“Rediscovered Operas Series” brings forgotten operas back to life…

“Rediscovered Operas Series” was created by Idea Press to propose the rediscovery of some operas of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were operas written and set to music that, for incomprehensible reasons, have not had the response they deserved in the musical and opera world or had success but have been forgotten through the years. The editors’ goal is to present the original librettos with the proper editing that does not change either the writing style or the language of the original text but corrects any typos and omissions caused by the damage that the original librettos may have undergone. To this they added a proper but brief biography of the lyricist and of the composer, a story of the theater in which the opera was first performed and, whenever available, prefaces, articles, and introductions of the times that offer a better understanding of the content of the librettos, both as poetic compositions and as tales. They hope that this undertaking will help a rekindling of the interest by musicologists and by the large public in these worthy and marvelous operas.

Here are the first four volumes, which will be available by June 2020:

Cimbelino was the first opera byNiccolò van Westerhout; indeed, to be precise it was the second he composed, but unfortunately his’ first ”TILDE “was never represented and in any case that composition was lost. Cimbelino, therefore, was his first opera performed in 1892 at the Argentina Theater in Rome. From the journalistic reports of the time we know that the opera was a great success, and the Maestro himself was called to the proscenium many times during the execution. The libretto, written by Enrico Golisciani is taken from a drama written by William Shakespeare and tells of a British king, Cimbelino (Cymbeline) precisely, at the time of the conquest by the Roman Empire. A compelling story accompanied by a highly valuable musical composition.

In this book you will find precisely the plot of the opera in its originality. As far as possible, the editors wanted to keep the literary expressions of the time (1800); today some words or phrases would have been written in a different way, but it was important for them to bring to the attention of the fans the originality of the prose writing with which the maestro van Westerhout had to compare himself for his composition.

Fortunio, the second opera by Niccolò van Westerhout wasrepresented at the Lirico theater in Milan in 1895. This opera was intended for the debut at the Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, but for various mishaps it was later moved to the Lirico. This opera, whose libretto was written by Giulio Scalinger, tells of a young woman, Musidora, who falls in love with a young man, Fortunio, who would be defined, nowadays, as a playboy or as womanizer. The woman, realizing the situation, commits suicide. An opera a little out of its time, but which begins to premise the changes and transformation of the melodrama of the late 1800s. Even in this transcription of the plot the originality of the booklet has been respected. The success achieved at his first performance in Milan was not like that of Cimbelino; in fact, the opera music was not easy to catch for the audience in general and it was necessary to be a little more refined to understand the various musical passages. Critics and opera enthusiasts, however, applauded the Maestro’s opera with intense favor.

Doña Flor, the third opera by the Maestro, which was performed in the aptly named Niccolò van Westerhout theater in Mola di Bari in 1896, was conceived for a small stage, exactly as it was in that theater. Van Westerhout dedicated it to his hometown as a tribute. The story was written by Arturo Colautti and set in 17th century Venice. The truly exciting tale ends in a much more tragic way than the operas of the time; in fact, Doña Flor, convinced by her husband, kills her lover, Alvise Malipiero, who is  innocent of the accusations made against him. A triangle of love, jealousy and far-fetched revenge.

This is considered the masterpiece of Niccolò van Westerhout, but like all of the Maestro’s musical production it was abandoned, until it was rediscovered and then had a second, this time international, debut in New York in 2010.

Colomba, the fourth and final opera by Niccolò, debuted in 1923 at the San Carlo theater in Naples, many years after the Maestro’s death. This performance was tenaciously desired by the brother of the composer Vincenzo van Westerhout and by a group of friends of the late Niccolò, who unfortunately died in 1898 at the young age of 41.

This opera, also written by the poet Arturo Colautti, is set in the Napoleonic era, in the early 1800s, and tells of a young soldier returning to his Sardinia from the defeat that Napoleon Bonaparte suffered in Waterloo. There he meets and falls in love with a young woman, Graziosa, who, because of family intrigues, is not allowed to marry. The tragic end of Graziosa, caused by Colomba, the young man’s sister, ends the opera and Colomba’s repentance is of no use as Graziosa dies in the arms of her lover.


