A Master Class with
International renowned Soprano and Teacher
The Art of Bel Canto
Sunday March 22, 2020 2pm - 5pm
What is bel canto vocal technique? Simply put, it is a vocal technique that facilitates the vocal requirements of the bel canto operas written from about 1810 to about 1855. It is my belief, that combined with the information available today about anatomy, this technique is the healthiest for your voice no matter what repertoire you sing.
As a Performer
Virginia Grasso, a native New Yorker, has been performing since the age of 13. She won her first vocal award at the age of 17 and went on to win seven more.
As a principal artist with the New York City Opera for 8 years, Virginia debuted as the soprano soloist in Orff's "Carmina Burana" and performed such demanding roles as Violetta in "La Traviata,"and Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni." She made her European debut in Malaga, Spain singing Bellini's "Norma" to much critical and public acclaim. In 1996, she sang Violetta in the first ever live telecast from the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Norma and Violetta became Virginia's signature roles. Praised for her bel canto style, Virginia has also excelled in such roles as Alaida in "La Straniera," Elizabetta in "Roberto Devereux" and Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermoor." Roles she performed earlier in her career include Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni," Gilda in "Rigoletto," Musetta in "La Boheme," Micaela in "Carmen," Lauretta in "Gianni Schicchi," Adele in "Der Fledermaus" and Susanna in "Le Nozze di Figaro," and others.
In addition, Virginia has also been a principal artist with The San Francisco Opera; Washington Opera; Teatro Sao Carlo, Lisbon; Grand Theatre of Geneva; Cape Town Opera, South Africa; Alfredo Kraus Theatre, Canary Islands; Teatro Colon, Bogota; Teatro Cervantes, Spain; Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan; Fort Worth Opera, Texas; Gold Coast Opera, Florida; The Sinaloa Festival, Mexico; Opera Orchestra of New York and the NYCO National Tour.
Virginia excelled as a soloist in many concert and oratorio performances on such stages as The Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy; Palau de la Musica in Barcelona; Casa Verdi in Milan; Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall in New York City; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Bruno Walter Recital Hall; Donnell Library Series; and in concerts with The New Jersey Symphony, Haifa Symphony, The Grace Choral Society, The Collegiate Choral, The Berkshire Festival, and The Brooklyn Philharmonic, - performing works of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Haydn, Honegger, Mozart, Poulenc, Schubert, Vivaldi, and others.
As a Teacher
In 2001, after many years of a successful international operatic career, I decided to leave the stage and to teach voice full-time. I realized that I had always been a teacher. I taught occasionally through the years of performing and now have over 30 years of teaching experience.
It is vital to share the vast knowledge and experience one has gained in this industry. I have worked with some of the best coaches and conductors in the business. My vocal training began at 13 years old with Virginia Lindle, who was schooled in the pedagogy of William Vennard. Thus began a lifelong teacher-student relationship and later, friendship. She guided me through a long career of singing, and she taught me a vocal technique on which I could depend. Eventually, this technical foundation gave me the security to sing some of the most demanding bel canto roles. Another important mentor in my career was Carolina Segrera. She taught me how to interpret music and words without changing that secure technique. I combine what I have learned and impart it to my students. So, when studying with me you are studying with many. You will learn the bel canto vocal technique that has stood the test of time. This technique will inform all the styles of singing that you choose, from broadway to opera.
For a number of years, I have also repaired voices that have been damaged from surgery, abuse, faulty technique, acid reflux or fatigue. I do this work in conjunction with, or approval from, a speech/voice therapist. It takes time, commitment, and patience, but I have witnessed remarkable results.
My students have performed at The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, on Broadway, regionally and internationally. I facilitate singer forums and Master Classes. In 2001, I was honored with an invitation to give a series of Master Classes on the Art of Bel Canto singing in Tokyo, Japan. It has also been a privilege to give Master Classes for Opera Noire of New York as well as being a frequent guest speaker with the Exploring Opera series in San Francisco and New York City. I am an approved voice teacher for the Lindemann Young Artist Program at The Met and I have a professional affiliation with Hunter College in NYC. Also, I am on the advisory board of Momentum Artists. I have studios in Midtown and Upper Manhattan.