New York, January 26, 2010 – Norman Raben, Chairman and Eve Queler, Music Director of The Opera Orchestra of New York today announced that Italian conductor Alberto Veronesi has been appointed Music Director effective in the 2011-12 season.
Mr. Veronesi will succeed The Opera Orchestra of New York founder Eve Queler, who will become Conductor Laureate once Mr. Veronesi’s initial 5-year tenure begins.
During the Opera Orchestra’s 2010-11 40th-anniversary season, Mr. Veronesi will serve as Music Director Designate and conduct an opera-in-concert performance.
He will also work with the Board of Directors, Ms. Queler and the administrative staff to program and cast future seasons.
The complete 2010-11 season, which will include two opera-in-concert performances, a recital and additional events, will be announced at a later date.
Born in Milan, Alberto Veronesi is Music Director of the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, Artistic Director of the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and Music Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, positions which he will continue to hold during his tenure as Music Director of the Opera Orchestra.
The Opera Orchestra of New York was established in 1971 by Eve Queler to present rare and unusual repertory in a concert setting, emphasizing the operatic voice over visual production. Performances feature internationally acclaimed established artists as well as exceptional young singers in an effort to develop an appreciation of opera among diverse audiences while cultivating a new generation of supporters.
“We are pleased to welcome Alberto Veronesi to The Opera Orchestra of New York family,” said Mr. Raben. “During our 2009-10 ‘bridge’ season we have been working to regain our financial footing and develop a strategic plan to aggressively and optimistically continue the Opera Orchestra’s longstanding tradition of exceptional opera-in-concert performances. Mr. Veronesi’s background and experience in development, his artistic ability and vision, and his musical knowledge of the lesser known works of the operatic repertoire make him the ideal music director for the company.”
“I am honored to accept the position of Music Director and begin this next chapter in my life with The Opera Orchestra of New York,” said Mr. Veronesi. “I look forward to continuing Eve Queler’s extraordinary efforts in repertory renewal, presenting unique operas performed by world-class and young singers. Ms. Queler has built an outstanding company and I will do my best to follow in her footsteps.”
“I am proud of the accomplishments of The Opera Orchestra of New York over the past 40 years and I was thrilled to find a conductor who shares my philosophy and will carry on the legacy of The Opera Orchestra of New York,” commented Eve Queler. “I offer him my support and best wishes as he embarks upon this new phase in our organization.”
Lisa Jaehnig, Shuman Associates
Italian conductor Alberto Veronesi has done extensive research on the operatic repertoire of the late 19th to early 20th Century by composers such as Pietro Mascagni, Ruggiero Leoncavallo and Giacomo Puccini, among others, and has programmed and recorded as a Deutsche Grammophon artist these lesser known works in an effort to give this underexposed repertoire a wider audience with the hopes of establishing new masterworks.
His recent critically acclaimed performances of Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz starring Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna at Deutsche Oper Berlin were recorded live and have since been released as his third album in an ongoing Verismo project with Deutsche Grammophon comprised of works from the post-Romantic Italian operatic repertoire.
The series began in 2006 with the critically acclaimed complete recording of Puccini’s early opera Edgar with Plácido Domingo in the title role.
The second recording, Puccini Rediscovered released in September 2009, is an album of original editions and alternative versions of famous Puccini arias and ensembles as well as little-known orchestral compositions sung by Placído Domingo and soprano Violeta Urmana with the Vienna Philharmonic.
The next recording in the series is La Nuit de mai, an album of Leoncavallo songs and arias performed by Mr. Domingo, pianist Lang Lang and the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna to be released in April 2010.
As a guest conductor, Mr. Veronesi led the Orchestra Guido Cantelli and I Madrigalisti Ambrosiani in Salieri’s Falstaff at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Giordano’s Andrea Chénier at the Tel Aviv Opera Theatre, and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in Athens and at the NHK in Tokyo. He has also conducted Leoncavallo’s I Medici at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Puccini’s Tosca at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Giordano’s Fedora at La Monnaie Bruxelles.
Born in Milan, Mr. Veronesi studied at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory, graduating with honors in piano, composition and orchestral conducting. As a student he founded the Guido Cantelli Orchestra, which has since remained in residence at the Conservatory. He directed the orchestra until 2000, including performances at the Salzburg Easter Festival (at the invitation of Claudio Abbado), Teatro alla Scala and Maggio Musicale.