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In these times of quarantine, a beautiful song can bring you hope…

Article by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Anna Maddalena Capasso has a beautiful voice, but that alone does not make a great opera singer, or for that even a great crossover singer, but Miss Capasso’s masterful handling of her voice is well beyond her age and not only shows promise, it shows that she is ready for big roles. She is, as she jokingly states, truly a diva in the making.

Her YouTube Channel offers a variety of song videos that will capture the attention of anyone who loves music as a whole, and undoubtedly whoever loves opera and musicals.

The variety of songs and arias that she has posted are intriguing and satisfactory in many ways. She has a classical aria such as Lascia ch’io pianga from the opera Rinaldo by Handel  but also operatic rendition of songs such as God Help the Outcasts from The Hunchback of Notre Dame  and Into the Unknown from the movie Frozen 2.

 And if it wasn’t enough, this delightful soprano also has her own versions of Neapolitan songs as Abbracciame and O’ Surdato ‘Nnamorato.

Other song complete her Internet performance on her channel in a pleasing and fulfilling manner, so I urge our readers to visit her YouTube channel and hear her superb renditions.


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Published in New York the vocal score of Pasquale La Rotella’s Stabat Mater

In the compositional parable of Pasquale La Rotella (Bitonto, March 5, 1880 ─ Bari, March 20, 1963) sacred music is an important and at least as significant as the one that saw him an opera composer, conductor, teacher and first director of the Liceo Musicale “Piccinni” in Bari.

Most of his sacred production dates back to the years when he was magistro et rectore of the “Schola Cantorum” of the Regia Basilica Palatina of San Nicola. It will be necessary to climb over chronologically two wars and forty long years of brilliant and multifaceted career as an all-round musician to find new pages of sacred music. The occasion to put the famous text of Jacopone Da Todi into music came to him from the celebrations for the 230th anniversary of the birth of Tommaso Traetta. In close correlation with the work of the famous countryman, La Rotella decided to deal with the treatment of one of the highest subjects of Western sacred art, composing, at the venerable age of seventy-seven, “his” Stabat.

PAPERBACK ISBN# 978-1-948651-04-2
HARDCOVER ISBN# 978-1-073751-40-2

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Rossini Opera Festival opened on August 11th


10 AUGUST 2019

The Rossini Opera Festival reaches the milestone of the 40th edition, dedicated to Montserrat Caballé and Bruno Cagli. The ROF XL will be held in Pesaro from 11 to 23 August and will present two new productions: Semiramide, co-produced with the Opéra Royal de Wallonie of Liège, conducted by Michele Mariotti and staged by Graham Vick, and L’equivoco extravagante, conducted by Carlo Rizzi and directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. Third opera the extremely rare Demetrio and Polibio, scene and direction by Davide Livermore with Paolo Arrivabeni conducting. All three works will be broadcasted live on Rai RadioTre, while Semiramide will be broadcasted on Rai5 in autumn.

L’Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai si esibirà in Semiramide e L’equivoco stravagante insieme al Coro del Teatro Ventidio Basso; la Filarmonica Gioachino Rossini suonerà in Demetrio e Polibio con il Coro del Teatro della Fortuna M. Agostini.

Il cast di Semiramide, in programma alla Vitrifrigo Arena l’11, 14, 17 e 20 agosto alle 19, è guidato da Salome Jicia nel ruolo del titolo, accanto a Varduhi Abrahamyan (Arsace), Nahuel Di Pierro (Assur), Antonino Siragusa (Idreno), Martiniana Antonie (Azema), Carlo Cigni (Oroe), Alessandro Luciano (Mitrane), Sergey Artamonov (L’ombra di Nino).
Jessica Pratt (Lisinga), Cecilia Molinari (Demetrio-Siveno), Juan Francisco Gatell (Demetrio-Eumene) e Riccardo Fassi (Polibio) canteranno in Demetrio e Polibio, in scena al Teatro Rossini il 12, 15, 18 e 23 agosto alle 20.
Il cast dell’Equivoco stravagante, in programma alla Vitrifrigo Arena il 13, 16, 19 e 22 agosto alle 20, comprende Teresa Iervolino (Ernestina), Paolo Bordogna (Gamberotto), Davide Luciano (Buralicchio), Pavel Kolgatin (Ermanno), Claudia Muschio (Rosalia) e Manuel Amati (Frontino).

