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School of the Arts

IU South Bend vocalists headed to study in Italy

The Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts is pleased to announce that three of its vocal students: Lucas Miner, Dorea Britton, and Min Ah Lee, have been chosen to participate in the Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera (EPCASO) program in Odrezo, Italy this summer.  EPCASO typically only admits 12 to 16 singers each year.  All three students submitted CD recordings for their audition.  Their teacher is soprano and alumnus of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts Deborah Mayer.

Claudia Pinza started EPCASO in 1983, in her father’s memory, to teach American singers the Italian phrasing, and for students to get a taste for the true Italian culture.  Ms. Pinza sang at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940s and now she teaches voice at Duquessne University and the University of Pittsburgh.  Her uncle was Antonio Cassinelli, a successful bass-baritone who can be heard on many of the Cetra recording that introduced a whole generation to Italian opera in the early days of the LP recordings.  He was married to soprano Maria Chiara, who also teaches at EPCASO.

The EPCASO program is a very intense six-week study program in the Veneto region of Italy.  Students have the opportunity to study voice with Claudia Pinza (Enzio Pinza’s daughter), legendary Italian soprano Maria Chiara, famed La Scala coach Enza Ferrara, and Italian conductor Maurizio Arena.  Students work five hours a day, six days a week, with a typical day including coaching sessions and Italian language with specialist Rosetta Bassi.  They also prepare for concerts and staged performances in the area.

Deborah Mayer is an alumnus herself, having participated in the EPCASO program when she was a student in Bloomington.  Among the list of other successful singers who attended this program are Angela Brown, Vivica Genaux, Young- Ok Shin, Jeff Matsey, Richard Bernstein, and Deborah Mayer’s current agent, Brain Jauhiainen.