tenor Salvatore Fisichella is the panel
Guest of Honour. Born in Catania (Sicily), he lives
there and made his debut in Werther at Spoleto in 1970.
His vocal range, flexibility and incisive phrasing led
him to branch out beyond belcanto into the Romantic
repertoire. The tenor has appeared regularly at the
world's most renowned theatres, singing celebrated operas
by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Verdi and
is the holder of many prestigious honours, including
the BELLINI D'ORO PRIZE, the VIII GIACOMO LAURI-VOLPI
INTERNATIONAL PRIZE, the ASSOCIATION GIGLI PRIZE, and
is a recipient of the CAVALIERE AL MERITO DELLA REPUBBLICA
ITALIANA and CAVALIERE DEL SUPREMO ORDINE DI MALTA OSY–
USA OF KRAC. He holds a post of tutor for tenors at
the ACCADEMIA DELLE BELLE ARTI of Rome and has been
active on the stages and concert halls of Europe.
Le Coz is the panel Distinguished Guest. Born
in the Parisian Region, he lives in Ballancourt-sur-Essonne.
He vividly recalls as a child the liberation of Paris
in WW II, then a school period and two baccalauréats.
He sported in rugby-union, athletics and fencing. He
took piano lessons. His mother wished a diplomatic career
and his father the French navy for him. He chose a military
career in the French infantry and rose to the grade
liaison between the military and lyrical worlds stems
from early cultural acivities by attendance to concerts
and operas. Ultimately, his godfather's close friendship
with the historic Italo-Belgian tenor Giuseppe Lugo
had a profound influence on his becoming keenly interested
in operatic singers, especially tenors. He has turned
to playing the piano, drawing and writing his memoirs.
He is a very proud father of two filles and
relishes time at a residence in Spain, when off duty
as a Commissaire Enquêteur.
He is the holder of
many prestigious French military and civilian honours,
including the following: Chevalier de la légion
d'honneur (1988), Officier de l'ordre national du mérite,
Croix de la valeur militaire, Croix du combattant, Médaille
de la reconnaissance de la Nation avec agrafe « Opérations
extérieures », Médaille d'outre-mer
avec agrafe « Liban », Médaille
de bronze de la Jeunesse et des Sports (1973), Médaille
des observateurs militaires de l'O.N.U. pour la surveillance
de la trêve au Moyen-Orient (O.N.U.S.T.) and Médaille
de l'O.N.U. (Somalie).
The late Mario
Di Felici was the panel Distinguished Guest.
He was born in Albano Laziale near Rome. He studied
canto under Maestro Zama, was auditioned by the legendary
tenor Mario Del Monaco in 1963 who recommended him to
baritone Saturno Meletti, studied under him for three
years, won the Concorso of Spoleto and obtained a scholarsip
to study in Rome (1966). The same year, he debuted at
the Teatro Nuovo of Spoleto in Tosca with great success
and began a fruitful career that propelled him on to
the stages of Palermo (Carmina Burana, Les Malheurs
d'Orphee and Salomè), Campobasso (Lucia di Lammermoor),
Rome (Madama Butterfly and la Boheme), Milan (Les Martyrs),
Dublin (Aida) and Offida (Cavalleria Rusticana) to name
a few (1966 - 1991).
received theatre audiences' acclaim and critics' consent
wherever he sang. A soloist in as many as 40 concerts
under Maestro R. Nicolosi given across Italy, he sang
at the concert with tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano in honour
of composer Pietro Mascagni and at a concert in the
Foro Italico of Rome broadcast by RAI . Holder of a
Recognition Medal conferred upon him in London and LA
STELLA D'ORO in Italy, following his performance at
La Scala in Les Martyrs with soprano Leyla Gencer and
baritone Renato Bruson. For many years
he taught opera singing technique to young students
some of whom have undertaken operatic careers successfully.
