February 8, 2010

Lamperti: Father & Son

Whatever one is to make of the Lamperti School of Singing, one thing is certain: Franceso Lamperti and his son Giovanni Battista didn't see eye to eye. I learned this after combing through old newspapers at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, the clipping below from an undated New York paper (c. 1910) gives some of the particulars.   

New York has always been a center for the world of singers and singing teachers since the mid 19th century. One gets a glimpse in old newspapers just how vibrant with activity New York was, especially in the decades straddling 1900. If anything, the letters and columns written resemble the passionate postings on today's online forums. Curiously, it is the Lamperti exponents that made much more noise, while the Garcia folks seem to have kept their disagreements with each other under wraps. Exponents of the Elder Lamperti derided the teaching of the Younger, quarreling as to who was actually certified, while much ink was spilt on the dreaded coup de glotte, even though Manuel Garcia himself clarified that matter in Hints on Singing in 1894.

The clipping above came at a time when passions had cooled somewhat. What made the difference? Time and—I believe—the founding of the National Association of Teachers of Singing in 1906, which later was renamed The New York Singing Teachers Association (what we now know to be NATS was founded in 1944).

Voice teachers started talking to one other.

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