Perfect Italian Diction for Singers: An Authoritative Guide provides the steps and tools for singing beautifully and expressively in this language.
Timothy Cheek and Anna Toccafondi systematically home in on the essential features of the most beautiful Italian, pitfalls of non-native singers, and how to overcome those issues. In addition to delving to the heart of Italian sounds and inflection, they present controversies, misconceptions, and various approaches—often conflicting—that have arisen throughout the last century. Chapters also address:
Also included are a plethora of audio and video examples and exercises (over seventy QR codes), exercises for group or self-study, and self-assessment summaries. This book will help singers and students lay a solid foundation in beautiful, lyric Italian.
Timothy Cheek has taught Italian lyric diction at the University of Michigan since 1993. As collaborative pianist, he has performed throughout Italy, and worked for nine years in Tuscan summer vocal programs, both at Cincinnati Conservatory’s Opera Theatre and Music Festival of Lucca program and at the University of Michigan’s spring term program in Sesto Fiorentino. Cheek has written books on Czech lyric diction and opera, and he is the series editor of Rowman & Littlefield’s Lyric Diction series. His long association with Italian pianist/coach Anna Toccafondi extends to over three decades of collaboration and consultation.
Anna Toccafondi performs regularly in major festivals and theaters in Italy, Europe, and Japan. She recently began a cooperation with the Municipality and the Teatro Garibaldi of Modica (Sicily) for the project Cantare in Perfetto Italiano, Singing in Perfect Italian, a series of masterclasses devoted to foreign singers and collaborative pianists. Committed to unpublished or lesser known compositions of the Italian vocal repertoire, Toccafondi has done research, transcriptions, revisions, and recordings of important composers.
Recorded Examples and Exercises
1. The Basis for the Most Beautiful and Correct Lyric Italian Diction
2. The Seven Italian Vowel Sounds
3. The Essentials of Stress and Length
4. The Pronunciation of e and o
5. The Italian Consonants
6. Double Consonants and Phrasal Doublings
8. Mastering Glides, Hiatus, Diphthongs, and Triphthongs
9. Italian Style
10. Working with Text
11. Best Use of Supplemental Resources
Appendix A. Verb Endings
Appendix B. Essential Grammar
About the Authors
Bravo! A book for serious craftspeople in opera. I think of a talented student of opera singing as a diamond in the rough, and perfect Italian diction is the table facet on the brilliant cut. This book makes the cut and polish.
Perfect Italian Diction for Singers is a stunning foray into the intricacies of accurate and idiomatic reproduction of Italian diction for all levels of singers and professionals alike—it reflects the vast experience of the authors. Not only does it address rules of lyric diction in a comprehensive fashion, but it also investigates the characteristic inflection and elements of style integral to a greater realization of authentic Italian performance. This is an essential tool for all who strive towards the highest levels of Italian repertoire performance, and it will certainly take pride of place on my bookshelf!
This immense, exhaustive work is a fantastic new approach in helping Anglophones understand not only the technical minutiae of Italian language but also explains it in a wonderfully approachable and enjoyable vernacular. I cannot recommend this guide enough.
Since its inception, opera has served as a formidable means of spreading the Italian language. Over the centuries the language of opera librettos has followed the evolution of taste and has changed while maintaining a strong link with the classical poetic tradition. Both for its linguistic accuracy and for its cultural richness, Perfect Italian Diction for Singers allows those who approach the Italian vocal repertoire to perfect the study of the language of librettos in a thorough and effective way, through clear examples and up-to-date teaching tools.
For those who work in the world of singing, both solo and choral, diction is often a difficult problem to solve reliably and securely. This text represents an exhaustive tool for Italian phonetics, providing solid theoretical foundations with truly effective practical exercises. This new text is absolutely indispensable for the serious study of Italian phonetics as applied to singing in all its expressions.
Cheek, who teaches lyric diction at the University of Michigan, is the author of several books, including Singing in Czech. Toccafondi is Professor of Collaborative Piano at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence; she has worked extensively as instructor of Italian vocal repertoire and diction in both her native Italy and abroad. The combined expertise of the authors is evidenced by the thoroughness of this volume. Singers, coaches, and anyone committed to perfecting their Italian lyric diction will find this book an indispensable tool. It is highly recommended.
Recorded audio can be accessed on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/perfect-italian-diction
Select video examples can be accessed on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFNm-l7xjd8ZqdgPt2z1k-A