From the Desk of Artistic Director Jonathan Pell – Florence Part I

by Jonathan Pell

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View of Florence from the Palazzo Pitti

I am in Italy for the European NYIOP auditions, and just finished hearing the second day of preliminary auditions, where a panel of nearly twenty opera companies from around the world heard more than fifty singers from twenty-five countries.  These auditions were held in a rehearsal room at the Teatro Comunale, but the finals tomorrow and Tuesday will actually be on stage in the theatre.

My colleagues and I (including representatives from the Metropolitan Opera and the Canadian Opera, two of North America’s largest companies, as well as representatives from a number of smaller houses both in the United States and abroad) come to these auditions every summer in hope of discovering the stars of tomorrow.

There were two or three standouts so far, but I don’t want to make any conclusive judgments until I hear them on stage over the next couple of days.

I was also able to attend a concert performance of Donizetti’s MARIA STUARDA which was presented as part of the annual Maggio Musicale Festival, starring the legendary Italian soprano Mariella Devia.  Mariella made her Dallas Opera debut in 1985 as “Adina” in another Donizetti opera, THE ELIXIR OF LOVE.  Nearly thirty years later she still commands the stage and sings with impeccable technique.  She is in her early sixties now, but still sings extraordinarily well.  Brava Mariella!

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