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The enchanting tale of two harmonious hearts

The melodic journey of Olga and Luca – By N. Yakova

Olga De Maio: A Delightful and Passionate Artist

Soprano Olga De Maio illustrates the essence of passion and dedication, both in her personal and artistic endeavours. Her sunny disposition and generous nature extend beyond her daily life into her performances, where she enchants audiences with her heartfelt renditions. Naples, her birthplace and artistic heaven, holds a special place in Olga’s heart. It is a city of contrasts, where tradition meets innovation, and hospitality thrives. For Olga, Naples is not just a city but a vibrant tapestry of memories and experiences that have shaped her into the artist she is today. Opera has been a lifelong love affair for Olga, starting at the tender age of 10. Her journey began with Gregorian chants and children’s choirs, eventually leading her to the prestigious San Carlo theatre in Naples. It was here that she discovered her passion for opera, a passion that has only grown stronger with time. What sets Olga apart as an artist is her vocal ductility, and her ability to seamlessly transition between different genres and historical periods. From operatic arias to modern pop opera, Olga’s voice soars with grace and power, captivating listeners with each note.

An enchanting tale of two harmonious hearts

The famous multi-award-winning opera singer was recently selected, together with her partner, Luca Lupoli, to participate in the Live Box Casa Sanremo 2024, where they performed the pop opera song “Niente è niente” (Nothing is nothing) written by Paolo Audino. This new experience challenged her to adapt to a new environment, one that was vastly different from the traditional opera stage. However, with her vocal prowess and technical skill, Olga delivered a performance that left audiences in awe. Beside her singing career, Olga is involved in an important initiative named Noi per Napoli (Us for Naples), a cultural association dedicated to spreading Parthenopean culture and helping people in need. Through Noi per Napoli, Olga and her partner Luca organize music festivals and charity events, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Naples to a wider audience.

Speaking of Luca, their relationship is not just one of love but also artistic collaboration. As a couple, they share a deep bond that transcends both their personal and professional lives. Concurrently, they form a dynamic duo, harmonizing effortlessly both on and off the stage. In a world where social media presence often surpasses talent, Olga remains a dedicated advocate for the importance of dedicated study and hard work in the pursuit of art. While followers can certainly help propel an artist’s career, Olga acknowledges that true success comes from a genuine love for the craft and a commitment to constant growth and learning. Olga’s story is one of passion, decisiveness, and profound love for her art. Her journey from a young choir singer to an accomplished opera diva is a testament to the transformative power of music and the unwavering spirit of an artist driven by her love for opera and her dearest Naples. Olga’s commitment to her craft is truly inspiring, as she continues to evolve as an artist and push the boundaries of her talent. Her love for opera shines through in every performance, captivating audiences and transporting them to a world of emotion and beauty. As she continues on her musical journey, Olga remains a shining example of what it means to be truly devoted to your craft, reminding us all of the power of music to touch souls and change lives. All this always with great enthusiasm, as emerges from her own words.

You participated in events and won contests far more prestigious than Sanremo. This time, at Casa Sanremo you have been selected to sing at Live Box Casa Sanremo 2024 with the pop opera song ”Niente è niente“(Nothing is nothing). How would you describe your emotions?

O.D.M.: “I didn’t expect it, but I was very happy because I believe it gave us the opportunity not only to bring to Sanremo a pop opera song. In fact this gave us the opportunity to show what he represents on a daily basis, through opera, operetta, classic Neapolitan song and salon aria, and something that is not found in all singers, that is, vocal ductility. Because going from one repertoire to another, as well as from one historical period to another, depending on the writing, the type of approach changes a lot, even the technical one. So the pop lyric piece with a modern part gave us the possibility of always singing based on the breath. The technical part must always be important but in an almost light way, right on the breath and then instead of the purely lyrical parts. It was an opportunity to really exploit the double vocal image, the double strategic vocal position of breath diaphragm support, here perhaps to sing with the breath. It was a nice experience because, over the years, as we said before, we have participated in purely lyrical competitions such as Pavarotti International, Mascagni, Mario Lanza, Caruso, truly prestigious, high-level competitions. However, we also collected lifetime achievement awards which were, let’s say, of great importance for us, because they gave us the pulse of the situation so we won other important prizes which were given to musicians of great importance including, for example, Ennio Morricone, the great Ennio Morricone. So they certainly made us happy. Undoubtedly this experience has been the icing on the cake, the one that made us have fun and, at the same time, also tremble a little because we had to adapt and immerse ourselves in this completely different world, made up of microphones and audio mixers, totally different from what is instead… From what is the voice that soars in theaters and concert halls without amplification.”

Noi per Napoli is a cultural association that, among the other things, organizes music festivals, with the aim of spreading Parthenopean culture. Can you talk about it?

O.D.M.: “The association was founded by Doctor Emilia Gallo, as well as my mother. I was lucky enough to see her giving birth to this association, when I was a little girl. Seeing her work in the artistic and cultural sphere, with many vernissages, poetry prizes… But also the social part was very important. I have memories of going together to the handicapped consultation, to the hospices, to visit less fortunate kids and elderly people. We made many bets directly with charity packages, charity expenses for the needy, therefore a somewhat multifaceted association that was based on art but then finalized with art because it always had space in its heart for the most ‘ needy. So a very nice initiative that Luca and I are trying to carry forward.”

