Autumn Arts Festival-Italian Opera Appreciation

DATES: 10/19/2021 - 10/27/2021
PRICE: $0.00

Patricia Pease began her professional career in Boston after earning Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from New England Conservatory. She has appeared in concert throughout various national regions, and in Italy, and with symphony orchestras from New Hampshire to The Philippines. She has been praised for her interpretive powers applied to a wide repertory ranging from the Baroque to Modern periods. Pease has been critically acclaimed for “a splendid (and never overdone) sense of drama,” with the ability to “…put across a song as few singers can.” (Seattle Times), and she has been characterized as “an elegant singer, one of poise and style.” (Seattle Post-Intelligencer).

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In opera Ms. Pease has sung roles for the Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Pacific Chamber Opera, Metropolitan Manila Theatre, and the Florida State Opera at FSU.  As guest professor she has given masterclasses and performances at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy in Leipzig (the oldest conservatory in Europe), and for conservatories in Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Argentina.

She was director of the Ohio University Fine Arts Study Program onsite in London in spring quarters 2007, 2008, and 2010. Chair of the Voice Division in the School of Music at Ohio University from 2001 to 2011.

Pease is now Associate Professor Emerita and lives in Edmonds, WA.

This evening lecture series on Italian Opera Appreciation is open to all participants of the Autumn Arts Festival.

This is an incomparable introduction to Italian Opera in the setting of its birth: Tuscany! It is a priceless opportunity to see what all the fuss is about in a relaxed, informal setting. PatriciaPease will present her lecture, with excerpts and stories from the great Italian works, each evening an hour before dinner. Together we will view DVD excerpts of great Italian operas taken from top quality live performances as Patti relates stories of her international career as a performer and professor of voice. The works of Rossini, Verdi, and Puccini will be featured as we learn about vocal styles and understand cultural and historical influences that make opera one of the most passionate art forms. (DVD excerpts from great operas are played on a large screen TV.)

Notes from the instructor:
Ah ha! There it is again, that familiar glow of excitement that I feel when I begin to prepare my talks for the Autumn Arts Festival in Tuscany – and, it will mount and grow until, back in Italy at last – and turning up the road to Vagliagli, I reach the summit and descending down through the vast Chianti vineyards, I finally reach the proud, centuries old Villa Dievole. A little farther north, in Florence, Opera, was first performed in 1598. That unique marriage of drama and music was, of course, the Italian Renaissance’s gift to the world, and most European capitals eagerly adopted it. The new art form finally reached New York in 1825. This year I have decided to concentrate my talks on the 19th century, that “golden century” of Italian opera that produced an astonishing wealth of musical geniuses: Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, and Puccini. It is no wonder that Italian cultural life was centered on the opera house. Right now I am reviewing the latest opera DVDs, for examples of these composers’ best works to play for you. So far, I`ve settled on:

  • BelliIni: NORMA – I PURITANI
  • Bizet: CARMEN

(To learn more about 19th C. Italian music here are two books I highly recommend: The Golden Century of Italian Opera by William Weaver, publisher is Thames and Hudson and Opera for Everyone by Jean Grundy Fanelli, publisher is The Scarecrow Press)

Opera combines all the arts. Whether you will be painting, collaging, cooking or shooting, whether opera fan or just curious, I would love to see you at one of the daily opera talks at the Dievole cantina. Order a pre-dinner glass of chianti, kick back and….who knows?  Ci vedremo a Dievole?

Prof. Patricia Pease

Contact us for more information: or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Dievole Chianti Classico Winery, Tuscany

Participants in the Autumn Arts Festival will stay in Dievole’s 16th century inn and guest houses floating in the magnificent Tuscan hills. We take over the whole winery so it will begin to feel like home after a few days.  The entire facility recently underwent a major facelift transforming all rooms into spacious, luxury lodgings.  Rooms are doubles or suites with modern bathrooms and heating.

A limited number of single rooms and suites are available for a supplement.

