Described as ‘the new Pavarotti‘, Gianluca Sciarpelletti is a son of Italian-American art, raised in the world of opera. He grew up around the performances and teachings of family friends from an early age, frequenting and listening to world-renowned performers such as Franco Corelli, Mario Filippeschi, Richard Tucker and Licia Albanese, thus inevitably attending the classes of his parents with Grand Maestro Luigi. Here. His musical education began in childhood, being introduced to the study of the violin by the famous conductor Franco Ferrara and applying for the studies of this instrument at the Licinio Refice Music Conservatory in Frosinone.
Naturally, Gianluca switched to voice studies. He devoted himself to singing, first with his parents, tenor Giovanni Sciarpelletti and soprano Angela Centola, then moved to the Santa Cecilia Conservatory of Music in Rome to take singing lessons with tenor Antonio Bevacqua.
He graduated from the Singing Conservatory, having completed all the necessary graduate and postgraduate studies and obtained maximum voting diplomas in music and opera singing not only in Italy but also in the United States, and later obtained a PhD in Political Science – Administration Management at the University of Siena.
He received numerous awards and victories in international competitions and appeared on stage in his native Italy, as well as abroad – Lincoln Center in New York, the Opera City Concert Hall in Tokyo, the Forest Theater in Tassaloniki , Royal Albert Hall in London, the National and Presidential Theater of Pyongyang in North Korea, the Beijing Poly Theatre, the National Moravian-Silesian Theater Ostrava in the Czech Republic and the Slezke Divadlo Theater in Opava, Czech Republic.
An Italian critic wrote: “He excels for his powerful stage presence and for his very distinct and classic vocality. Higher voice, rich in harmony and characterized by a lyrical and heroic tone, one is struck by his ability to transmit and infuse emotions thanks to the richness of colors and nuances when he interprets the great repertoire of classical opera. .
At the moment, Gianluca is preparing for his role as Radames de Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, which will be performed at the Belk Theater Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. We spoke with Gianluca about his career and his singing.
How was your passion for opera born?
My career started while I was still a student at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. Winner of an international competition, I made my debut in the difficult and demanding role of Riccardo in A ball in the maschera by Giuseppe Verdi, even before obtaining the diploma of higher studies in lyrical singing. From there, my life completely changed. It was a turning point for me and my singing to become the beginning of an opera career in its truest sense, immersed and projected from Italy to the world. Productions have taken me to the stages of prestigious theaters such as the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Lincoln Center Met Opera in New York, the Opera City House in Tokyo, to name a few. Each time I carry Italy in my heart.
We know you are ‘a son of art’ – figlio d’arte. Could you tell more about your parents?
I was very lucky because I was born as the son of soprano Angela Centola and tenor Giovanni Sciarpelletti, both from the so-called “old school”. They studied vocal technique in Florence with the great tenor Mario Filippeschi and the repertoire with maestro Luigi Ricci, author of the famous Deviations. Cadences. Traditions. — volumes that every professional singer in the world uses to learn any new part. He can also be considered my “generational bridge” between the Roman singing school of baritone Antonio Cotogni and the “old school” that forged the greatest voices of the last century.
Being a “child of art” is always a great responsibility and not always an advantage. In fact, since the time of the conservatory, I have always felt the need to do well, to do my best also out of respect for my parents and their great reputation in the professional world of opera. They succeeded in transmitting to me the ‘old school’ technique and the beautiful canto manner. People ask if talent is inherited. Certainly, talent is a precious gift, but I would rather say that we inherit the passion and the love of good music, as well as culture. Talent alone is not enough, voice alone is not enough. It must be built day after day, it must be forged, educated, refined, like a rough diamond that needs to be elaborated in order to express all its light, its beauty, in order to best express its value.
What roles do you like the most and which ones reflect your inner nature the most?
