A village of medieval origins that tells a story of battles and conflicts in one of the most beautiful areas of Tuscany, Valdichiana Senese. An enchanted place where the local community was able to transform this ancient defensive castle into a welcoming hamlet. In Torrita di Siena people then began to look at art and beauty. Over the centuries, there have been more and more artists and works welcomed in Torrita. Paintings, tables, terracotta sculptures and marble bas-reliefs, but also singing and theatrical artworks. In fact, the Teatro degli Oscuri was born in 1763, in the nerve center of the village, demonstrating the importance that the inhabitants of Torrita have seen in art and theatrical works. An intense and firm bond, with deep roots that sends a clear message: art is central to Torrita di Siena.
Speaking of opera singing in the Tuscan village, every year they hold a competition that sees talents arrive from all over the world to exhibit their voices in works of any era and style. Singing, in all its lyrical forms, is so appreciated that the annual event is eagerly awaited by the Torritese community. The competition this year will take place in April and finally the long wait is about to end: the Giulio Neri International Lyric Singing Competition is returning for its XIV edition. Now you may have a question: who is Giulio Neri?
An artist born in Torrita di Siena who brought his own Tuscan village to the world
Giulio Neri, to whom the opera singing competition is dedicated, is a bass born in Torrita di Siena in 1909. With a crystalline and pure talent, he was immediately noticed for his splendid and powerful voice, so much so that a count of the time , hearing him sing, decided to pay for his studies therefore giving the whole world a new talent. After studying in Rome he won competitions that led him to sing first at the “Maggio Musicale Fiorentino” and then around the world. Among the various countries in which he performed we can mention Spain, at the Liceu in Barcelona, England with Covent Garden in London, but also Switzerland, Portugal and Brazil. He also performed a Messa di Requiem by Verdi in the Vatican City belvedere.
An artist who unfortunately left us too early and who was unable to continue performing in international events with his splendid bass voice. The international competition is dedicated to him, the main objective of the event is to seek out young talents to launch on the world opera scene, following in the footsteps of Giulio Neri’s life. The Giulio Neri International Lyric Singing Competition is love and passion for opera singing and opera and its increasing importance is also evident from the caliber of the jury, made up of famous artists and maestros at national and world level.
The competition, as mentioned, is aimed primarily at young people and serves as a springboard for new and exciting careers. However, it has no age restrictions and allows anyone to participate. This is due to the philosophy behind the organization of the event: everyone, even those who had to wait to be able to cultivate passion and talent, can perform in the setting of the Teatro degli Oscuri and demonstrate that they have a future in the world of opera.
The link between this village and the opera has been consolidated over the last 14 years thanks to this competition and every year there is more and more expectation at national level for the event. The roots that lyric singing and Torrita di Siena have in common were formed long before, for more than a century, even before the birth of Giulio Neri: without Torrita’s innate passion for art and opera, today there would have not been an event or a famous artist who went down in history to celebrate. And it is with this bond and with great emotion that Torrita di Siena invites you to its village for the XIV edition of the Giulio Neri International Opera Singing Competition.