her mental fortitude and happiness once they get married. Though Donizetti’s works became less popular toward the end of his life, and for many decades later, they experienced a strong resurgence in the mid-twentieth century, and are now frequently performed.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this masterclass for voice. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Maarten Koningsberger’s feedback and comments.
Maarten Koningsberger taught at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music, the Conservatoire National Supérier de Musique et de Danse de Paris and the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles and is regularly invited for jury’s and masterclasses.
Dutch baritone Maarten Koningsberger musical interests include early music, opera, oratorio, romantic song, and contemporary repertoire. This diversity of styles is reflected in his concert and recital programs, and have brought him to concer thalls and festivals all over the world (Wigmore Hall London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall New York, Staatsoper Berlin, Theater an der Wien, Philharmonie München, Cité de la Musique Paris, Beijing Concert Hall, Baxter Hall Cape Town, and more).
He sings with orchestra’s such as Les Arts Florissants, the Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Academy of Ancient Music, der Akademie Alte Music Berlin, Tafelmusik Toronto, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Singapore Philharmonic. He has performed with conductors such as William Christie, Jeffrey Tate, Gustav Leonhardt, Mark Minkowski, Ton Koopman, Richard Egarr Gennady Roshdenstvenski, René Jacobs, Jan Willem de Vriend, Marin Alsop, Jaap van Zweden, and Christophe Rousset.
Maarten Koningsberger has taught singing at the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris (France), and the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (France). He is regularly invited to lead masterclasses and participate in juries all over the world.
Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) was an Italian composer, primarily known for his opera compositions. He was born in Bergamo, Italy, into a poor family, but received the opportunity to attend a nearby music school started by priest and composer Simone Mayr. Impressed by Donizetti’s natural musical talent, Mayr helped him earn admission to music school in Bologna, where he studied with Padre Stanislao Mattei. Upon leaving school, Donizetti initially composed smaller-scale works such as quartets or piano pieces. In 1818, he made his first important connections in the opera world, allowing him the opportunity to compose his first opera, Enrico di Borgogna, for the Teatro San Luca in Venice.
For over a decade, Donizetti composed operas in Venice, Rome, Milan, and Naples, many of which achieved moderate success. His true big break came in 1830 with his opera Anna Bolena, which became an immediate international success. After that, his career exploded; he quickly followed Anna Bolena with his comic opera L’elisir d’amore (1832) and his tragic masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), among many other popular operas. His operas demonstrated the bel canto style of opera also used by Bellini, which made use of beautiful, florid melodies and arias. In 1838, however, he grew disgruntled with the Naples opera scene when it rejected his opera Poliuto on religious grounds, and moved to Paris to premiere it instead.
While in Paris, he revised Poliuto to match the style of French grand opera, and premiered it in 1840. He also staged many of his previous operas and produced the popular La fille du régiment and La Favorite. He did not remain long in Paris, however, as he soon received an appointment as the emperor’s composer in Vienna. He began traveling between Italy, Paris, and Vienna, composing, producing, and conducting operas such as Linda di Chamounix (1842), Don Pasquale (1843) and Dom Sébastien (1843).
Unfortunately, Donizetti’s physical and mental health deteriorated severely at the end of his life due to untreated syphilis. While he continued working until 1845, he eventually became institutionalized and died at home in Bergamo in 1848. While his works were temporarily shelved, they made a resurgence in the twentieth century; he is now considered to be one of the most important composers of Italian opera and his greatest works are frequently staged today.