Saturday the Rites of Spring music festival concludes with Italian Opera Night at Laurel Lake Vineyards. While each has been an amazing event, this one really is a grand finale, featuring the virtuoso piano of the first concert at Brecknock Hall in support of an Italian opera star singing several arias from Italian operas, joined by exquisite Italian cuisine from Caci North Fork and Laurel Lake's wine. Tickets here. Q: You are an Italian--still living in Italy--and an internationally known opera singer. How did you get involved in the Rites of Spring, Italian Opera Night on the North Fork?
A: Paolo has been my partner as a pianist since we're in Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Italy. He went onto Paris and I went in Salisburgo at Mozarteum for our upper graduation.
In Italy, in Paris and in London we had lots of concert and productions. And now he told me about Rites of Spring where I'll love to sing as a gift to him, for our 25th anniversary of career, and even to restart our collaboration for future performances.
Q: Aha, you share a special connection with our local piano virtuoso, Paolo Bartolani. Have you ever been to the North Fork before?
A: No, I've been in the USA may times in the past for many concerts, but never to the North Folk. Paolo told me that it's a spectacular place. I can't wait! I live in Italy, in Rome, where nature is, of course, one of the main reason for visit it from all over the world. But I'm very happy to discover new places.
Q: What will you perform Saturday night at Laurel Lake Vineyards?
A: I'll perform some typical Italian pieces to show Italian composers from an"Italian voice". Those are Bellini, Puccini, Verdi and Rossini. For the last one, Rossini, I'll sing Barbiere di Siviglia, because today are 200 years from the first execution of it. Our performance will include: Casta Diva, Gianni Schicchi, Caccini's Ave Maria and some more…
Q: Sounds wonderful. How did you become an opera singer?
A: When I was 11 years old I saw a movie on Bellini's life, and it included the aria "Casta Diva" from his opera Norma. It was the first time in my life that I'd heard it, and I spent my entire night singing that piece (humm, at least trying to do it).
The day after I decided that I want to be a singer in my life. After that, I studied very hard and haven't stopped. I'm still improving, because a singer never stops to study and improve. Even now, I study every day for many hours… Conservatory is only the beginning: after that, you must come to the stage, the real stage, and never stop learning.
And I am on stage often now, in the USA, as I said, but even in Japan, for Verdi's La Traviata, in Greece, in France, and in some of the most important theatre in Italy like La Fenice in Venezia and, of course, the Auditorium in Rome. As I said, every production is a steps to grow.
Q: At 11 years old? Wow, you found your calling early. That must have been a very powerful performance of Casta Vita. So cool that you'll perform that aria on Saturday. Is there any opera you most like to sing? What is it that you love about singing so much?
A: I have to admit that my favorite one is La Traviata (as Violetta role) because is very difficult, in both a technical way and in an emotional way.
More generally, I love opera because the Opera is one of the most important way to express yourself, letting live the "instrument" that's inside you. Saturday, I hope to transfer to you all of my passion while singing, all of the vibrations that music can give. Again, can't wait to be there.