Completeranno il programma Il viaggio a Reims degli allievi dell’Accademia Rossiniana “Alberto Zedda”, diretto da Nikolas Nägele alla testa dell’Orchestra Sinfonica Rossini (18 e 20 agosto alle 11 al Teatro Rossini); il Gala ROF XL, il 21 agosto alle 20.30 alla Vitrifrigo Arena, con alcuni tra i maggiori cantanti rossiniani di oggi (Nicola Alaimo, Paolo Bordogna, Lawrence Brownlee, Juan Diego Flórez, Ruzil Gatin, Valeria Girardello, Anna Goryachova, Alessandro Luciano, Angela Meade, Claudia Muschio, Mirco Palazzi, Michele Pertusi, Sergey Romanovsky e Franco Vassallo; la Cantata La riconoscenza, il 14 agosto alle 16 al Teatro Rossini, diretta da Donato Renzetti ed eseguita dalla Filarmonica G. Rossini e dal Coro del Coro del Teatro della Fortuna M. Agostini, voci soliste Carmela Remigio, Victoria Yarovaya, Ruzil Gatin e Riccardo Fassi; le Soirées musicales nella versione orchestrata da Fabio Maestri, il 16 agosto alle 16 al Teatro Rossini, eseguita dalla Filarmonica G. Rossini diretta da Michele Spotti, voci soliste Maria Laura Iacobellis, Valeria Girardello, Xabier Anduaga e Carles Pachón; due Concerti lirico-sinfonici con protagonista l’Orchestra Sinfonica Rossini: il 19 agosto alle 16 al Teatro Rossini diretta da Carlo Tenan e con le voci di Varduhi Abrahamyan e Jessica Pratt; il 23 agosto alle 16, sempre al Teatro Rossini, diretta da Alessandro Bonato e con le voci di Anna Goryachova e Simone Alberghini; due Concerti di Belcanto (Angela Meade il 17 agosto alle 16 al Teatro Rossini; Antonino Siragusa il 22 agosto alle 16, sempre al Rossini); il nuovo appuntamento di Rossinimania, il 15 agosto alle 11 al Teatro Rossini, protagonisti gli Italian Harmonists, le voci della Scala in un quintetto unico in Italia.

Il Festival 2019 si attua con il contributo di Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali, Comune di Pesaro, Regione Marche, in collaborazione con Intesa Sanpaolo e Fondazione Gruppo Credito Valtellinese; con l’apporto di Abanet Internet Provider, Bartorelli-Rivenditore autorizzato Rolex, Eden Viaggi, Grand Hotel Vittoria – Savoy Hotel – Alexander Museum Palace Hotel, Harnold’s, Hotel Excelsior, Ratti Boutique, Subito in auto, Teamsystem, Websolute. Partecipano AMAT-Associazione marchigiana attività teatrali, AMI-Azienda per la mobilità integrata e trasporti, ASPES Spa, Azienda Ospedaliera San Salvatore, Centro IAT – Informazione e accoglienza turistica, Conservatorio di musica G. Rossini. Si ringrazia UBI Banca per il contributo erogato tramite Art Bonus.

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La Traviata: A wonderful night at the opera in this cozy suburban city of New Rochelle…

Review by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

What a pleasant surprise was attending a performance of La Traviata presented by the New Rochelle Opera at the Frank J. Auriana Theatre in New Rochelle!

The level of expertise demonstrated by the performers and musicians was very high and the overall effect was exhilarating even for someone like me who, through the years, has witnessed many versions of this opera.

From the left, Denise Battle as Annina, John Dominick III as Dr. Grenvil, Gabriel Hernandez as Alfredo Germont, Kelli Butler as Violetta, and Chad Armstrong as Giorgio Germont

Kelli Butler was an amazing Violetta, convincing in her ailing beauty act, which was at times so touching that I forgot it was not real and felt emotionally distressed. Moreover, she offered an impeccable and exciting singing performance, worthy of much more famous venues.

