he Course for Opera Coach / Assistant Conductor, offered since 1994, trains musicians to perform the various functions needed to prepare an opera or ballet performance.
As rehearsal pianist, the opera coach accompanies the singers, chorus and dancers on piano during rehearsals and assists the conductor and director during the actual performance. As prompter, working alongside the director and stepping in for the conductor as necessary, the coach directs the group and dress rehearsals and assists the conductor during performances. As stage manager, he or she gives cues to singers, the chorus, dancers, mimes and technicians according to the director’s notes on the score and may conduct the off-stage orchestra. The lead instructors, some of whom contribute to the Teatro alla Scala productions, are: James Vaughan, Enza Ferrari, Umberto Finazzi, Alberto Malazzi, Dante Mazzola, Alessandro Melchiorre, Vincenzo Manna, and Vincenzo Scalera.
Course participants also receive intensive practical training through participation in the Academy Project (an opera on the Teatro alla Scala program fully staged by students). As part of the Music Department courses, they will also take part in master classes, provide accompaniment to the singers in the Opera Academy during their lessons, take part in the Academy Course for Orchestra Musicians, the Course for the Ensemble of Modern and Contemporary Music, the Chorus and the Children’s Chorus. Furthermore, during the course, the students will have the opportunity to watch rehearsals of operas and concerts on the Teatro alla Scala program.