From Solvay to la Scala

Lotito's family may have played a role in her musical career, but she said her education at Solvay was extremely influential. She credits the "excellent music department" that was at her disposal at school for much of her early musical appreciation and ability.

"Anything I could get my hands on, I played," she said, running through a list of instruments she had tried her hand at, including the clarinet and violin. She is a prime example of the importance of musical education.

She and Capisani are helping to pass that education on through a cultural association in Italy, focusing on children. The purpose of the association is to "bring music to people," exposing people to opera and other music who would not otherwise have the opportunity, Lotito said.

Both singers also teach individual students privately, though their standards for taking on a young talent are very high. Many are not willing to do the hard work required by the professionals, though, Lotito and Capisani agreed.

Perhaps that is the result of the contrast between the lifestyle of a pop star and professionally trained opera singer.

Both Capisani and Letito agree that as a singer, keeping your instrument - your voice and body - in top working condition requires a certain lifestyle.

Smoking, consuming alcohol, depriving your body of rest and generally not staying in shape are all vices the pros avoid.

Watching modern popular singers party all night, struggle with substance and alcohol addictions and live unhealthy lifestyles, it is no wonder their voices do not last and they need microphones to sing, Letito said.

Opera singers do not use mics - being able to project their voices is a major part of the technical training they endure.

"Pop singers' technique is no comparison to the technical prowess of an opera singer," said Letito definitively.

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