La clemenza di Tito, Servilia's aria (S'altro che lagrime)
La clemenza di Tito, Servilia's aria (S'altro che lagrime)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Maarten Koningsberger and Jeanne Lefort work on following a trajectory, breathing techniques, and more in this masterclass for the voice.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy
In this masterclass, Maarten Koningsberger discusses breathing and expression in “S'altro che lagrime" from La Clemenza di Tito. He works with Jeanne Lefort on preparing her singing with effective breaths that allow her to engage her diaphragm properly. He offers sage advice on practicing, cautioning her against continuing to sing phrases that have not begun with strong breaths. He also advises that when she finally achieves the sound she strives for, she must commit the feeling in the body to memory through repetition, so it becomes a habit. The goal is to automate this physical sensation, so then the focus can turn to musical expression.
He also helps Lefort become more intentional with her musical lines. She can use the text to determine which word in the phrase to aim for, but must be careful not to aim for high notes simply because they are high. Additionally, the pair work on capture the intensity and emotion through diction rather than loudness.
Using diction rather than volume to express intensity and emotion.
Remaining on a speaking level while singing.
Keeping high notes inside the phrase and the body by sucking in the air.
Using the breath in as preparation and breathing expressively.
Always knowing where the musical line is leading.
Wolfang Amadeus Mozart wrote La clemenza di tito in 1791, just a few months before the end of his life. He was asked to write an opera as part of a celebration of the coronation of Leopold II. It is believed that Mozart completed the entire opera in a matter of weeks. While it was initially a success with audiences, it has received mixed reviews over the years; some believe it is a masterpiece, while others consider it to be a rushed job that does not live up to Mozart’s other great operas. Regardless, the opera remains frequently staged today. In the opera, the jealous daughter of the previous Roman emperor, Vitellia, plans to assassinate the new emperor, Tito. She enlists the help of Tito’s servant and friend Sesto, who is besotted with her, despite being close to Tito. The assassination plot ultimately fails, and Sesto is destroyed by guilt. He admits his role in the plot, and Tito debates whether he can truly sentence his friend to death for treason. Eventually, Vitellia comes forward, and confesses in an attempt to save Sesto’s life. In the end, Tito grants clemency to everyone involved.
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.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a great child prodigy of Western music and one of the most important musicians of Classicism. He wrote more than six hundred compositions and single-handedly developed and popularized the piano concerto. He was widely recognized during his lifetime, and is still regarded as the most universal composer in the history of classical music.
Born in 1756 to Anna Maria and Leopold Mozart in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical talents were recognized at an early age. By age four, the young prodigy began playing the harpsichord, and by five-years old he was composing pieces. The Mozart family would make several trips throughout Europe to exhibit the young boy and his sister’s sensational virtuosity with the harpsichord and violin.
In later years, Mozart would enjoy a flourishing career in Vienna. He frequently performed as a pianist and was regarded as the most outstanding keyboard player in the city. In addition to his career as a performer, Mozart established himself as a fine composer. In 1782, he wrote the opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which was very successful. Other renowned operas written by the rising composer included Le Nozze de Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and Cósi fan Tutte (1790).
The death of his father in 1787 may have marked the decline of Mozart’s career. He composed very few works, suffered many financial problems, and in 1791 during a visit in Prague for the premier of his opera La clemenza di Tito, Mozart became very ill. In his final days, Mozart was preoccupied with completing his final oeuvre : Requiem in D Minor, K. 626. Unfortunately, he was unable to complete this piece (it was later finished by his student Franz Xaver Süssmayr) as he passed away on December 5th, 1791 possibly of rheumatic fever, however the official cause is unknown.
Despite Mozart’s tragic early demise, the brilliant instrumentalist and composer left an unparalleled legacy. He was a gifted composer all around and wrote in every major genre including but not limited to symphonies, operas, solo concertos, sonatas, masses and more. His influence is wide and profound, and his music continues to be recognized and celebrated for its ingenuity.