Gioconda is the inventor and pioneer of BollywoOPERA style. She has done live performances as first fusion ever between opera and classical Hindi music with artists of the caliber of Grammy Award winner Sukhwinder Singh, Hari Haran, Gino Banks, Niladri Kumar, Silvaganesha, in festivals and auditoriums like Nehru Centre in Mumbai. Gioconda is in the annual book of Italian opera singer for having sung in the first world edition of contemporary opera at “Teatro comunale di Modena”, broadcast on Italian state radio RAI.
Today Gioconda Vessichelli has opened to us her house and we have had a very interesting chat with her about her life and OPERA.The famous Italian opera singer who likes to define herself an ITALindian girl says:”My coming to India has been a spiritual journey in period of my life in which I was looking for some new sounds and musical atmospheres.. I had just finished to sing a very famous and difficult contemporary opera” Lavinia fuggita” in Modena Opera theatre after working hard with the Worldwide famous tenor opera singer Luciano Pavarotti : that experience lead me to be in the annual book encyclopedia of opera singers and that opera had oriental music influences also, including indian music and instruments,and from that time I started to love so much indian music and I started to open my mind towards indian music special effects and using the quarter of tone that we normally don t use in western music ( cause we just have tone and half tone) so I started thinking that our western music was limited and restricted in comparison to Indian music which have much more shades and nuances. I ve always had in my 20 years of carrer ( as i have been the youngest opera singer ..i started to sing as a prodigy child at the tender age of 14 years old..when my collegues were already 40 years old..so , after singing just opera for such a long time allover the world, I started thinking that it was the time to open my mind towards new sounds completely far from my usual style..and I started to appreciate the Bollywood style…Once I reached in India for the first time I admired the Indian habit to
give a value to every and each single sounds ..that is what I ve Always been used to do since I started singing..so in lots of things I feel I ve been an Indian girl from a previous life:-)
.. I ve realised that opera style is very similar to meditation and it improves your inner world and your soul. after spending some days in Osho ashram in Pune I realised that in meditation techniques there are lots of similar things that I already used in singing technique ( like the use of third eye ,the breathing technique to develop sounds etc..)
so in my opera singer life I never finish to learn.. every day it s an opportunity for Improving my voice and my soul, cause I think that these two things now have become the same one thing : there s not a mark between my voice and my soul..my voice is my soul and all the times that I make a new discovery In my voice thanks to new sounds, I m making an improvement in my soul too..and in this sense my learning hindi songs has helped me so much cause I have found a new colour of voice and vocal emission and also I have found new things in my soul..so I m very grateful to India! I have been loving Indian culture and music since I was a child. I used to join Indian communities festivals in Italy and to watch Bollywood movies. My dream has always been to visit India but I have never had time.. one day I decided that I wanted to have some spare time for myself and to do all the things that I would have done but that I never did because I was always too busy with work. I realised that the music that I have been loving so much for 20 years it was not enough ..I had the desire of mixing it with something else (like masala spices :-)) so I thought that I had to start travelling and achieving musical sounds from very far culture than mine..I have always had the attraction for unesplored and unknown things..like for example I have lived some days in the jungle with some indigenous people and I have learned their particular way of playing drums and celebrating their festivities with tribal dances and music, so I started thinking that I had to do an artistic rebirth in my life and when I was in India for the first time it was just for vacation but some more powerful energy was calling me in India more.and more times and everything has happened so quickly and in a very surprising way..for example I was in a cocktail party and I have met the producers of the movie Prague who wanted me to record a song for his movie..I had to leave India the following day so soon after the cocktail party we went very late in the night to the recording studio and we started recording till early morning and I directly went to airport without sleeping!!:-) I have always been very open to achieve also musical influences from other cultures and languages so I have been learning opera songs not only in Italian language( which is the most used language in opera style songs) but also in other languages ( like German, Russian , English , French, Bulgarian, Albanian repertory).
So when I do my concerts they always have a touch of multiculture and unconventional style ..the sensation of singing in Hindy is a magic sensation! even if I speak Hindi nowadays, I normally ask for a translation of the lyrics of the song cause I want to be sure to give the right feeling and emotion to each and every word of the song while I am singing.
Basically I like to learn foreigner languages and everything is new and unknown for me in order to increase my culture. I also use to read books from writers and poets in original languages so that I can taste their style and each single words..that it would be get lost in a translated version. I do lots of practice to try to be perfect and I listen a lot the sounds keeping my eyes closed..this helps me a lot..
I think it s very important to keep the original language of every song so that all the nuances and small meanings related to a particular language should be preserved.
In an opera singer s life you must sleep at least 8 hours per night, you do not have to drink alcohol or to smoke, avoid acid foods, you have to practice everyday until 90 years old ..you never finish to learn and your vocal chords an muscles must be worked out every day with constant and patience. .so it s a continuous discover of sounds and u start to feel all the resonances of your body once you reach a very high level of skills..me for examples I m very happy because I have reached four octaves of extensions in my voice that very few people in the world of opera singing have achieved.
it s like the life of an athlet..you have to do vocalise in the morning after you wake up you have to warm your voice with some vocalises and some muscles and breathing exercises..it s very important! only after that you can go to the piano and starting singing your songs..which actually in opera style are called “arias”. there are some virtuosisitic songs in which you have to sing very fast even 50 notes very fast in just one breath and with lyrics and you have to be careful to not let your tongue to get disconnected..for achieving this virtue you have to first start in a very slow way and little by little increase velocity. .till you see like a light in your voice..It s such a fascinating mood that even if during my childhood I lost all the moments of life that normally a child does( like playing with dolls or going out with friends) I don t regret.. I m always like a little child who is discovering new music sounds, cause I m always a researcher, I am discovering a new world, learning a new language and all these things make me so happy .
MY SUGGESTION FOR ALL
people who are studying opera singing :I want to say to always go on even if opera singing has difficult paths..always remember that music is a universal kind of Language, wherever in the world i traveled for my concerts even if I did not know the Language of the conductor or of the players of the orchestra we have Always been able to understand each other..just with a eyesight, with a breath, just by counting 1,2,3,4 the rythm to start playing and FIRST of all just by heart..if the world would have been more full of heart rather than egoism and selfishness lots of wars would never existed. Also if people would have studied or playing a musical instrument or would have learn the art of singing, or would have been part of a chorus since childhood , they would not have been open to warriors thoughts but just to peaceful and sentiments of sharing happiness with other people…that s why wherever in the world I go I m supporting the cause of children cause they are the adults of the future and if we just feed them with videogames about warrior, about died people, about Killers , thieves etc..how can we hope in a better future?? instead if these children rather than wasting their times in such Dangerous games would take some time for playing an instrument or for singing, I am sure that the world would have been better..cause music is based on HARMONY on sharing and thanks to it all the boundaries and racist thoughts have no rights to exist, So I always express my admiration towards all people who make music!”