Vero Beach Opera proudly presented opera legend Virginia Zeani for a special Opera Studies program on Sunday, January 23, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets were $20.
During the first half of this Opera Studies program, VBO Opera Studies Chairman, Wayne Kleinstiver, introduced the program and gave a history of her life, which was followed by an interview of Madame Zeani by Dr. James A. Drake, renowned biographer of opera legends Richard Tucker, Rosa Ponselle and Lily Pons. Dr. Drake and Mme. Zeani discussed her successful and long operatic career as well as her professional and personal experiences with some of opera’s most famous singers such as Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi, Alfredo Kraus and Arrigo Pola, Pavarotti’s voice teacher. Mme. Zeani's voice teachers, the great tenor Aureliano Pertile and the great Bolshoi coloratura soprano Lydia Lipkovskaia, also were discussed. Video clips of performances by Mme. Zeani during her lengthy career were shown and some costumes worn by her and her late husband, basso Nicola Rossi-Lemeni in various operatic performances were on display.
During the second half of the program, Mme. Zeani conducted a Master Class with three singers as a vehicle for discussing the Art of Singing. Audience will experience how this world-class master opera singer listens, instructs and critiques the technique of opera singing. This Master Class lesson highly informed and enlightened the aspiring singers as well as the general public about the opera singing genre.
This event was sponsored by the Vero Beach High School Choral Department
Background on Mme. Zeani:
Born in Romania, Mme. Zeani's operatic career spanned 35 years from 1948, when she debuted as Violetta in La Traviata in Bologna, until 1983, when she performed in the Dialogues of the Carmelites in San Francisco. She created the role of Blanche in the Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957 at La Scala.
Mme. Zeani has performed 71 leading roles in major opera houses of the world; La Traviata was her signature role in which she appeared an estimated 648 times. In 1950, she appeared opposite the great tenor Gigli in Cairo before King Farouk and the royal family. She debuted in La Scala in 1956 in Handel's Julius Caesar opposite bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, who she married shortly thereafter. Unlike many divas, Mme. Zeani canceled only twice during her 35 years on stage which is a tribute to her incredible singing technique. She still can sing a brilliant soprano high "B" at age 85 years of age which she will celebrate on Oct. 21, 2010.
Mme. Zeani sang during the era of Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi but was virtually unknown to US opera fans. Nonetheless, in a 1999 article in Opera News, conductor Richard Bonynge, named his list of three top sopranos, other than his wife, Joan Sutherland …."the voices I most remember are Flagstad, Virginia Zeani and Renata Tebaldi."
Upon retirement from the stage, Mme. Zeani and her husband, Nicola, taught voice at the University of Indiana, and both were honored as "Distinguished Professors." Nicola died in 1991, and she has continued to teach from her home in West Palm Beach. Her teaching career spans 30 years. Among her famous students are Angela Gheorghiu, Marilyn Mims, Susan Patterson, Sylvia McNair, Stephen Mark Brown, Elizabeth Futral, Vivica Genaux, Angela Brown, Mark Nicolson, and Heidi Klassen.
Classical Singer Magazine voted her the 2010 Voice Teacher of the Year, and the Marcello Giordani Foundation will honor Mme Zeani with their Lifetime Achievement Award on December 8, 2010 in New York City.
For a podcast of Virginia Zeani performances go to: http://handelmania.libsyn.com/2008/07
To see an Opera News article on Madame Zeani go to: http://www.operanews.com/operanews/templates/content.aspx?id=11122
This event is open to the public. You may purchase tickets to observe how world-class master opera singers soprano Deborah Voigt and tenor Marcello Giordani listen, instruct and critique the technique of opera singing. Ms. Voigt will instruct four carefully selected and qualified singers who will participate in the program while Marcello Giordani will instruct six singers. Those attending the Master Classes will hear, in essence, a recital of operatic works sung by 10 gifted singers who will benefit from two days of instructions on vocal production by famous current master singers. The lessons will highly inform and enlighten the aspiring singers and the general public about the opera singing genre. The Emerson Center is located at 1590 27th Avenue in Vero Beach and is at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach. This event was made possible by a partnership between the Emerson Center and Vero Beach Opera.
Deborah Voigt, Soprano - Monday, January 31, 2011 from 1 pm - 3 pm - for Voigt Master Class student applications, click here.
Marcello Giordani, Tenor - Tuesday, February 1, 2011 from 1 pm - 4 pm - for Giordani Master Class student applications, click here.
Maestro Bruce Stasyna, Accompanist
Ticket price: $25 each or $40 for both events. For tickets and information as they become available, call The Emerson Center Box Office at (772) 778-5249 and visit http://theemersoncenter.tix.com
Vero Beach Opera and The Emerson Center presented MASTER CLASSES by world class Metropolitan Opera Tenor Marcello Giordani. Opera News writes, "He is, arguably, the greatest leading tenor of his generation."
The Master Classes took place Monday, March 15 and Tuesday March 16, from 10 am to 5 pm each day at The Emerson Center at 1590 27th Avenue in Vero Beach.
Those attended this two-day event experienced how world famous master opera singer Marcello Giordani listens, instructs and critiques the technique of opera singing. There were 14 carefully selected and qualified singers who participated in the program. Those attending the Master Classes heard, in essence, a recital of operatic works sung by 14 gifted singers and benefited by two days of instructions on vocal production by a famous current master singer.
The lessons highly informed and enlightened the aspiring singers and the general public about the opera singing genre by one of the most celebrated tenors of our days, Marcello Giordani.
The Emerson Center is located at 1590 27th Avenue in Vero Beach, and is at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach.
This event was made possible by a partnership between the Emerson Center and Vero Beach Opera to benefit the Deborah Voigt/Vero Beach Opera Foundation's Protégée Mentoring Program.