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?