Americans at the Rossini Opera Festival
While there are many Americans in the Pesaro audience showing their love of Rossini, a few make it on to the stage too. The list of Americans who have performed is an illustrious one.
Renee Fleming, perhaps better known for her work in operas by Strauss and Mozart, is remembered fondly by people who were lucky enough to see her Armida in 1993. This was an important event for the young singer who had just recently won the Richard Tucker award. The recording of that performance resulted in her first CD. It received wide acclaim.
Samuel Ramey made his debut as Mustafa in L’Italina in Algeri in 1981. Rockwell Blake made his as “Le Comte Ory” in 1982. Chris Merritt’s was Maometto II in 1985. June Anderson first delighted Pesaro audiences as Desdemona in Otello in 1988. All subsequently performed many times.
Ramey, Blake, Merritt, and Andeson, along with Marilyn Horne, are the Americans on the Honorary Board of the Friends of the Rossini Opera Festival.
Elizabeth Futral was in the historic revival of Matilde di Shabran in 1996. Ruth Ann Swenson was Pamyra in Le Siege de Corinthe in 2000. Joyce DiDonato appeared in the Rossini rarity, Adina, in 2003, returning in 2005 to partner with Juan Diego Flórez in Il barbiere di Sivilglia.
Susanne Mentzer appeared as Isolier in Le Comte Ory in 1986. Bruce Ford sang with June Anderson in the historic Ricciardo e Zoride in 1990. Gregory Kunde made his first Festival appearance as Idreno in Semiramide in 1992. Jennifer Larmore appeared in L’Italian in Algeri in 1994.
Lawrence Brownlee sang Prince Ramiro in La Cenerentola in 2010, a role in which he was familiar to many American’s because of the HD broadcast of this opera by the Metropolitan Opera.
Michael Spyres debuted in 2012 in Ciro in Babylonia and he will be returning in 2014 in Aureliano in Palmyra. Amanda Forsythe, a 2007 graduate of the Accademia Rossiniana, appeared in the 2103 ROF production of William Tell in the role of Jemmy.