Opera Singer Learns Italian at the Camberley Centre

Alex Carlisle has been attending Italian classes at the Camberley Centre, where she has flourished under the guidance of Surrey Adult Learning (SAL)'s experienced tutor, Anna Prosperi-Flaviani. A fleeting visit to the classroom was very impressive: listening to the learners converse confidently in Italian, it felt like the class had been transported to a location someplace in Italy. Alex's motivation to learn Italian is quite unique: she was advised to learn Italian to help with her work as an opera singer. And she is still progressing with Surrey Adult Learning.

"Just over five years ago, I was working part-time as a clinical psychologist when I started having singing lessons with the conductor of a choir I sang with. He recognised the spark I had to sing opera and he advised me, as part of my ongoing vocal studies, to learn Italian. I dutifully enrolled. I remember I couldn't make the day of the Level 1 class, so I spoke to Anna and asked if I could join the Level 2 class at Camberley. She said she thought I might find it a challenge, but I was welcome to have a go. I turned up having listened to an 'Introduction to Italian' CD – all I knew was numbers one to ten, and how to say 'I would like a glass of wine please!' (Vorrei un bicchiere di vino per favore). Anna was absolutely right – I found the class a challenge, especially when we were asked to introduce ourselves and say what we did (in Italian)! But she and the other students never made me feel inadequate and I soon felt I was making progress."

"Over the years, as I have continued working part-time and continued with my vocal studies and performances, my desire to learn Italian has changed from doing it because it helps my singing (which it does) to loving the friendliness of my fellow students, and wanting to become more fluent in this beautiful language, and learning more about Italian culture. I have had the opportunity to go on several trips to Italy with Anna and other students where we aim to speak only in Italian for the whole trip – such a stimulating and invaluable learning experience."

"As an indirect result of learning Italian, my confidence has grown as I am more comfortable with being in a position of not knowing everything. Being curious and doing my best is more than enough. I love lifelong learning and I'm very grateful for the adult learning opportunities we have in Surrey, and especially for tutors like Anna who are passionate about their subject and who bring people together as a community."

  • Updated: 31 May 2020