Rosa Feola: The secret? Being constant in the study and having the luck to meet a good teacher!

Rosa Feola rose to international fame after winning the Second Prize, the Audience Prize and the Zarzuela Prize at the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition (2010). In the same year, Rosa was awarded the Premio Speciale at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi.

Her wide repertoire includes such roles as Corinna (Il viaggio a Reims), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), Gilda (Rigoletto), Norina (Don Pasquale), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Amina (La Sonnambula), Donna Fiorilla (Il Turco in Italia) and Ilia (Idomeneo). She has performed at Teatro alla Scala, Metropolitan Opera New York, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Opernhaus Zürich, Bayerische Staatsoper, Ravenna Festival, Lyric Opera Chicago, Teatro Regio di Torino, Salzburg Festival, Royal Opera House, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and many others. 

Rosa Feola was Gilda in Damiano Michieletto’s Rigoletto, conducted by Daniele Gatti, at Circo Massimo in Rome which was one of the first opera productions after the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. She also made her debut as Violetta in La Traviata, a role she prepared with legendary soprano, Renata Scotto. Rosa Feola was also one of the guest performers of La Scala’s opening gala A Riveder le Stelle, and performed alongside, Xavier Anduaga at the New Year Concert at Teatro La Fenice, under the baton of Daniel Harding – Two of the most important operatic events of this extremely challenging year!

Dear Rosa, first of all, a sincere thank you! It may seem a cliche, but it’s an honour to have you on the cover of this year’s first issue of OPERACharm Magazine. I think all of our readers will agree with me when I say that we have been mesmerised by each and every performance of yours, especially this year: From the Ravenna Festival, to Michieletto’s Rigoletto and, of course, the New Year Concert at La Fenice, so… once again thank you and congratulations!

I have already mentioned some of your 2020 highlights. Although it was a very challenging year for the entire world, mostly for those in live performance, in spite of everything, it was an important year in your career. Am I right? Before diving into your achievements, how would you describe the year that has just passed and what are you expecting of 2021? Do you think that artists will finally return to “normality” or that, at least, politicians will finally pay attention to artists’ needs?

2020 will forever be remembered as a “special” year. It was difficult, not only from a financial point of view of very little or no work, but from a personal perspective – everyone I know lost somebody – a friend, a relative… I don’t think 2020 was the best year of my career but I would like to say something “out-of-the-ordinary” … I lost many performance opportunities, as did many of my friends and colleagues, but it’s also true that 2020 gave me the possibility to re-invent myself. Unfortunately, the pandemic greatly impacted the arts and I feel very lucky for the beautiful new opportunities which have come my way.  I trust that 2021 will be the “re-start year” and I don’t mean purely from a work perspective but also from an emotional standpoint. The war is not yet over.

What kind of singer were you during the lockdown: The one who took advantage of the situation and studied even more or the type who wasn’t really motivated to open the score? How have these months of so-called silence influenced you personally and professionally? 

I was in Milan when we had the first COVID-19 positive person in Italy and I really had a shock knowing that we were going into something truly frightening… so I was silent for 4 months – I suffered a lot from what was happening around me. Then the situation improved, slightly, and Maestro Muti summoned me back to the stage – that call was the light that renewed my faith.   

Read the entire interview & many other interesting articles here, in the 1st/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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