Having such an outstanding performer as the main female character certainly would have been sufficient to carry this opera through at a decent level, but she was propitiously surrounded by so many talented professionals and the performance turned out to be truly an outstanding one.

The other great singing revelation of the night was Chad Armstrong, who showed amazing vocal power in his portrayal of Giorgio Germont. He is a baritone who will have great success.

Satisfactory but not rousing the performance of Gabriel Hernandez as Alfredo Germont, who showed great control of his voice but limited power and furthermore was not very convincing as acting goes, carrying an almost unchanged facial expression throughout most of the opera. I am sure that he has talent and time will allow it to surface completely.

Excellent in their roles as Flora and Baron Douphol, Sara Petrocelli and Kevin Johnson demonstrated their vocal and acting skills are quite ready for bigger parts. Bravo goes to Chad Kranak as Gastone and Javier Ortiz as the Marquis D’Obigny for their significant contribution to the positive outcome of the performance. Mr. Ortiz, in particular, has remarkable voice skills and will go far.

I found more than adequate the chorus as the Ladies and Gentlemen of Paris.

The direction and production by Camille Coppola were so well coordinated that the spectator would be unable to remember that he or she was in a small theater and could instead become completely absorbed by the events unfolding in this magnificent Verdian opera. Kudos goes to the director and the scenic designer (Eric Zoback) who were able to make you enjoy the developments of the story without witnessing any possible clumsiness due to the limited space on stage.

The scene with the gypsy dancers was magnificent and the dancers (Michelle Foard, Mary Gingrich,  Christine Perone, and Kim Smart) were quite accomplished. Again, it was amazing how this could have been done on such a small stage and still make it look natural.

It is true that no matter how good the performers are, it is the orchestra the one that creates the proper environment for the singer to excel, and it was done so thanks to a great conductor (Brian Holman) and the excellent musicians in the orchestra: they delivered a superb execution and their music never drowned the singers’ voices.

Another remarkable characteristic of this performance was that all the singers, chorus included, demonstrated a magnificent Italian diction, representative of a high level of preparation and professionality.

It was a wonderful night at the opera in this cozy suburban city of New Rochelle…

(This review refers to the performance of June 23, 2019)

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June 21st, 2019 Declared Tiziano Thomas Dossena Day In Yonkers

June 21st, 2019 declared Tiziano Thomas Dossena Day in Yonkers.

The mayor of Yonkers, Mike Spano, declared June 21st, 2019 Tiziano Thomas Dossena Day in Yonkers because of his many achievements in the publishing world. Dossena is the author of “Caro Fantozzi,” published by Scriptum Press in December 2008, “Dona Flor, An Opera by van Westerhout,” published by Idea Publications in April 2010, “Sunny Days and Sleepless Nights,” published by Idea Press in December 2016 and of the upcoming three books The Dance of ColorThe Rebirth of an Opera, and New York City’s Italian Imprint, the Statues and Monuments of and by Italians in the Big Apple.

His works have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies in Italy, France, Greece, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States. Dossena is the founder and Editor in Chief of two magazines, OperaMyLove and OperaAmorMio, both founded in Yonkers, and has been the Editorial Director of L’Idea Magazine since 1990.

On June 2nd, 2019, Dossena won the prestigious 2019 OSIA Literary Award.

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Our director wins the 2019 OSIA Literary Award!


Our Editorial Director wins the 2019 OSIA LITERARY AWARD!

On June 1st, 2019, in front of the statewide delegates and dignitaries of the New York State Grand Lodge of the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America,  President Robert Ferrito presented our Director Tiziano Thomas Dossena with the prestigious 2019 OSIA Literary Award “for his contribution to the Italian American Experience in America.”  The author also received a citation from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

From the left, OSIA NY STATE President Robert Ferrito, Tiziano Thomas Dossena, Literary Award co-Chair Geraldine Iannello Graham.

