West Virginia University School of Music alumnus and internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti has been selected to sing at Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The service will be nationally telecast live on PBS.

Valenti will sing “O Holy Night” during Communion.

“I’m incredibly honored and excited for this opportunity,” Valenti said. “I was raised as a Roman Catholic in New Jersey and even attended Catholic school and was an altar boy for many years. To sing at the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral at the epicenter of Christmas Eve in New York City will be such a thrill for me and my family.”

In October, Valenti made his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and was congratulated after his performance by College of Creative Arts Dean Paul Kreider and a group of WVU alumni from the Chicago area.

A native of Clinton, N.J., Valenti earned a bachelor’s degree in music from WVU in 2000, where he studied with former music professor and artist-in-residence, Augusto Paglialunga, as well as Opera Program Director Robert Thieme, and former choral director Kathleen Shannon. They were the first to notice the young singer’s raw talent.

Valenti experienced exceptional growth artistically and culturally while at the Creative Arts Center, going from a fresh-faced 18-year-old attending his first opera in Pittsburgh on a WVU trip, to auditioning for national opera apprenticeships upon graduation. He went on to study with William Shuman at the distinguished Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

At age 25, Valenti made his professional debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma where he played Rodolfo in the Franco Zeffirelli production of “La Boh�me.” Since his debut, he has scored one triumphal role after another and has had the opportunity to perform in many of the most celebrated citadels of opera in the world and to work alongside some of the greatest opera voices and maestros in the industry.

Valenti has received a number of accolades in his young career including the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Grand Finals where many of today’s opera luminaries have been discovered as promising young artists, the New York City Opera’s Outstanding Debut Artist Award in 2008, the Maria Callas Debut Artist Award in 2009, and the Richard Tucker Award in 2010, which is considered the “Heisman Trophy of Opera.”

Currently, Valenti is expanding his musical repertoire and preparing for a number of exciting roles for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In March, he will be making his debut as Italian film star Rudolph Valentino in the new biographical opera, “Dream of Valentino.” He is also scheduled to perform as Cavaradossi in “Tosca,” Don Jose in “Carmen” and will be making his triumphant return to the Metropolitan Opera as he performs in “Madama Butterfly” in April.

For more information see www.jamesvalenti.com and also the St. Patrick’s Cathedral website at: http://www.saintpatrickscathedral.org/masses.php.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
304-293-4359, Charlene.Lattea@mail.wvu.edu

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