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Opera Carolina's Faust - Principal Players
In January 2008, tenor James Valenti made a critically acclaimed debut as Romeo with The Minnesota Opera: "Valenti, the toast of the evening," "an ideal Romeo," "commanding stage presence," "clear, ringing top that was thrilling." In March, he performed Lt. Pinkerton with "ardent vigor" in Mark Lamos' Madama Butterfly at New York City Opera - a performance that was nationally televised on ‘Live from Lincoln Center’ on PBS. And he recently completed a successful run as Rodolfo in La Bohème with Florida Grand Opera in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Charlotte audiences will remember his 2006-2007 performance in Opera Carolina's Rigoletto.
Mr. Valenti studied at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where his performances included the Duke in Rigoletto and the title roles in Puccini’s Edgar and Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz.
In his early career Mr. Valenti won many awards including 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2002 Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, 2003 Opera Index Competition, 2003 Mario Lanza Competition, 2004 Violetta Du Pont/Opera Florham Competition, 2004 George London Foundation Competition, 2004 Caruso International Voice Competition, 2004 Loren Zachary Competition, and he has received grants from the Singer’s Development Foundation, Sergio Franchi Music Foundation and the Sullivan Foundation. He has performed on German and Austrian national television, in Italy on RAI’s Prima della Prima and also in the USA on A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts.
Mr. Valenti's future engagements include La Bohème at La Scala in July 2008 and also in Toyama, Japan and with Dallas Opera; La Traviata at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with Angela Gheorghiu, and at The Royal Opera Covent Garden; Madama Butterfly at Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Pacific and in future seasons at the Opera National de Paris and Royal Opera Covent Garden; L'elisir d'amore at the Hamburgisch Staatsoper; and Verdi's Messa da Requiem in Norway with the Bergen Philharmonic.
Acclaimed performing and recording artist Maureen O'Flynn garners enthusiastic praise from critics, peers and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. Of a recent opening night performance of Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Times said she “won a deserved ovation from the audience” and Variety exclaimed “...not only a superb technician, with the full coloratura arsenal at her disposal, but a sensitive interpreter...” As one of Musical America’s “Artists to Watch,” Ms. O'Flynn is also regarded as one of the finest interpreters of the role of Gilda in Rigoletto. She performed the role with the Metropolitan Opera under the baton of Plácido Domingo, Arena di Verona, Covent Garden, La Fenice, Genoa, Italy, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, San Carlo, Naples, Houston Grand Opera, San Diego Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, New Israeli Opera, the Israel Philharmonic, and debuted with Dallas Opera, winning the company's Callas Award as “Outstanding New Artist of the Year.” This performance as Marguerite in Faust marks Ms. O'Flynn's Opera Carolina debut.
Ms. O'Flynn's engagements in the 2007-2008 season included Micaela in Carmen with Portland Opera, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette with L'Opera de Montreal, Leila in Les Pêcheurs Des Perles with Florida Grand Opera, and Violetta in La Traviata with the Minnesota Orchestra. Other engagements for the 2008-2009 Season include Marguerite in Faust with Fresno Grand Opera, Blue Fairy in Pinocchio with the Minnesota Opera, and a return to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Magda in La Rondine.
Ms. O'Flynn made her New York City recital debut at Carnegie Hall, as well as recitals for the Wexford Festival and the Richard Tucker Gala Concert at Avery Fisher Hall. The Tucker Gala Concert is broadcast nationally on PBS and has an all-star cast including Barbara Dever, Denyce Graves, Jerry Hadley and Samuel Ramey. Ms. O'Flynn appeared in a gala concert with Nicola Ghiaurov, conducted by Riccardo Muti, and as the honored soloist for the televised Christmas Midnight Mass at New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral. She has won two of opera's most prestigious prizes - from the Richard Tucker Foundation Grant and the Opera Index First Prize.
American bass Chester Patton performed Henry VIII in Bilbao's Anna Bolena last fall, preceded by his first Zaruzeula in Madrid to open the 2007-08. Last season he was Sarastro for Opera North in the U.K. and also performed their summer tour, again as Sarastro in The Magic Flute. In 2006-07 he performed concerts at La Monnaie, Brussels and the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, as the Old Hebrew in Samson et Dalila with Borodina and Tanner, reprised his Capulet with Pittsburgh Opera in their new production of Roméo et Juliette and also reprised his Nick Shadow in La Corunia, Spain. This performance of Mephistopheles in Faust marks Mr. Patton's Opera Carolina debut.
Mr. Patton has performed as Orest in a new Elektra and as Lorenzo, the bass lead in Capuleti at the Salzburg Festival; he made his Tokyo debut at the New National Theater as Escamillo in Carmen and his Salzburg Festival debut as Carlo V in Don Carlo. He recently performed his first “wonderfully sung and acted” Leporello for Tulsa Opera and was with the Rotterdam Philharmonic in his debut as Mephistopheles in a concert performance of Faust.
Mr. Patton's other recent engagements include a “superior Don Basilio” in Barbiere for Boston Lyric, Baldassare in Bologna's new Favorite and a “triumphant” debut with VARA RADIO in Amsterdam as Nilakantha in Lakme. He appeared with the Boston Lyric Opera as a “menacing and almost demonic” Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos and with Portland Opera as a "deep true bass" Colline in La Boheme. He performed the Beethoven Ninth Symphony and the Missa Solemnis with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra (under Mo Hugh Wolff), Ramfis with the Boston Lyric Opera, and the Verdi Requiem with the Mendelssohn Club at Philadelphia's Academy of Music.
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