Casa Italiana; the Italian Academy at Columbia University. Last year's auditions were held there as well, and both singers and audience members were enthusiastic about this wonderful space.
The Italian Academy (aptly located of course at the Casa Italiana), was started in 1991, based on a charter signed by the presidents of Italy and Columbia University. Its goal is to be a center for advanced research in anything related to Italan culture, sciene and society.
The original building was done by the famous McKim Mead and White in 1927, and was reconstructed by Rota and White in 1993. At the center of the building lies its Neo - Renaissance style theater, which is where the auditions will be held. The magnificent library will serve as the warm-up space for the singers.
The Italian Academy is easily accessible by bus and subway. I come from Midtown and love to take the bus up there. When taking the bus, you have the following options:
- The M4 and M104 to 116th and Broadway. You will then have to walk one block east through the Columbia University campus.
- M11 to 116th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
The Academy is located at 1161 Amsterdam Avenue, which is between 116th and 118th Street. The entrance is on the East side of the street, and can be recognized by the inscription above the doorway: "Casa Italiana".
If you prefer taking the subway, you should take the 1 to 116th Street/Columbia University and walk east one block through the campus as well.
There are some great places to eat in the neighborhood, so bring friends and family to explore after your auditions. I will add more places to this list over the next few days:
- Hungarian Pastry Shop (1030 Amsterdam Avenue, by 111th Street): My favorite spot for breakfast. You can get an amazing cup of coffee and a wonderful pastry that will satisfy you all throughout the day.
- Starbucks: For those people who can't be without their Starbuck's coffee, the nearest location is at Broadway and 114th Street.
If you are familiar with the neighborhood and you have a wonderful place you wish to share with us, please leave a comment.