Dossena, who is the Recording Secretary of Tuckahoe’s OSIA Giuseppe Garibaldi Lodge 2583, is the author of “Caro Fantozzi,” published by Scriptum Press in December 2008, “Doña Flor, An Opera by Niccolò van Westerhout,” published by Idea Publications in April 2010, “Sunny Days and Sleepless Nights,” published by Idea Press in December 2016 and of the upcoming three books “The Dance of Color,” “The Rebirth of an Opera,” andNew York City’s Italian Imprint, the Statues and Monuments of and by Italians in the Big Apple.”

His works have appeared in over 100 magazines and anthologies in Italy, France, Greece, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States. Dossena is the founder and Editor in Chief of two magazines, OperaMyLove and OperaAmorMio, and has been the Editorial Director of L’Idea Magazine since 1990.

NY State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Tiziano Thomas Dossena

In 2011, Tiziano Thomas Dossena was honored for both literary work and community service work at the New York State Assembly by New York State Assemblyman, Joseph Saladino. In 2012, the author received the International PREMIO GLOBO TRICOLORE award “for the outstanding efforts at keeping the Italian Image known in the world through his literary works”. In 2014, he was asked to read poems at the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony in Yonkers.

The whole staff of L’Idea magazine congratulates him for having earned such an important award and wishes him further accolades and honors.

 Please click here to view the award’s presentation.

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Boheme Opera NJ Celebrates Three Decades with Reunion Concert

Boheme Opera NJ returns to Grounds For Sculpture on Sunday May 19 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
in celebration of its 30th Anniversary Season. 

Experience live recital performances by operatic voices during Boheme’s Reunion Concert commemorating this exciting milestone. WWFM, The Classical Network, joins Boheme as it broadcasts the concert LIVE on-air from the GFS East Gallery.

Boheme Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti and WWFM Host of Sunday Opera Michael Kownacky will co-host the event, which will include on-air artist interviews.  The concert is free with entry to the Grounds.

Featuring talented leading role singers from its past and recent main stage history, and accompanied by guest pianists, an array of live excerpts from various operas will be heard, presenting a thriving generation of artistry. Among the featured singers is tenor Ronald Naldi, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1983, having sung over 300 performances there, and whose repertoire comprises over 100 operatic roles in six languages, and more than 30 oratorios;  fellow Metropolitan Opera baritone Daniel Sutin made his debut there in 2001 and has sung leading roles in opera houses throughout the U.S., Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Stuttgart, Monchengladbach, Basel and Zurich.  Joining them are sopranos Valerie BernhardtLorraine ErnestSungji KimKristin K. Vogel, mezzo-soprano Amy Maude Helfer, bass-baritone Stefanos Koroneosand bass Martin Hargrove, among others.

Throughout its 30 years, Boheme Opera NJ has paved the way for young singers on their way to brilliant careers and has provided opportunities for established singers to debut new leading roles.  Initiating its first main stage season in 1989, Boheme Opera performed for several years at the Patriots Theater in the Trenton War Memorial, then moving its main stage to The College of New Jersey in 2010.

In recent years, under the leadership of Boheme Opera President Jerrold Kalstein, the company has expanded its outreach programming thematically and geographically to demonstrate its performance versatility.  Audiences in the New Jersey Counties of Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Burlington, Camden, and Hunterdon, as well as Pennsylvania’s Bucks Counties, have been fortunate to experience the operatic gifts that Boheme Opera has to offer. Life-long learning and youth education programs have also dotted Boheme’s history, while annual collaborations have been popular at such venues as Hamilton’s iconic Grounds For Sculpture, Monroe Township’s Cultural Commission at Monroe Township Public Library and Warminster, PA’s premiere adult community Ann’s Choice.

Funding for Boheme Opera NJ programs is made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, The Mark David and Anne Kupferberg Pepper Family Foundation, Dorothea Van Dyke McLane Association, Roma Bank Community Foundation, Investors Bank Community Foundation, corporations, businesses, individuals and collaborative contributions.
For more information about Boheme Opera NJ’s Reunion Concert and other programming, visit www.bohemeopera.com.

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Opera lovers, rejoice: The Lorin Maazel Castleton Institute is born!!

We are proud to announce the birth of the Lorin Maazel Castleton Institute. Its aims are to prepare new opera performers and opera students for a stage appearance by giving them tools that have not been offered until now. More information will follow on a separate article, but in the meanwhile here is some useful info on the available sessions in New York City.



