Music student on the move around the globe

Talia Fischer touring Italy.

Fischer and friend Daniela exploring Italy.

Story contributed by Carrie Care, Publicity, Alumni & Donor Relations Coordinator for the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at Colorado State University.

Talia Fischer in castle in Piobbico, Italy where she performed.
Talia Fischer in castle in Piobbico, Italy where she performed.

Musical journey

Voice major and LEAP minor student Talia Fischer spent nine weeks this past summer on a musical journey that took her around the world.

Part I: Urbania, Italy

Departing Colorado in June, Talia set out for Urbania, Italy to participate in “Si parla, si canta,” a four-week Italian language program for young singers.

According to “Si parla’s” website, the program includes:

  • intensive study of the Italian language and culture,
  • musical and dramatic coaching in Italian operatic and song repertoire with an illustrious, internationally-known faculty,
  • exciting performing opportunities, and
  • the chance to experience the glories of the Marche region of Italy, nestled between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea.

Fischer selected after audition

The only CSU student out of 30 singers from around the U.S., Talia was selected for this program through a competitive audition process.

During the four-week period, Talia was immersed in learning the Italian language, benefitting from lessons and coachings, performing in opera scenes concerts, and more.

“This was an absolutely amazing experience!” Talia beamed. “I received so much personal attention and meaningful feedback on my language and performance skills that have been immensely helpful.”

The prestigious Centro Studi Italiani school

At the heart of the program is the prestigious Centro Studi Italiani language school in Urbania, Italy. One of the most respected institutions of its type in the world, Centro Studi offers levels of Italian courses for every student, from grammar and conversation classes for the absolute beginner to literature courses for the extremely advanced.

Talia, however, was not only studying Italian at the Centro Studi Italiani, but was also truly immersed in the local culture by living with a host family for her month-long stay.

“Staying in a small town and really getting to know the people there – they became my friends,” Talia said. “And while the language training in the program was great, using the language with these warm and welcoming people every day took my learning to a whole new level.”Italian countryside

As a singer, Talia encapsulates her learning at “Si parla, si canta” as the “ability to gain a deeper understanding of the language – it was like a light bulb went off and I had a new understanding of the way in which language informs how a piece was composed and how it is meant to be performed.”

“I’ll never forget this experience,” said Talia. “The friends I made, the amazing food we had, the beautiful Italian countryside, and the whole atmosphere leave me wanting to go back already!”

Part II: Waimea, Hawaii

After a quick 36-hour turnaround in returning from Italy, Talia found herself half way across the globe in Waimea, Hawaii, on the Big Island, for an internship with the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival during their 10th anniversary season.

Each July, this three-week vocal and string festival presents a series of exciting live performances including recitals, concerts, and staged productions, as well as master classes, where audience members can observe the teaching/coaching process.

During the 2014 season, Talia worked for five weeks on a variety of projects for the festival, including housing for artists, working with donors, outreach, and more.

“One of my favorite events was the concert we did at the local farmers’ market in Waimea,” said Talia. “There was great community support for the festival and these events that just made it even more fun.”

Hawaii Performing Arts Festival: 25 concerts in 20 days

Vocal major Talia Fischer
Fischer with her host family in Urbania, Italy. The family’s apartment was right across the street from where Fischer attended classes at the Centro Studi Italiani.

With a total of 25 performances in 20 days, Talia helped produce concerts and events for the festival’s two age groups with approximately 35 performers of late high school/early college and 11-16 years old.

Performances included concert works from Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Viardot’s Cendrillon, Handel’s Julius Cesar, Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, and more.

Coaches and special guests at the festival with whom Talia got to rub shoulders every day included opera stage director Chuck Hudson, baritone Robin Buck, composer Ricky Ian Gordon, and more.

“These people became my arts family,” said Talia. “It’s a tight-knit community, and the networking opportunities I was afforded will be so beneficial as I move forward.”

The Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Arts Advocacy, and the Public

As a LEAP Institute (Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Arts Advocacy, and the Public) student at CSU, Talia noted that the resources and training she received before her time abroad proved invaluable to her experience.

“We are constantly being encouraged to be creative and innovative in problem solving,” she said. “My LEAP training has made me much more comfortable with having professional responsibility and taking an active role in making these things happen.”

Reflecting on her whole summer experience, Talia concludes that these travel and internship opportunities have allowed her to “form a new sense of independence – both personally and professionally.” Her advice to other students: “when these opportunities come along, TAKE THEM!”

Read more about Talia’s travel experiences on her blog.