What is bel canto vocal technique? Simply put, it is a vocal technique that facilitates the vocal requirements of the bel canto operas written from about 1810 to about 1855. It is my belief, that combined with the information available today about anatomy, this technique is the healthiest for your voice no matter what repertoire you sing. This style shows off the virtuosity of the singer... read more
As a Performer
Virginia Grasso, a native New Yorker, has been performing since the age of 14. She won her first vocal award at the age of 17 and went on to win seven more.
A principal artist with the New York City Opera from 1997 to 2002, Virginia has performed such demanding roles as Violetta in "La Traviata," Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni" and debuted as the soprano soloist in Orff's "Carmina Burana." She made her European debut in Bellini's "Norma" to much critical and public acclaim and performed Violetta in the first ever live telecast from the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Norma and Violetta became Virginia's signature roles. Praised for her bel canto style, Virginia has also excelled in such roles as Alaida in "La Straniera," Elizabetta in "Roberto Devereux" and Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermoor." Roles she performed earlier in her career include Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni," Gilda in "Rigoletto," Musetta in "La Boheme," Micaela in "Carmen," Lauretta in "Gianni Schicchi," Adele in "Der Fledermaus" and Susanna in "Le Nozze di Figaro," among others.
In addition to NYCO and Bellas Artes, Virginia has also been a principal artist with The San Francisco Opera; Washington Opera; Teatro Sao Carlo, Lisbon; Grand Theatre of Geneva; Cape Town Opera in South Africa; Alfredo Kraus Theatre, Canary Islands; Teatro Colon in Bogota; Teatro Cervantes in Malaga, Spain; Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan; Fort Worth Opera, Texas; Gold Coast Opera, Florida; The Sinaloa Festival, Mexico; Opera Orchestra of New York and the NYCO National Tour.
Virginia enjoyed being a soloist in many concert and oratorio performances on such stages as The Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy; Palau de la Musica in Barcelona; Casa Verdi in Milan; Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall in New York City; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Berkshire Festival; Bruno Walter Recital Hall; Donnell Library Series; and in concerts with The New Jersey Symphony, Haifa Symphony, Israel and Brooklyn Philharmonic, - performing works of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Haydn, Honegger, Mozart, Poulenc, Schubert, Vivaldi, and others.
As a Teacher
After many years of a successful international performing career, I discovered that I prefer teaching Voice. Always finding time to teach even as a performer, in 2000 I decided to dedicate myself to teaching full-time, so I fulfilled the contracts that I had through 2003, and did not accept any more. Not only did I follow my heart, but I now have over 25 years of cumulative teaching experience.
It is important to me to share my vast knowledge and experience with other singers and to pass on all that has been taught to me. I have worked with some of the best in the business - a long list of coaches and conductors beginning with a voice teacher, Virginia Lindle, who knew how to teach a 13- year- old. She guided me through a long career of singing, and she taught me a technique that I could build upon. Eventually, that technical foundation gave me the vocal security to sing some of the most demanding bel canto repertoire. I love technique and love helping others achieve that vocal security.
My performance experience, coupled with the knowledge that I have gained through the years of vocal pedagogy, musical style, ornamentation, tradition, dramatic accents, and artistry, gave me the foundation for teaching voice. My students can benefit from my years as an opera singer as well as sound pedagogy that has stood the test of time. We must study vocal technique with dedication and commitment so that we can eventually forget it, but depend on it to give us the freedom to express the music and words.
For the past number of years I have also helped to repair voices that have been damaged from surgery, overuse, faulty technique, or fatigue. I do this work in conjunction with a speech/voice therapist. It takes time, commitment, and patience, but I have witnessed remarkable results. Not many teachers have the patience or knowledge to do this kind of work. It's rewarding and I love it!
My students have performed at The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, on Broadway, regionally and internationally. I facilitate singer forums, classes and Master Classes. In 2001, I was honored with an invitation to give a series of Master Classes on the Art of Bel Canto singing in Tokyo, Japan. (What a fantastic experience!) It has also been a privilege to give Master Classes for Opera Noire of New York as well as being a frequent guest speaker with the Exploring Opera series in San Francisco and New York City. I am an approved voice teacher for the Lindemann Young Artist Program at The Met and I have a professional affiliation with Hunter College in NYC. I have studios both in Midtown and Upper Manhattan.
My communication style is direct and simple. To learn more about my teaching technique, please see "Technical Matters."
studio locations: Midtown Manhattan and Hudson Heights