It’s a difficult question, because I always love the role I have to play, each time identifying it in one way or another with myself. I love with all my soul the operas of Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, which is absolutely certain. These composers had a precise awareness of the voice, where nothing is left to chance, where words and music merge in an inaccessible perfection. All this allows my voice to reach its best expression and emission rewarding me with the most beautiful feelings.
Other composers such as Gaetano Donizetti, Pietro Mascagni, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Umberto Giordano, George Bizet composed masterpieces that I still love to play and interpret. Therefore, in each character I have something purely mine: Alfredo, the Duke of Mantua, Rigoletto, Radames, Don Alvaro, Manrico, Rodolfo, Macduff, Otello, Pinkerton, Rodolfo, Cavaradossi, Calaf, Dick Johnson , Pollione, Turiddu, Canio and Don Josè and surely the new one that I will debut in the Masked Ball — Un ballo in maschera soon. Yes, I loved them all and for each of them, each time, I also try to honor the role, their soul, their feelings, giving the best of myself, my heart and my soul — the mia anima and the heart!
Being an Italian artist better known abroad than at home, what is your relationship with Italy?
I sing more abroad than in Italy, and by singing all over the world, I always carry Italy in my heart wherever I go. I am happy and proud to be able to personally export the musical writings of the great Italian lyrical repertoire and beautiful cantoits phrasing and its traditions that we have been exporting for centuries from Italy to the whole world.
Precisely, in opera, we (the Italians) are always the elite of the world; especially where it is possible to make productions of the highest level, and which are taken as a model and exported from Italy to the world. I believe I can say that music is the highest ‘sublime’ expression of any art form, and in particular opera unites them all in one magical creation. On this subject, I would again propose the words of Cavaradossi taken from the aria of the tenor Recondita Harmony from Puccini’s first act Tosca, “… art in its mystery, the different beauties merge together.” In the same way, Italy, so rich in art, in its many forms and manifestations, exports art and culture all over the world.
You also work a lot with foreign students. What can you say in this regard?
For several years now, I have also been involved in transmitting these traditions to new generations and foreign students. These are mainly master classes, focusing on simple vocal technique, on the methods of performing the Italian lyrical repertoire and on phrasing in beautiful canto. I always emphasize the importance of words and accents in the Italian language. Texts and librettos so well written at the time have been put to even better music by our great composers such as Verdi, Puccini, Bellini, Donizetti, Magni, Leoncavallo, Tosti and many others. They had made our musical and artistic culture unique and inimitable already during their lifetime, and now their masterpieces are universally recognized.
Asia loves our music and contributes greatly to its globalization, while maintaining the mechanism of artistic turnover with the many students who devote themselves to opera. Moreover, Asia loves music and has been discovering opera and its potential for years. First the Koreans, then the Japanese and now the Chinese, present everywhere in our Italian conservatories to understand, study and learn the technical and interpretive methodologies of the lyrical repertoire and the methods of interpretation and performance of beautiful canto.
The COVID-19 pandemic has discouraged audiences from coming to concert halls and theaters. What do you think can be done to make people go to the theater more to see opera and classical music concerts?
Unfortunately, the pandemic has long isolated us in confinement, limiting and nullifying almost all forms of relationships, and relationships between people. This has considerably influenced their frequentation of public places and places of cultural and social aggregation.
Today we can surely see the light at the end of the tunnel and slowly, with caution, we are returning to this “normal” life. Until today, everything has been done to make the theater a safe place, so that we can return there without any health risk in order to experience those emotions that only “live” and “good” music can give us. give and nourish our soul. That’s the message that absolutely has to get through to the audience to keep people coming back, so the message is, “Theater is a safe place.”
Since you also have a degree in political science, my question is: will beauty save the world?
Beauty and culture have always been, and will always remain, the two main elements that distinguish the level of civilization and culture of any country and its people. Only by educating and initiating young people to enjoy and create a new beauty and a new culture will it be possible to make the people of this world “better”, to open the way for them to improve. and rise.
In this sense, in particular, music is the universal language that unites all the nations of this Earth without making any distinction.