West Virginia University School of Music alumnus and internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti will return to the Creative Arts Center as a visiting artist during April 21-22 where he will work with music students.
He will present a master class with voice students on Monday, April 21, at 4 p.m. in the Antoinette Falbo Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.
Valenti has a voice of Italianate luster and is part of the long-standing tradition of great Italian tenors. The sought-after 6’ 5” tenor, has built a global reputation for his elegant musicianship, commanding stage presence and ardent vocal style.
A native of Clinton, N.J., Valenti earned a bachelor’s degree in music from WVU in 2000. 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 Boheme.” 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, including Teatro alla Scala Milan, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House London, Opera National de Paris, Sydney Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Opernhaus Z�rich.
In addition, Valenti has performed at the Caramoor Festival, Salzburg Festival and was a guest soloist during the 2013 Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He has showcased his vocal ability and acting versatility in a variety of roles such as Rudolph Valentino in “Dream of Valentino,” Don Carlo in “Don Carlo,” Alfredo Germont in “La Traviata,” Duke of Mantua in “Rigoletto,” Maurizio in “Adriana Lecouvreur,” Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Werther in “Werther,” Romeo in “Romeo et Juliette,” Doctor Faust in “Faust” and most recently, Lt. Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly” at the Metropolitan Opera.
Valenti has also had the pleasure of working alongside some of the greatest opera voices and maestros in the industry including Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Thomas Hampson, Simon Keenlyside, Bryn Terfel, Placido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, Maestro Antonio Pappano, Maestro Daniele Gatti and Maestro Carlo Rizzi, to name a few. Valenti has recorded with fellow opera star, Angela Gheorghiu at Abbey Road Studios in London for her “Tribute to Maria Callas” CD on Virgin/EMI.
In the coming months, Valenti will expand his musical repertoire as he takes on two new roles as Cavaradossi in “Tosca” and Don Jose in “Carmen.” He will be performing with fellow opera star, Anna Netrebko in the Baden-Baden Festival in Germany and will also participate in the Napa Music Festival. Additionally, Valenti will travel to Prague to record his debut album with world-renowned Maestro Steven Mercurio.
Valenti has received a number of accolades in his young career, including 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.
This month, he also has been recognized as an Outstanding Alumnus of 2014 by the WVU College of Creative Arts.
When Valenti is not performing, he gives his time to many organizations close to his heart such as Children International (which he is currently a celebrity ambassador), UNICEF, Greenpeace, PBS and NPR. Valenti always makes time in between his rigorous performance schedule to give back to young emerging artists and has given master classes at University of Texas, University of Arizona, Northwestern, St. Olaf College and University of Minnesota.
For more information see www.jamesvalenti.com.
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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