Carmen Intermezzo / Leonore Overture
Beginning with Carmen Intermezzo, Careddu stresses the importance of perfect intonation and suggests several methods for practicing it. She also advocates for a slightly faster tempo and connection between the phrases.
In Leonora, she discusses the imagery and emotion behind the music based on the opera's plot. Because most flutists play these excerpts frequently for auditions, Careddu finds it essential to connect the music back to the story to keep the music fresh. In addition, she encourages practicing frequently with a metronome, so the performer never sacrifices tempo when focusing on other musical details.
Lastly, In both excerpts, the professor underlines the importance for the performer to always demonstrates a clear knowledge of the orchestral part.
Choosing and maintaining the right tempo.
Identifying and controlling intonation problems.
Breathing to connect the phrases.
Reflecting the story and history behind the music.
Being aware of the orchestral part even while playing alone.
Bizet’s opera Carmen, his last significant work, premiered in Paris in 1875 at the Opera-Comique. It was not a success; the scandalous storyline was not typical of the Opera-Comique and concerned critics and audiences alike. However, outside Paris, the opera was hugely popular for its memorable melodies and emotional depth. Though originally written in the style of opéra comique, with music and dialogue distinct from one another, the opera’s content also serves as an introduction to verismo, a trend toward realism that would later become popular in Italian opera. It was also later revised to include recitative.
Carmen is set in Spain and tells the story of a Gypsy woman by the same name who seduces a young soldier named Don José, abandons his military life and partner, and Carmen eventually leaves him for another man. In a fit of rage, Don José murders Carmen. The famous flute solo from the Intermezzo of Act III, however, is free from the dark character of the opera’s ending. Instead, its graceful, lyrical melody over gentle harp arpeggiation, later joined by the clarinet, enchants listeners and showcases the expressive capabilities of the flute.
In 1805, Beethoven premiered the first version of Fidelio, his only opera, under the title Leonore. The opera tells the story of Leonore, a brave heroine who rescues her husband Florestan from a political prison by disguising herself as a male prison guard. Beethoven took a great deal of time writing the overture to the opera, producing four separate versions. Though he rejected the third overture as too grandiose to open the opera, it is the version most commonly performed as a stand-alone work, and from which the famous flute excerpts are extracted. In under fifteen minutes, the overture encompasses the plot of the opera. It opens with an ominous depiction of Florestan’s prison cell, which transitions to material taken from his aria in the second act, reminiscing about his life prior to imprisonment. Trumpet calls later indicate his freedom; the music becomes even more joyous as Florestan realizes it is his own wife who has liberated him. The overture ends with a triumphant celebration. The expressive flute solos allow the player to demonstrate control, dynamic range, tone, and style.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this flute masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Silvia Careddu’s feedback and comments.
First Prize and the Audience prize at the 56th Concours International de Musique de Genève.
Silvia Careddu was born in Cagliari, Italy, and studied at the Conservatoire de Musique et de Danse de Paris, where she graduated with distinctions. Her career launched after she won the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 56th Concours International de Genève. Following the award, Lorin Maazel invited Careddu to be the solo flute of his newly founded Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini. She later joined the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Wiener Symphoniker and the Wiener Philharmoniker-Wiener Staatsoper, as principal flute.
In 2012, she became artistic partner of the Kammerakademie Potsdam, winner of the Echo-Preis 2015 for the category Best German Orchestra. As guest principal flute, Silvia plays with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Sinfonia Grange au Lac. Silvia is a founding member of the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien, a chamber music group made up of virtuoso instrumentalists.
She is highly demanded as a soloist and chamber musician, and has made an appearance at many esteemed music festivals, like the Schleswig-Holstein, the Festival des Arcs, the Bürgenstock Festival, the Australian National Academy for Music, and many more.
Moreover, Careddu is a professor at the Conservatoire – Académie Supérieure de Strasbourg HEAR, at the Hochschule für Musik ‘Hanns Eisler’ in Berlin, at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin, and at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole based in Italy. She regularly gives masterclasses in Europe and Asia, and has served as juror for the Concours de Genève, the Nicolet International Flute Competition, the Premio Claudio Abbado, the Concours Maxence Larrieu, the Crussell International Competition, and the Prague Spring International Music Competition.
Born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most mainstream references of Classicism — a pianist, composer, and an unequivocal genius. Descending from a long line of musicians, Beethoven studied music from an early age, beginning with the piano, clarinet, and the organ. At the ripe age of 11-years-old, Beethoven received his first job as a court organist, replacing his own teacher for a period of time. A veritable young prodigy, Beethoven was publicly compared to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a few years later, the young musician traveled to Vienna to briefly study under the tutelage of Mozart himself. In his late 20s, Beethoven noticed difficulties with his hearing and by his mid 40s, he was completely deaf and unable to vocally communicate. Despite this misfortune, he remarkably continued to compose music. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 was written after he had entirely lost his hearing. While his early musical career heavily reflected the Viennese Classical tradition inherited by the likes of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven achieved a unique revolutionary identity by the end of his career. Deceased in 1827, his wake was a public event that gathered around 10,000 people. Despite his passing, Beethoven’s legacy lives on. His works anticipated many of the features that would characterize music in the romantic era and even that of the 20th century.