In 1999, Mr. Veronesi was appointed Music Director of the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, where he has not only since conducted all of Puccini’s operas but was also actively involved in the construction of a new opera house.
In 2003, his production of La Bohème at the Festival won the Premio Abbiati, awarded by the Italian Music Critics Association.
His performances at the Festival in 2009 included a new production of Manon Lescaut and a gala concert with soprano Angela Gheorghiu.
In 2001 Mr. Veronesi was named Artistic and Music Director of the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo, where he is performing complete cycles of symphonies by Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler and Shostakovich, as well as giving prominence to 20th-century Italian symphonic music and continuing to program contemporary works.
He was also recently named Artistic Director of the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna.
Mr. Veronesi lives in Palermo with his wife and young daughter.
The Opera Orchestra of New York
The Opera Orchestra of New York was established by Eve Queler in 1971 to give new life to rarely-heard operas and provide the public with an opportunity to hear these operatic rarities in major concert performances.
Among its numerous American premieres are Puccini’s Edgar with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Scotto; Boito’s Nerone with James Morris and Pablo Elvira; and Smetana’s Libuse with Gabriela Benacková and Paul Plishka. The Company also performed the New York premiere of Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans, with Dolora Zajick and Jorma Hynninen, which was also the American premiere of the Russian language version.
The ensemble has also presented works long neglected in New York, such as Wagner’s Rienzi, Verdi’s I Lombardi, Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles, and Catalani’s La Wally. These pioneering efforts have led national opera companies such as the Metropolitan, Chicago Lyric and Houston Grand Opera to add to their permanent repertoires works that received their first major modern hearing by The Opera Orchestra of New York including I lombardi, Donizetti’s La Favorita, Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, Dvořák’s Rusalka and Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina.
Opera Orchestra takes an active role in identifying young operatic talent and fostering its training. Since 1978 Opera Orchestra’s Young Artists Program has identified, trained and showcased young singers, assisting their professional development and advancing their careers as performing artists.
It is the only program in the New York metropolitan area that provides young singers with an opportunity to rehearse and perform with full orchestra and chorus. The program has nurtured the talents of Renée Fleming, Aprile Millo, Vivica Genaux, Deborah Voigt, Latonia Moore, Stephen Costello, Michael Fabiano and Eglise Gutierrez. Other singers who have worked with Opera Orchestra very early in their careers include José Carreras, Barbara Hendricks, Dwayne Croft, Samuel Ramey and James Morris. Singers who made their American or New York debuts with Opera Orchestra include Gabriela Benacková, Stephanie Blythe, Olga Borodina, Ghena Dimitrova, Jane Eaglen, Carlo Guelfi, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Vesselina Kasarova, Paul Plishka, Rosalind Plowright and Krassimira Stoyanova and Dolora Zajick.
Founder and creator of The Opera Orchestra of New York, Eve Queler is a pioneer, establishing herself as one of the first prominent female conductors of an orchestra.
She is internationally renowned for her ground-breaking work with the Opera Orchestra and as a guest conductor of symphonic and opera repertoire at venues that span the international musical world.
She has conducted many rarely performed operas, bringing them to the attention of the American public and introducing them to the standard repertoire.
Standing out among her many successes are Wagner’s Rienzi, Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini, Smetana’s Dalibor, and Strauss’ Die Liebe der Danae. She celebrated her 100th Carnegie Hall performance as Music Director of The Opera Orchestra of New York during the 2007-2008 season.
Ms. Queler has guest conducted at opera companies including the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg, Russia, Hamburg Oper, Frankfurt Oper, Oper Bonn, Australian Opera in Sydney and Nice Opera. She guest conducted Anna Bolena with the San Diego Opera; La Bohème with the Utah Opera; I puritani in Royal Festival Hall, London; Lakmé in Caracas; Tales of Hoffmann in South Africa and Quebec City; and she led Rossini’s Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra at Buenos Aires’ legendary Teatro Colón.
Her opera gala concerts have included performances at the Salle Pleyel, Paris, and with the Honolulu Symphony, the Montreal Symphony, the National Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
She has conducted numerous symphony orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Rome Opera, and Montreal Symphony.
Recently she conducted the Orchestra Sinfonia Siciliana in Palermo, Italy, in Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 and Poulenc’s Piano Concerto.
Ms. Queler has been named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (one of the highest awards presented by the French government) for her commitment to French operas. She has also received the Sanford Medal, Yale University’s highest musical honor.