How I discovered music – my passion for conducting
My musical career began in my homeland, on the island of Elba. Thanks to my mother, a pianist, I was fascinated by music from an early age and was already playing my first pieces and improvising on the local grand piano at the age of four.
Years later my path led me first to the Italian mainland, where I successfully completed my harpsichord and piano diplomas in Bologna and Lucca, before moving to Switzerland to embark on further studies. Whilst at the Schola Cantorum in Basel I devoted myself to early music, studied fortepiano and historical performance practice, prior to participating in conducting courses. I received intensive further training in particular from my teachers in Berlin, the conductors Carl August Bünte and Symeon Ioannidis.
I was particularly keen to acquire a deeper comprehension of the rhetoric in opera. During my time as director of the opera class in Basel, I explored the connection between text and music in early operas, in collaboration with various philologists and singers.
This was followed by musical experiments on the aesthetic concepts of language and music, based on operas by Caccini, Peri, Gagliano and Monteverdi. I then continued developing this research while teaching at Monserrat Figueras’ seminars on the "recitar cantando" at the Early Music School in Barcelona (Esmuc), where I was invited as a specialist in Italian recitation.
Over the course of my studies, research and practice were always closely linked. I worked as assistant conductor in opera productions alongside Lothar Zagrosek, Attilio Cremonesi, Victor Pablo, Alessandro De Marchi at many venues including the Konzerthaus in Berlin, the Culture and Congress Centre in Lucerne and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.
Furthermore, I was active in Theater Bonn, Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, Théâtre de Poissy, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Théâtre de Caen, Theater Luzern, Festspielhaus in St. Pölten, Freiburg Stadttheater, Teatro Pergolesi Jesi, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Opéra de Montpellier, Theater an der Wien, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. For several years I has conducted concerts and operas in both Germany and Spain.
The next focus of my research was integrating the orchestra into the aesthetic concepts of language and music. Thanks to this approach, I am now able to apply all the rhetorical possibilities of the sung text to the orchestral music. Based on this, I developed a special conducting technique so as to be able to convey the articulation and expression of the Italian language to the singers and instrumentalists. With this aim in view, my desire to create a holistic opera production has been since then an integral part of my work.
As artistic director I founded the opera orchestra Camerata Mallorquina on Mallorca in 2014. I have been familiar with the cultural life of the Balearic Island for many years and the opera orchestra fills a gap there. I combine having close contact with the local musicians with fine repertoire by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Gioacchino Rossini, Christoph Willibald Gluck and George Frideric Handel to name but a few. My personal attachment both to classical opera and to the island of Mallorca, forms the foundations upon which the Opera 4.0 project has been successfully established.
Musical education - work and projects - references
"When opera is created with such passion, brilliance and coherence……it is simply sensational…. more performances are absolutely called for!“
"...Her interpretation has set new standards and brought about an immediacy I've never heard before - it's as if the instruments are speaking too [...]. The resulting energy shows us new, and presumably more accurate, sides of Mozart. I’ve never been so impressed by an interpretation of his work!"
"...the Italian conductor Giuliana Retali conducted a performance of the opera which many great and established German opera houses could learn from, indeed, learn a lot from.“
"MOZART IN A FRESH, CRISP AND CLEAR STYLE. Despite its name, the Hanoverian orchestra Musica assoluta in fact plays the role of the opera orchestra. Under the direction of Giuliana Retali, this youthful ensemble plays in an alert and lively fashion, giving Mozart's score a fresh, crisp and clear quality (...). In addition the absurd finale of the second act gains significantly from the virtuoso impetus that the orchestra contributes.“
"It is fascinating how Giuliana Retali succeeds in emotionally spurring on the orchestra. Her conducting technique is outstanding and she is more of a motivator than an old-school, authoritarian orchestral trainer.“
Further references on the Opera 4.0 website