WVU School of Music alumnus and internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti will return to the Creative Arts Center as a visiting artist during April 21-22 where he will work with music students.
He will present a master class for voice students on Monday, April 21, and will work individually with music students on Tuesday, April 22.
A native of Clinton, N.J., Valenti earned a bachelor’s degree in music from WVU in 2000. He studied with former music professor and artist-in-residence, Augusto Paglialunga, as well as Opera Program Director Robert Thieme, and former choral director Kathleen Shannon. They were the first to notice the young singer’s raw talent.
Valenti experienced exceptional growth artistically and culturally while at the Creative Arts Center, going from a fresh-faced 18-year-old attending his first opera in Pittsburgh on a WVU trip, to auditioning for national opera apprenticeships upon graduation. He went on to study with William Shuman at the distinguished Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
At age 25, he made his professional debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma where he played Rodolfo in the Franco Zeffirelli production of “La Bohême.” Since his debut, he has scored one triumphal role after another and has had the opportunity to perform in many of the most celebrated citadels of opera in the world and to work alongside some of the greatest opera voices and maestros in the industry.
Valenti has received a number of accolades in his young career including the prestigious Metropolitan Opera National Council Audition Grand Finals, where many of today’s opera luminaries have been discovered as promising young artists, the New York City Opera’s Outstanding Debut Artist Award in 2008, the Maria Callas Debut Artist Award in 2009, and the Richard Tucker Award in 2010, which is considered the “Heisman Trophy of Opera.”
Currently, Valenti is expanding his musical repertoire and preparing for a number of exciting roles in 2014. In March, he made his debut as Italian film star Rudolph Valentino in the new biographical opera, “Dream of Valentino.” He is also scheduled to perform as Cavaradossi in “Tosca,” Don Jose in “Carmen.”
In early April, he will make his triumphant return to the Metropolitan Opera to perform as Pinkerton in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.”
A group of 35 friends of the College of Creative Arts, along with Dean Paul Kreider, will attend one of these performances in New York on April 12. While there, they will have a private back-stage tour and behind-the-scenes overview of the Metropolitan Opera House. Following the performance, they will celebrate during a private reception with Valenti, where Dean Kreider will present him with the College of Creative Arts’ Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2014.
For more information see Valenti’s website.