Salvatore Fisichella






Salvatore Fisichella











Salvatore Fisichella















Italian 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 Puccini.

He 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.


Yves 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 of Colonel.

His 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).


He 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 singers.



Lynn 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.

Fluent 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 Bastianini.







Michèle 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. 


Roberto 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.

Apart 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.



Dr 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 in a voluntary capacity

He 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.


Geoff Mallinson

Geoff 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

He 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'.


Andrei Turcu

Andrei Turcu lives in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He is holder of the Msc. dipl. eng. and currently holds a post in software engineering.

He is interested in rare and historical operatic recordings.

He 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 production

Keith 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 a performance.

Little-known 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.







Dr Joseph Fragala

Dragos 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".



Mihai 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 (Romania).

He 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.

He 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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Watch and listen to a sample video clip from Mefistofele act III - Margherita's death

The Panel
s.f. Salvatore Fisichella

y.l.c. Yves Le Coz

m.d.f. Mario Di Felici

l.s. Lynn Samohel

m.m. Michèle Muller

r.s. Roberto Scandurra
j.f. Joseph Fragala
g.m. Geoff Mallinson
a.t. Andrei Turcu
k.s. Keith Shilcock
d.t. DragosTomescu

m.b. Mihai Bogdan