Which song do you think represents the magic of Naples?

O.D.M.: “I would say ‘O Sole Mio. A classic Neapolitan song, with vocals, so not exactly a light song. But above all because Naples is always the city of the sun, not only from a meteorological point of view but the city of the sun in the sense of an open heart towards others. People are always available, hospitable and always warm here.”

Luca Lupoli : A Charming Tenor

In the world of opera, tenor Luca Lupoli stands as a beacon of passion and commitment, both as a person and as an artist. His deep love for music and his resonant connection to his Neapolitan roots shine through in every note he sings, enriching the hearts of audiences around the world. Luca portrays himself as a curious soul, always eager to explore new ideas and discover new facets of life. This curiosity, he explains, is not confined to his personal life but extends to his art as well. As an opera singer, Luca is constantly seeking to delve deeper into the nuances of his repertoire, offering audiences a fresh and unique perspective with each performance. Naples, Luca’s beloved city, maintains a special place in his heart. For him, Naples is more than just a city; it is a “modus vivendi” (way of life). He speaks of Naples with a reverence that transcends mere description, highlighting its rich cultural heritage and its multi-layered complexity. Luca sees himself as an ambassador of Neapolitan culture, striving to convey its significance wherever his music takes him.

An enchanting tale of two harmonious hearts

When asked about the song that best represents Naples, Luca’s eyes light up as he mentions “Marechiaro” by Salvatore Di Giacomo and Francesco Paolo Tosti. This classic Neapolitan song, with its poetic lyrics and melodic flow, captures the essence of Naples for Luca. It is a city of beauty, passion, of deep-rooted traditions, much like the ebb and flow of the sea that surrounds it. Luca’s journey into the world of opera commenced at a young age, nurtured by a family deeply passionate about music. His first approach to opera was through the character of Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Bohème“, a role that left a lasting impression on him so much so that, we like to think, that this goes beyond performance to real life. In fact he is also dedicated to writing, so much so that he recently wrote an essay on Pietro Metastasio, entitled “Il Melodrama di Pietro Metastasio. Il Primato del Testo”(Melodrama of Pietro Metastasio. The primacy of the text). Since the first performance, Luca love for opera has only grown, fueled by the boundless possibilities for rendition and expression that the genre offers. Apart from his vocal talents, Luca is also proficient in playing the piano, a skill that he honed during his formative years. The piano, he explains, is not just an accompaniment instrument for singers; it is a fundamental tool for understanding and interpreting the intricacies of the repertoire. According to him the experience at the Live Box Casa Sanremo 2024 with the song “Niente è niente” has been both exhilarating and challenging, as it enabled him to showcase the versatility of his voice and the depth of his artistry.

Despite winning numerous prestigious competitions and events, Luca remains grounded, attributing his success  to the association Noi per Napoli because it is not just about promoting culture and art; it is also about giving back to the community, especially to those in need.In a world where talent is often overshadowed by social media presence, Luca remains a reliable advocate for the essence of dedication and study in becoming a good singer. He acknowledges that while social media can be a useful tool for promotion, it is the depth of one’s artistry and the sincerity of one’s passion that truly matter. According to Luca his partnership with Olga, both in life and in art, is a testament to the rhythmic blend of passion and dedication. Their relationship, he reveals, is one of mutual respect and understanding, where art and life intertwine seamlessly. As Luca’s journey continues to evolve, one thing stays certain: his passion for opera and his love for Naples will continue to inspire audiences around the world. Through his art, he not only honors his cultural heritage but also invites others to experience the beauty and richness of Neapolitan culture.

About your participation at the Live Box Casa Sanremo 2024 what are your thoughts?

L.L.: “It was a wonderful experience. First of all because, as Olga said, our approach as opera singers towards a pop opera genre is very interesting. We try, even through this genre, to offer the operatic genre to those of the new generations. Therefore we use a modern language like pop, to be able to sing with a lyrical approach, pop music is a beautiful thing. Then finding ourselves also in the suggestive climate of Sanremo, which is the Italian song festival, is also very stimulating for the meetings, the interviews we received, then also singing with many artists of various genres. There have been artists who performed with a genre of rock, pop… this was very formative. It was also interesting for the masterclasses that were held. There were various teachers, record companies, journalists… So it was not only a moment of performance but also of education. An experience that with great pleasure it would be nice to repeat next year too, perhaps again in Sanremo but in different contexts.”

Among the many prestigious singing competitions and events in which you have participated and won, which was the most exciting event and why?

L.L.: ” Through the association that we represent (Noi per Napoli) there are many events that we have organized and of which we have been also performers. In particular, I remember with great pleasure an international event, the Forum of Cultures, in 2014, dedicated to the figure of Totò, Prince de Curtis, (Antonio de Curtis) and then to another capital figure of Neapolitan culture which is the great tenor Enrico Caruso, of whom there are various celebrations this year too, in which we have actively participated. Particularly we organized a show dedicated to the life of the great Neapolitan tenor. The show focused on the story of his life on stage, with the actors and then with us as singers. During the representation of the artist’s lifewe performed the workhorses of his repertoire. It was also very nice to intertwine theater with music. It was a really interesting experience that we took around everywhere, from Naples to the whole Italy. It was a truly beautiful show that we still carry in our hearts.”

Soprano Olga De Maio and Tenor Luca Lupoli

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Noi Per Napoli