In addition, he held Master Classes for young opera
Samohel was born in Prague of Czech-German
parentage and lives in Melbourne, Australia. From an
early age, she sang in a children's choir and later
studied with mezzo B. Kozlikova, tenor Jaroslav Gleich
and at the Prague Conservatory. Retired as an opera
singer, she has a few addictions, such as writing about
past and not so well known singers ('as good as anybody
now, maybe even better'), including castrati.
in a few languages, i.e. English, German and Czech,
she is madly in love with operas by Bellini, Verdi and
Mascagni. She could listen for hours to operas like
Norma, Cavalleria, Il trovatore, La forza del destino,
Otello and always keeps discovering something new, after
so many years in the business. Her private 'Holy Trinity'
is the trio: tenors Corelli, Del Monaco and baritone
Muller was born in La Rochelle and she has been a resident of Australia for many years. She attended a secondary school in France and a university in Sydney, holds a Master Degree from the latter and a diploma in translation and interpreting. After working as a librarian at the State Library and the Environmental Protection Authority of New South Wales, she started a business of French Translation and Interpreting in Sydney.
She was brought up in a music loving family and greatly enjoys orchestral music and opera. She has always had a special devotion for the French tenor Georges Thill but she is also attracted by outstanding voices of all registers. Her main function in the Panel is the quality assessment of all entries and the translation, either in French or English, of exceptional articles or comments.
Scandurra was born in Rome and lives in the
near Velletri. Gifted with a lyrical tenor voice, Roberto
at age 20 was heard by the legendary tenor Mario Del
Monaco who encouraged him to take on singing studies.
His teacher was the celebrated baritone Saturno Meletti
and successively Maestro Alberto Leone of the Teatro
dell'Opera of Rome. Under the latter, Roberto refined
his studies in order to debut in opera and concerts.
Unfortunately, he had to cut his career prematurely
and dedicated himself to develop in depth the biography
and career of great operatic singers. He accumulated
a vast array of records and films on major operatic
singers of XX century.
from his passion for music, he successfully undertook
electronic engineering specializing in IT and wrote
a few industrial patents. With the birth of Internet,
he spends part of his time developing web sites of XX
century great operatic singers thus bringing them to
the attention of the new generation. He collaborates
with International web sites as an expert on operatic
music. He liaises with eminent biographers of operatic
singers in order to organize concerts and musical evenings,
due to his wealth of notable material accumulated in
several decades. Within this framework, he prepared
and managed evenings at the Teatro dell'Opera of Rome
and at the UNI 3 of Velletri.
Joseph Fragala is the administrator and chief
editor of Opera Gems. Born of Italian parents, he lives
in Sydney but spends a fair time on the Queensland Gold
Coast (Australia). He is a post graduate in engineering
from King's College, London, and is fluent in Italian,
French and English. For three years, he was the chief
writer on opera, associated articles, outstanding past
and present tenors for the eminent website Grandi
Tenori.com in a voluntary capacity
is addicted to the Italian Romantic Opera. Macbeth,
Trovatore, Luisa Miller, Otello (Verdi), Le Villi, Butterfly,
Turandot (Puccini), Lucia (Donizetti) and Mefistofele
(Boito) are among his favourite operas, which he always
listens to with renewed passion. His very favourites
are Madama Butterfly, which he feels is the greatest
opera written by Puccini, and Otello, the finest tragic
opera ever written, which hurled Verdi to immortality.
Mallinson was born at Halifax and lives in
Cleethorpes, N.E.Lincolnshire (England). His mother
was a singer so he grew up with the sound of scales,
songs and arias every day. His musical education was
on the piano but became interested in singing when he
first heard Jussi Bjorling singing 'Questa o quella'.
He became hooked. He worked mostly within the English
Legal system and is a down-to-earth person with a keen
sense of humour
started collecting records while in his teens - his
first complete opera being a 2 LP set of 'La Boheme'
with Tebaldi and Prandelli. Over the years he has seen
different operas in different countries but 'La Boheme'
remains his favourite. Married for over 42 years, he
likes to read and enjoys a really good book. His sporting
interests are in cycling and still rides regularly,
three times a week, with other 'old-timers'.
