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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Italian opera singing wins UNESCO recognition

Culture minister hails news as "great success" for Italy.

Italian opera singing has been added to the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the UN cultural agency announced on Wednesday.

Culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano hailed the recognition of Italian opera singing as "a great success for all of Italy and a recognition of its history".

Beatrice Venezi, music advisor to the culture minister, said the recognition "makes us proud as an opera community and as Italians since this living art form is a fundamental pillar of our culture."

Italian opera singing is "a physiologically controlled way of singing that enhances the carrying power of the voice in acoustic spaces such as auditoriums, amphitheatres, arenas and churches", UNESCO said in a statement.

Italian opera singing skills "are transmitted orally between a maestro and pupil", UNESCO said, in an art that is associated with "specific facial expressions and body gestures and involves a combination of music, drama, acting and staging."

Last year Italy's UNESCO commission approved Italian opera as a candidate for the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage, after rejecting a bid by Italian espresso coffee.

Home to globally renowned composers including Monteverdi, Puccini, Verdi and Rossini, Italy introduced the world to opera in 1597 with the premiere of Jacopo Peri's Dafne in Florence.

News of the UNESCO recognition came ahead of the gala premiere of Don Carlo by Verdi at Milan's Teatro alla Scala opera house on Thursday night.

Photo credit: Angelo Cordeschi / Shutterstock.com

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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