“Performing Italian Opera: Tradition and Practice”


“German Repertory Immersion- The Operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss”

Dietlinde Turban Maazel

These first two sessions will be led by Dietlinde Turban Maazel, soprano Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs, and conductor Mo. Michael Recchiuti. Other faculty members will also participate on a daily basis. The curriculum will focus not only on the performance of music with its attendant disciplines: languages, interpretation, body movement, but also on physical and psychological wellness, study techniques, and career planning.

Elizabeth Blancke-Biggs

These sessions will be based in the Gurari Studios at the National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Avenue, New York, a state of the art performance and recording facility, offering the invaluable capacity to record and study performances and classes in the heart of Manhattan under the guidance of a highly skilled recording engineer.

Michael Recchiuti

Each session will begin with a video recording session for each singer. This establishes a “baseline” from which to plan each student’s individualized work plan for the week.

Jeremy Gerard

Jeremy Gerard, Chief Engineer of the Gurari Studios, an engineer with over twenty- five years of professional experience will give a class on the critical skills of how to optimize a singer’s experience in the recording studio. There will be daily private lessons on the singer’s repertory, language coaching, interpretive study, and the overall well- being of the artist. Each evening all participants and faculty will convene at the National Opera Center for a three hour Master Class. The week will culminate in a recital that will be video recorded and live-streamed on the internet.

Eric Malson

All students will leave with a high-quality video of their performance, a necessity today for all applications to schools, competitions, and artist agencies. The videotaping at the beginning and end of each week’s session will provide a comprehensive metric to demonstrate each student’s progress.

Selected students will be invited to Castleton, Virginia, to perform concerts in the Castleton in Performance series during the season.

Applications for the program will consist of a CV, video/audio recordings submitted online, or a live audition in NYC. The classes will be limited to 6 active participants, 2 alternates, and 10 auditors.

Live auditions will be held on April 15,2019 at Gurari Studios at the National Opera Center, NYC.

Please direct any questions to Kristen Norwark at (646)275-9525 orKristenN@CastletonFestival.org



Live Audition Application Deadline – April 10, 2019
Video Submission Application Deadline – April 15, 2019
Application Fee: $25
Tuition: $650 for each session
Auditor’s Fee – $150.00. Auditors may attend all evening Master Classes

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Music, from Richmond County to the World. Exclusive interview with Maestro Alan Aurelia

Interview  by Tiziano Thomas Dossena

Based in New York City, one of the most diverse and culturally rich environments for the arts and the many artists it supports, Maestro Alan Aurelia has distinguished himself as a conductor, an arts advocate, educator, and administrator. He is currently the music director of the Richmond County Orchestra, New American Youth Ballet and artistic director/conductor of the Riverside Opera Company.
He received full scholarships and fellowships to study at the Hartt School in Hartford,
Connecticut and the Conductors Institute at the University of South Carolina,
Columbia. He has served on the music faculties of Wagner College, the College of
Staten Island and the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Describing Maestro Aurelia’s virtuosity, composer and conductor Lukas Foss stated
that “He conducts very naturally, effortlessly and clearly enabling all in the
orchestra to follow every musical nuance and inflection quite easily”.
At the conclusion of a concert that Maestro Aurelia conducted in Italy, Joel Cohen of
the Staten Island Advance wrote that “he was called back five times for bows by a
standing ovation audience” and Michael Fressola, also from the Advance, noted
that “The concert strikes a multicultural chord with the audience”.
Under his baton, the Richmond County Orchestra was selected to perform at
the Guggenheim Museum’s NY.2022, a multi-media creation by Parisian visual artist
Dominique Gonzalez-Forester with music by the Berlin-based composer, Ari Benjamin
Meyers, which received a rave review from the New York Times. Maestro Aurelia has
also performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and he has been asked to conduct
in Carnegie Hall as well as in Miami, Florida, and Mexico. He has been a guest
conductor for the Bacau Philharmonic from Romania during Tuscany’s “Festival
Sinfonico di Massa” and for the Kiev Strings in Montegnioso.
In addition to performing the standard symphonic orchestral literature, Maestro Aurelia
conducts the opera, ballet, premiers of new compositions as well as the music of
Broadway. As a consequence of his versatility, he is comfortable in an array of
different genres and creates interesting and exciting programs that appeal to a broad
Maestro Aurelia’s Side-by-Side program for students stands out as a significant
marker of his dedication to music education, which is also reflected in the
establishment of the RCO Musicians Contest and the Instrument Petting Zoo,
programs that he initiated as music director of the Richmond County Orchestra that
actively support music education for young students in the New York metropolitan
He has received several awards and honors for excellence in performance, education
and community relations. He has appeared on many local radio and TV programs in
New York and serves as chairman of the Board for Tribeca Music and Art in

