Charming beginnings: Franesco Leone

Born in Cagliari, he began his musical studies at the “Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina” Conservatory in his hometown, studying the classical guitar under the guidance of Luigi Attademo and the lyric singing and the guidance of Elisabetta Scano. He subsequently perfected his technique with Francesco Piccoli, Luciana Serra and Bernadette Manca di Nissa. In 2014, he stepped on the stage of Teatro Lirico di Cagliari in Tosca, under the baton of M° Gelmetti, in the production of Joseph Franconi Lee, but also in La Traviata, under the baton of M° Renzetti, directed by Karl Ernst and Ursel Herrmann, and many other titles. In 2016, he performed the role of Alcindoro in La Bohème at Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, where, in 2017, he also performed the role of the Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, with Leo Nucci in the title role, conducted by M° Renzetti. In the same theater, he performed the role of Antonio in Le Nozze di Figaro and the role of Jack Wallace in La Fanciulla del West. He performed Umberto in La Serva Padrona by Giovanni Paisiello in Palermo, conducted by M° Corazza, and Dottor Grenvil in La Traviata at the Amman Opera Festival in Jordan. He was the soloist of Petite Messe Solenelle at Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and performed also the roles of Haly (L’Italiana in Algeri), Norton (La Cambiale di Matrimonio) at Ente Concerti “Marialisa de Carolis” in Sassari, Colline (La Bohème) at Filarmonico in Verona. He was part of the cast of Salome at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, where he will return in La Traviata, Lucrezia Borgia and La Bohème. Returns to Teatro Lirico di Cagliari as Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and as Nonancourt in Il cappello di paglia di Firenze at Ente Marialisa de Carolis of Sassari, where he will also sing Ferrando in Il Trovatore.  Among his most recent and next appointments, we enlist Re d’Egitto in Aida at Teatro di San Carlo, Il medico in the French version of Macbeth at Teatro Regio di Parma, Grenvil in La Traviata at Teatro Comunale di Modena, Colline in La Bohème at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Ein Kappadozier in Salome at Teatro di San Carlo and Grenvil in La Traviata at Teatro di San Carlo.

Your studies as an artist are truly admirable: is there a precise moment when you realized that this was your dream job?

I am happy that you say that my studies are admirable; in my house they have a different opinion. I studied the guitar and opera singing at Cagliari Conservatory, while I was in high school and then I attended only one year of university. I started singing at 19 and delayed my singing degree by three. I realized it was my dream job when I started rehearsing in the first production. In the Conservatory, despite having a special teacher with whom I still study, the complexity of our profession can’t be touched, the same for the plurality of our physical and mental craftsmanship, which like all professions can be achieved with minimum effort and mediocre satisfaction or with great concentration on every detail and the certainty (or high probability) of not having made spectators waste the ticket money.

The Verdi Festival in Parma is a certain appointment for lovers of our Maestro di Busseto. You have had the opportunity to sing there, but I also imagine you can breathe so much Verdi repertoire in every corner… what do you think of this “Verdi carnival” so well concentrated in a single, wonderful, historic city?

There are several cities in Italy and around the world that celebrate a composer by dedicating a Festival to him. As in other monographic contexts, the Festival Verdi allows you to present the composer, in the sense – totally invented – of making him “present”, thinking about how he would take care of his works if he were still alive. What happens in Parma is neither a celebration nor an exhumation of Maestro Verdi. For the public, it is an event of the best possible quality, because they can listen to Verdi’s titles through the voice of the most expert and acclaimed singers in the world; it’s like being passionate about art and having the Mona Lisa, the Pietà and the Sistine Chapel available each day, for a summer. For artists it is a sacred appointment because the greatest difficulty encountered when you want to make your music interesting, especially for those who have been singing for many years, is to find something new at every replica, in every theatre and with every company, and the experience in Parma allows you to sing an opera title for a month and collect food for thought that is valid for at least a couple of years.

Read the entire interview here, in the 7th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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