Cuban-American soprano MONICA CONESA is making a name for herself in the world of opera. The young soprano will also appear in the title role of La Gioconda in the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona in October 2022. Ms. Conesa was awarded the first prize in the Premio Fausto Ricci Competition in which Maestro Jose Carreras was present as the president of the jury. During the pandemic, a time where the world was paralyzed, Miss Conesa sought the opportunity to commit to her artistry and craft. Cultivating her love for bel-canto, she worked every day under the tutelage and mentorship of Wagnerian tenor Mauricio Trejo and joined the International School of the Voice under the direction of Elizabeth de Trejo and Mauricio Trejo. Through the school, Monica had a curated development program which included the tutelage and guidance of Maestro Francisco Araiza at the European Music Institute in Vienna. Soon after, she particpated in L’academia Nazionale di Belcanto in Castelvetro di Modena where she sang the role of Santuzza as part of her training. Monica ended that summer of 2021 by attending the International School of the Voice at the Mozarteum in Salzburg where she was awarded the “Artista del Colegamento Eve Queler Award” for her commitment to the tradition of bel-canto, her admiration for the artists that precede her, and her dedication to the excellency in contemporary aesthetic demands.
Dear Monica, thank you for accepting our invitation. It’s a pleasure to chat with you. You made your worldwide operatic debut at Arena di Verona in the title role of Aida under the direction of M° Marco Armiliato. How did you feel to make your debut on the stage of the biggest open air theater in the world? How was your festival experience?
Thank you for inviting me to share my experience with you. The pleasure is is mine. It was the greatest honor and an understatement to say it was a dream come true. The Arena di Verona has heard some of the greatest performances and voices in the history of opera. I was humbled to be chosen to debut with Aida, a role so famous at the Arena and so intimate to not just to Italy, but especially the Veronese. Walking out onto that stage was surreal. When you stand on that stage of L’Arena, you cannot help but notice that your ceiling are the stars. That night, the audience welcomed me so incredibly warmly and emphatically, it was hard to believe that everything was really happening to me. It was through watching the work of Maestro Armiliato as a young girl, that I was inspired to pursue a career in opera. To see him before me in the pit was the most exciting gift to my journey as an opera singer. There were and are so many emotions I felt and still feel about my debut, but all of them culminate in tears of joy and absolute bliss. I am so grateful to the Fondazione Arena di Verona. From the very first rehearsal I was welcomed into a very professional but familial environment that encouraged excellence. I felt supported by the staff and my colleague.s I am proud to say that the Aida I sang in the first rehearsals in May had evolved into a new work of art by the last performance in September. I’ll never forget my time this summer and am eternally grateful.
In October 2022 you will appear in the title role of La Gioconda at the Teatro Filarmonico di Verona. These roles, including Aida, are usually approached after a certain age. How did you get the courage to approach them? Who is your trusted person when it comes to choosing your next debut?
I always like to reference and learn from the artists of the past, particularly those that performed when the composers were alive or that have one or two generations of separation. If you look at the history of opera, the roles were not assigned on an age basis, but received within the faculties and abilities of the artists of that time and how accomplished they could be at full-filling the requirements of the particular piece. For example, Rosa Ponselle’s debut was La Forza del Destino at the Metropolitan Opera alongside Enrico Caruso at age 21, where she had no previous operatic experience. Another example is Madame Callas who had her famous debut at the Arena di Verona in La Gioconda at the age of 24. The courage that I have is drawn from the inspiration and profound respect that I have for all of these artists. The people that carefully guide my career steps are my managers, my teacher and singer- artists that I respect and have worked at the highest level, such as Maestro Francisco Araiza and Cecilia Gasdia, Sovrintendente della Fondazione Arena di Verona. I am profoundly grateful to have a team that is united by a respect and love for the art-form and a common interest in my longevity and vocal health.
Read the entire interview here, in the 7th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.0