Turcu lives in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He is
holder of the Msc. dipl. eng. and currently holds a
post in software engineering.
is interested in rare and historical operatic recordings.
finds great pleasure in writing about opera singers
and reviewing operas. He also loves to draw attention
to valuable opera singers or recordings usually forgotten
or bypassed. In his spare time, he studies belcanto
techniques as well as modern, scientific views on voice
A Shilcock was born in Leicestershire and now
lives in Derbyshire. His parents and grandparents were
musicians and he grew up with a home full of music and
many records (most of which he still has, to the frustration
of his duster-flicking wife Terrie). A Goonish sense
of humour keeps him relatively sane and he believes
in 'objectivity' (as much as possible) when considering
singers and violinists are his fascination and he has
written articles for newspapers and magazines. Since
acquiring a computer about 10 years ago, he has linked
with many other record collectors around the world,
for 'swaps' and knowledge. He is obsessed by computer-based
music restoration techniques and uses up hundreds of
hours with this.
Tomescu was born of teaching parents and lives
in Bucharest. He received a solid education and an introduction
by his father to the wonderful world of music. A graduate
in Cybernetics, married, he holds a post of Network
Administrator at Konica Minolta Romania. When still
at school, he began to record operas from radio onto
audio tapes and now CDs, thus gathering a large collection.
His opera recordings include Norma with Callas and Corelli,
Aida and Il trovatore with Bjorling and Milanov, Faust
and Don Pasquale in Romanian and many other operas,
generally with singers before the 60's. He studied singing
for 3 years, sang in an orthodox church choir as a baritone
for 11 years and Byzantine music is another hobby of
his. Now he searches for a new choir to sing with, since
he believes in: "Life is useless without singing
and without God".
Bogdan is 28 years of age and was born in Bucharest.
He studied the violin with Prof. Daniela Neagu, Canto
Classico with soprano Cristina Magureanu and Canto with
baritone Nicolae Constantinescu. He is the winner of
opera prizes such as the Francisco Vinas (Barcelona)
and the Haricleea Darclee International Voice Contest
attended opera master classes, such as the International
Opera master class under Romanian soprano Mariana Nicolesco
(Braila-Romania), the First International Opera master
class Rolando Panerai (Firenze-Italy) and the master
class under Romanian sopranos Virginia Zeani and Mariana
Nicolesco (Pella, Iowa-USA) Mihai is a fervent opera
lover and collector of many great opera recordings.
He sings lyric baritone roles in opera.
sang in opera recitals in France, Germany and USA. His
operatic repertoire include Falke in Strauss-Die Fledermaus,
Figaro in Rossini-Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Dandini in
Rossini-La Cenerentola, Marquis D'Obigny in Verdi-La
Traviata, Papageno in Mozart-Die Zauberflote, Guglielmo
in Mozart-Cosi fan tutte, Malatesta in Donizetti-Don
Pasquale and Silvio in Leoncavallo-I Pagliacci.
Opera is drama or comedy set to music with soloists, chorus
on the stage and orchestra in the pit. The combination of
stage set design, costumes, action, human voice and music
attracts lots of people. Instrumental works are music compositions
for orchestra set on the stage. The sheer music attracts
as many people. These art forms fulfil longings for classical
music and cause sensations invariably.
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The site's favourite quote
George Armstrong Custer on the eve of the battle at the Little
Bighorn (June 1876) cited:
is one thing to be said for glory - you can take glory
with you, when it is your time to go”
Watch and listen to a sample video clip
from Mefistofele act
III - Margherita's death
s.f. Salvatore Fisichella
Yves Le Coz
Mario Di Felici
j.f. Joseph Fragala
g.m. Geoff Mallinson
a.t. Andrei Turcu
k.s. Keith Shilcock