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From Italy with love: A rising star Gabriella Aleo about her debut as Amneris

Photo by Massimo Brugnetti

2021 is particularly significant for the history of this Verdi’s masterpiece in Taranto: in fact, the 150th anniversary of its debut in December 1871 in Cairo takes place this year. At the beginning of August dramatic soprano Gabriella Aleo had her debut as Amneris in the production of "Aida" at the Taranto Opera Festival. We have talked to Gabriella about her impression of this serious but delightful experience.

What are your insights about your work at this festival?

The impressions I got from the Taranto Opera Festival were more than positive. Making music and art with welcoming people reduces tension and anxiety during performances. All this contributes to the success of the opera. The relationship created was a family one, starting from the conductor Marco Codamo, the artistic director Paolo Cuccaro and his staff, and continuing with all my precious colleagues.

Could you tell us more about this festival?

We had a great director who made us express ourselves in the most natural way. I am talking about Gianluca Chiera. He has sculpted our "Aida" and the complicated character of Amneris with me. The festival is Taranto Opera Festival located in Apulia, a cultural pearl of southern Italy that has been recognised by the Ministry of Culture, which has included the festival in the F.U.S. for musical programming.

Photo by Flavio Franco

Who is your favourite Amneris? What recordings did you listen to before your debut? What is special about this role?

Amneris was a real debut from both a vocal and an acting point of view. I was given this opportunity by Maestro Codamo after having listened to me carefully in several interpretations of Verdi, Strauss and Mascagni. I felt this role as my own from the very first moment, like a tailor-made dress, and the stage immediately became home thanks to this awareness.

Photo by Flavio Franco

I prepared it during the late spring and the walls of my house were full of Aida. Every now and then during the study phase, I would hear the triumphal march whistled in the neighbourhood by someone who enjoyed listening to it, and this made me think of the universal language of music and its sharing, and it brought a smile to my face as I was super immersed in concentration. This Aida gave me so much and left me with intense moments of joy from the study phase, to sharing with the other artists and the performance where there was open applause and a standing ovation at my farewells. Amneris is my rebirth, my second life and my new way of establishing myself in the opera world.

I prepared Amneris after watching many productions. The one that impressed me the most is Amneris interpreted by the great Ghena Dimitrova.

Can you tell us about your vocal teachers and their main advice?

In my career I have met many important people from whom I have learned some secrets of singing. Regarding my voice, I owe a lot to Nicoletta Panni, a soprano from the 1960s who was the granddaughter of the famous baritone Giuseppe De Luca. The sweetness of her singing line that she tried to convey reflected her clean soul. My vocality was greatly respected and indulged by her. She was a great queen of legato and elegance. I tried to learn as much of her expressiveness as possible. Some magic is only allowed to us, singers.

Photo by Flavio Franco

Would you like to add anything else?

I thank all those who have believed in me. Those who prepared me for this opera: maestros Iannuzzi, Lorenzetti and Pavone.

I thank those who brought out the best in me: the conductor Marco Codamo and the director Gianluca Chiera. I thank the Taranto Opera Festival organised by Paolo Cuccaro and PierPaolo Padova. I thank those who have supported me, those who have advised me during this preparation, I thank some singers in my career who have supported me, my colleagues with whom I have shared this experience. I thank my friends far and near and my family, who are always in my heart. I would like to thank the people who have meant a lot to me in my studies and who have always understood my vocality: Nicoletta Panni, Michael Aspinall and Tatiana Chivarova. Always in my chords with all the heart and voice I have.

What are your future plans for performances?

At the moment I only have important auditions to prepare for and I hope they can turn into projects. Fingers crossed!

Photo by Antonio Aleo

We wish Gabriella good luck in her vocal career :)


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