FRANCESCO MELI, MARKUS WERBA AND MICHELE GAMBAFOR A TRIBUTE TO THE YOUNG PUCCINI

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by Opera Charm Team
March 16, 2024

Messa di Gloria and two rare symphonic pages for the centenary of the great composer's death

Wednesday 20 March at 8.30 pm at the Auditorium Rai "Arturo Toscanini" in Turin, live on Radio3 and live streaming on raicultura.it

BIOGRAPHY

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INTERVIEW

On the centenary of Giacomo Puccini’s death, the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai dedicates a concert to the great Italian composer that brings together three youthful pages that are not often performed: the Capriccio sinfonico for orchestra, Preludio and Tregenda from the opera-ball Le Villi and the Messa di Gloria. The evening, not included in the subscription, is scheduled for Wednesday 20 March at 8.30 p.m. at the Auditorium Rai “Arturo Toscanini” in Turin, live on Radio3 and in live streaming on the Rai Cultura portal. It is also recorded by Rai Cultura, which will show it on Rai5.

Michele Gamba returns to the podium of the Rai company, fresh from a personal success at La Scala in Milan with Luigi Cherubini’s Médée. Having hit the headlines for having replaced the titular conductor at the last moment precisely at La Scala in 2016 in Verdi’s Due Foscari, Gamba is establishing himself as an interpreter of great versatility. He has already conducted at major theatres in Europe: Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Covent Garden in London, Capitole in Toulouse, São Carlos in Lisbon and recently made his debut at the Metropolitan in New York. He regularly collaborates with major symphony orchestras such as the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Montpellier.

To open this evening, entitled ‘The Young Puccini’, he will perform the Capriccio sinfonico for orchestra. Written in 1883 by a Puccini who had just turned 25 and conducted that same year by Franco Faccio as his final essay at the Milan Conservatory, the piece anticipates themes that will return in later years in operas such as Edgar and La bohème.

This was followed by Preludio and Tregenda from the opera-ball on a libretto by Ferdinando Fontana, Le Villi, Puccini’s first theatrical work. Composed in the same year as the Capriccio sinfonico at the suggestion of Amilcare Ponchielli for the competition announced by the publisher Sonzogno, the opera was ultimately unsuccessful, but was redeemed by its success at its first performance in 1884 at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan.

The evening concludes with the Messa a quattro voci for soloists, choir and orchestra, known as Messa di Gloria. Puccini wrote it at the age of 22 on the occasion of his graduation essay at the Istituto Musicale Pacini in Lucca and it was performed on 12 August 1880. Again, as with the Symphonic Capriccio, some themes born from the composer’s youthful imagination would return in later works: that of the Kyrie will be recognisable in Edgar while that of the Agnus Dei in Manon Lescaut. Interpreting the score are two great voices such as those of tenor Francesco Meli and baritone Markus Werba, protagonists on the world’s most prestigious opera stages. Alongside them is the Choir of the Teatro Regio di Torino conducted by Ulisse Trabacchin. The Messa di Gloria is given its first RAI performance in Turin.

Tickets for the concert, not included in the subscription, are offered at €10 and €15 and are on sale online on the OSN Rai website and at the box office of the Auditorium Rai in Turin. Information: 011.8104653 – biglietteria.osn@rai.it – www.osn.rai.it.

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Opera Charm Team
FRANCESCO MELI, MARKUS WERBA AND MICHELE GAMBAFOR A TRIBUTE TO THE YOUNG PUCCINI
March 2024
Opera Charm Team

Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.

BIANCA L. NICA

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