Beatrice Fenzi: “A beauty? problem. I hit the violinist who attacked me in a fit of hysteria.”

“I’m the crying type, yes. When things go wrong at first, I’m frustrated, shedding tears for three days. But then I start again: when they refused to accept me at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, I said to myself for the first time: Beatrice, well, Wait a year, get ready, you know there are only two or three places in the leadership class. Do your best and…”

“Passion must have played a bad joke with me. A second time. I may not have been ready for what the commission expected, it was a matter of maturity. Having to wait another year was hard.”

Beatrice Fenzi would also have been rejected, and wept, and would have waited. But at twenty-five he was the youngest captain in Italy. And also the most envious and exposed in the media.

“You pay for the show, especially if you go to San Remo: a lot of appearances but also a lot of criticism when the question arose that I wanted to be a director and not a director, as well as sexual remarks. But above all, because you decided to participate in such a “pop” program: they put you on the cross for life because you “polluted” the purity of high music. I see a lot of evil and a lot of ill will.”

When did you first encounter the problem of gender difference?

“I was studying with maestro Piero Belogi, an incredible human figure. Once, after a lesson, we were alone: ​​he never touched on the issue of gender difference. I’m calmed by the idea that there is no difference, and I’ve never asked myself the problem of no output. He told me that he had spoken to one of his sons, who was engaged in circus arts, who asked him if female hands could be more expressive than men’s hands in direction. A defining moment in shaping Salama.

Then he slapped us in the face.

“Actually, at the Verdi Conservatory in Milan they didn’t give me the same opportunities they gave the males. It was a continuation of sexual jokes, even in Accademia Chigiana. Things like ‘She’s a woman, what do you want me to do?’ Or point out that I can’t wear women’s clothes. “As if I should look like a man. I think it’s a will to make little copies of their students’ teachers.”

“It is the difference between a teacher and a teacher: a teacher is the one who gives you the possibility to express who you are. But there were no supermodels to refer to, even if it was only body posture. Because the differences in the body between men and women affect the direction.”

Your first time on the podium?

“He is twenty-two years old and has a lot of emotions. Even if this “magical calm of the platform” enveloped me as soon as I started. It’s something I still can’t explain today: Whatever anxiety you’re feeling, it always stays in the locker room. I was in Lucca, in the Basilica of San Giovanni, get out Eroica. In name and in fact.

At that time, did the problem of being a “director and woman” that then accompanied you in your career really arose?

“I think it was the only time I didn’t feel rejected looking at me. Perhaps precisely because I was surrounded by fellow countrymen.”

How was Beatrice as a child?

“I danced and hummed even in my swaddle. Or at least that’s what my family says.

Was she a child prodigy?

“A little girl moved awkwardly. But music, the expression of rhythm through the body, has been a part of me since childhood. First by dancing, then by playing the piano.”

What are your memories of the piano in the beginning?

“A vague picture of the little hands above the keys, as if to my eyes a secret was revealing only a little. However, this was not the instrument of my desires.”

“I felt like I wanted to start with something more rhythmic and primitive like a heartbeat, in fact I was fascinated by the gourd.”

Already in a cheeky “tribal” fierce era as we see it today in the thirties?

“Not at all: shy, introverted. Contrary to what it might seem now. I was fascinated by the language and the music not sticking to the words that categorize everything.”

Emotional communication.

“A trait I brought with me: In Avignon, the first clarinet came into the dressing room and told me he had lost two children, but thanks to people like me, he kept doing the job. And we embraced.”

sympathy. Despite a lot of mistrust.

As I often think of a lady from the Bolzano orchestra who got up from cello row, she stopped me in the aisle and said, ‘We were told she’s just a media personality and that’s why I was prejudiced against her. to change my mind”.

So the most difficult obstacles can be overcome. Now it is up to gender discrimination.

“I never got past that. But traveling and getting to know different cultures helped me. In France, nobody notices if I’m a man or a woman, only if I’m good or not orchestra chef. Point”.

To put it on Frankenstein Jr…

can be done. But you see the differences. With the Orchestra of Clermont-Ferrand in Auvergne and with the Orchestra of Avignon Provence, everything is funny and joking, but we work hard. In Italy, on the other hand, culture seems to develop only if you remain earnest, and woe to laughing or having fun. There is an idea that if you are not ‘boring’ enough then what you are doing is not serious”.

Italy has always been a step forward in the field of music, but are we still lagging behind socially and culturally?

“In the academic world they still refer to me as if I am a ‘commercial producer’ of entertainment and they stick their noses up. Like I’m a bluff by force, continuous ‘not enough’. It doesn’t happen abroad.”

The fact that she’s also very pretty probably doesn’t help… in overcoming some of my prejudices.

“Beauty is a problem. In people’s eyes it reads kind of like ‘I broke up, do you want to be ready and beautiful and successful?'” It’s a lot, you can’t.” To do that I must be more prepared than a male fellow.”

«In Cagliari, on my first appearance at a prestigious opera institution. This is a famous orchestra of high quality, but it is not so easy to obey, you have to beat it with sweat. And even the previous show there was not even an audience for fear of Covid. Then it was our turn and the crowd was full: it was the moment when I tasted victory for the first time. Especially after that, in the dressing room, with the musicians who came to me to say, “We can’t wait for you to come back with us.”

And when are you forced to go to battle?

“It happens with some of the first violins, those who dream of being leaders and can’t. I think back to the beginning of 2020, when a violinist by name, from an important band, addressed me in a condescending manner to say “Don’t worry, I think I’m a man and I’m older than you.” I can let him and stay calm, losing power. Or go to the counter. My vein blocked and I wanted to eat it. But he should never bypass the manager, authority is not shown by raising his voice. He kept calm while trying to provocatively make him mad: he got up and went away. I continued to work with others who came to apologize for him. I had brought the rest of the orchestra away from me, and sidelined the subject of harassment. He had a hysterical crisis, I’m a party.”

Is there only music in your life?

“I have a partner, Joanne, and we’re thinking about expanding. But keeping work and family together will be a challenge. Not all men are willing to accept that I’ve been away for long periods and no matter how open we are, some role reversals aren’t easy to accept. But I’ve been lucky.”

You can be a good mom and a good professional together.

“I’m still in my heart a singer during Manon Lescout At Goldoni in Livorno in 2017, he said to me: Beatrice, you will surely be a good mother, and you can see how she takes care of us and the orchestra.”

. Does Juan help her overcome all the obstacles she finds in her job?

“He knows the rites of the orchestra, deals with the economy, but has become a keen observer of the dynamics among the performers, and knows how to perceive the air inside the rooms. He says to me: We always start with, “But what does this want?” To switch to “She might be fine but she’s still a nice woman, so she’s no good” and ending with “Hold on, I’ve got hold of her.”

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25 April 2022 | 07:24

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