Dievole will seem more like a family inn rather than an impersonal chain hotel.  Dievole is located in the town of Vagliagli, about 12km northeast of Siena and 40km south of Florence. If you wish to explore the area independently during your stay we recommend renting a car. The link below will give you a glimpse of the winery:

Click here to visit Dievole’s web site…

Visit them on Facebook:


Die vole vineyards, photo by Jim Palmer

Dievole wine bottles-GRios

Dievole wine bottles, photo by Gilbert Rios

Gianni pouring-2014

Gianni pouring for a tasting, photo by Andy Holtzman


Dinner in the old wine cellar, photo by J Michael Sullivan


Dino ready to carve at the harvest pig roast


Early morning at Dievole, photo by Gabriella Pascoe


Orientation in the vintners’ room, photo by J Michael Sullivan

We will pick you up in Siena anytime between 1 and 5pm on the first day of the program. The recommended arrival airports are Florence or Rome from where you can take a bus or train to Siena. Florence is closer, but there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change in another European city. Rome provides more flight options.

The bus/train from Rome to Siena is about 3 hours.

We can also arrange for a car to pick you up from Florence or Rome. You pay the driver directly. Just let us know a few days in advance so we can make the arrangemenst for you.

If you are departing from Rome on the last day, remember it is 3 hours by car or bus from Siena so try to book an afternoon flight.

If you have time, you might consider lingering in Italy for a few days extra on either end of the festival. Allow the Italian rhythms to seduce you. A few days in Rome or Florence upon arrival is a wonderful way to get over jet-lag. For other travel help check our Travel to Italy web page.

  • If you like dealing with a person, try our travel consultant, Nancy Schaffer with Travel Solutions, Inc. in Westborough, MA.  You can reach her at or 508-836-0143.  Mention that you are traveling with Il Chiostro.
  • For this trip and whenever you travel, we strongly recommend personal travel insurance. It protects you against penalties should you need to cancel your trip at the last minute. If you don’t have a policy, contact Travelex (800) 5047883 or [Note: Travelex requires that you take out a policy within 21 days of registering for a travel program.]

Specific Travel information to get to Dievole:

By Train: There are regularly scheduled trains from all major towns and cities in Italy. Head towards Siena. From Rome there are several trains daily from the main station (Termini). You don`t need a reservation. Although you purchase a through ticket, it is necessary to change trains at Chiusi. The ride takes about 3.5 hours (approximately 240 km.) and the cost is around $20.
NOTE: in Italy it is the law to stamp your train ticket in the little yellow meter near each train platform. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines, even if you plead ignorance.
By Bus: There are also buses from almost anywhere in Italy to Siena. These are modern and comfortable coaches.

From Florence: buses leave the SITA terminal (next door to the train station) nearly every hour. If you take Siena Rapida, the ride is direct on the highway and should take 1 hour.

From Rome: the ride takes 3 hours (non-stop). If you plan to arrive at the Rome airport and plan to come directly to Siena, this is the quickest method. From the airport, take the train on the left-hand track to the Tiburtina station (NOT Termini). From there, go outside into the parking lot.
If you are already in Rome you can take the Metro to the Tiburtina station. Take the B (blue) line towards Rebibbia. Follow signs to Pzle. Stazione Tiburtina.
With the long side of the station at your back, cross under the overpass into the parking lot. Buy your ticket from the building marked Biglietteria C (17.50 Euros, approx. $20); the bus usually leaves from Gate 8. These buses leave every day at regular intervals. To get current fares and schedules for the SENA bus you can check their web site:

Once in Siena, get off at the Siena train station (Ferrovia). Don’t get off in the center of Siena.

Tuscany in autumn is a sensual feast. Russet and golden hills. Crisp air. Trees weighted with olives. Woods rich with mushrooms and chestnuts. The scent of grapes hangs over the valleys like mist. The harvest is the soul of the Tuscans. In autumn the hilltowns revert to the locals. Their art is to prepare the bounty: prosciutto, nuts, olive oil and especially Chianti. Traditional festivals celebrate every phase from the vendemmia (harvesting of grapes for wine) to the wild boar. Music, folklore, dancing in the piazza.And there, in the heart of Tuscany, is Siena. The legendary medieval town packed with history and art. In autumn, her museums and churches relax, uncrowded. The streets echo her architecture, art and heroes.

IC pix 07-425

Surrounding Vineyards, photo by Linda Mironti