A chat with Carol Wilson
by Jeannette Fang
On her last day in Maiori, Professor Wilson allowed me to interrupt her morning tea to chat about how she enjoyed her first experience teaching at the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Vocal Program. Still glowing from her time here, she talked about how beneficial the workshop was for springing forward the progress of a young singer.
“This festival is the kind of opportunity that is so important for the young talent of today. It’s such a vital educational tool. Not only do students gain important experience, they learn so much by having to pull together a high level performance in two weeks. It’s an opportunity for them to step up and to learn teamwork. I have seen students develop at an astounding pace! There’s something about this intensive environment, the way that there’s a deadline with a focus on an immediate goal, that makes people really push themselves. The enthusiasm is almost infectious. Being surrounded by all this talent, it’s almost like they improve by osmosis.”
Carol Wilson splits her time between New York City and her professorship at the University of North Texas, which gives her a unique perspective into the challenges facing a young artist in the opera scene today. The difficulties of finding legitimate performing opportunities with the downsizing reality of opera makes her see such festivals as Amalfi Coast’s as essential. She shares the rising opinion that the future of opera seems to lie with smaller opera companies, such as the Chelsea Opera Company in Manhattan.
“Start-up companies like these are wonderful. A lot have barebones budget, so the people running it do everything. Their energy and excitement for the medium are just great to see, and the size allows for more modern works and composers to be championed. They also give more chances for emerging young singers to gain performance experience and exposure. ”
It’s clear that Professor Wilson has given much thought for the future of young artists. It was lovely to hear her thoughts and to see her enthusiastic support for such programs as the Amalfi Coast’s Vocal Institute.