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You are the Music Director of the Richmond County Orchestra and the New American Youth Ballet Orchestra. How different is being the Music Director of an orchestra and of a Ballet group?
Alan Aurelia : It is easier to conduct the RCO when we are doing symphonic music together because there are just two variables orchestra and me. Together we try to make the composers music sound its best. When dancers are added to the mix the challenge becomes making the music “fit” the dancers’ movements, jumps, and gestures. The music has to be in the right tempo, time with the dancer(s). It’s akin to, the buzzer has to go off when your finger touches the doorbell, not before. The good thing about conducting ballet music with dancers is you don’t have to worry about playing too loud.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You are also Artistic Director/Conductor for the Riverside Opera Company. What does this entail versus the positions that I refer to in the preceding question?
Alan Aurelia: Accompanying singers, with orchestra, especially opera is the most challenging conducting. Voices are very delicate instruments and as such, singers need to take liberties with tempos because of breathing, and a good opera conductor must never allow the orchestra to drown out the singer.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What is the operatic program of the Riverside Opera Company and where do they operate?
Alan Aurelia: The Riverside Opera Company is celebrating its 22nd season! Although based on Staten Island, it has performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Washington Square Park for Garibaldi’s bicentennial. They have performed all the major operas with full orchestra and continues to perform the popular opera numbers many times combining popular pieces as well as Broadway numbers.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: When did you realize you wanted to be a music conductor?
Alan Aurelia: I was student director of my High School Symphonic Band and conducted many community orchestras and bands, then having a successful career as an instrumentalist, I was offered my first professional conducting position in 1993 for a local NYC ballet company orchestra and have been conducting professionally ever since.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Are you still teaching in college? Did you also teach instrumentation?
Alan Aurelia: I was on the Music Faculty of three colleges and universities in NYC, now retired, I have private students and teach at a local Music Conservatory.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Which one is the opera you feel is the most rewarding for you as a conductor and why? And the most challenging one, if any?
Alan Aurelia: All operas are equally challenging. depending on the singers, production staff, directors you are working with because it all affects the music making.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: What characteristics do you feel make a better orchestra conductor?
Alan Aurelia: Know the music well before first rehearsal and with a minimal gesture from one’s baton or hand, convey the composer’s musical ideas clearly, enabling thus the musicians to perform at their optimum ability. A good conductor is a good teacher as well as a learner and must show compassion for the orchestra and vocal musicians as well as dancers. Years and years of conducting helps to make better conductors  It took me ten years before I felt comfortable in front of an orchestra. Many orchestra boards today make the mistake of hiring the young “wunderkind” conductor and problems generally

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: You directed orchestras from different nations. Have you found a different attitude among the orchestra members, as music interpretation goes? Do you feel that music is so universal as to flatten out ethnic and racial differences?
Alan Aurelia: My experience has been, whether conducting in the US or abroad, that if the conductor is sensitive to the musicians’ needs, mostly musical ones, they will perform well.

Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie with RCO

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: Are there any new projects you are working on?
Alan Aurelia: I am always seeking to do more concerts for the public, as a guest conductor or taking the award-winning Richmond County Orchestra on tour.

Tiziano Thomas Dossena: If you could meet anyone from the past or the present, who would he or she be? What would you like to ask them? What would you like to tell them?
Alan Aurelia: Wow, this is a hard one because there are so many people. But if I had to choose one it would be the conductor Arturo Toscanini and I’d ask him if he truly had a photographic memory.


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