Born in the state of Sucre, Venezuela, he began his musical studies at the Conservatorio de Musica Federico Villena de Maracay. He was latter admitted to the singing professorship at the Universidad Experimental de las Artes UNEARTE. In 2006 he was selected to be part of the bass section of the National Choir Simon Bolivar of Venezuela, obtaining the position of lead of the bass and baritone section. He received most of his musical training thanks to EL SISTEMA, a musical program founded by Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu in which more than 1,000,000 low-income children and young people have been benefited by receiving musical training of the highest level. Within EL SISTEMA, Jesus has had the opportunity to participate in various master classes with teachers such as: Mirella Freni, Vittorio Terranova, Bernhard Kerres (former director of the Vienna Opera Theater) Gerald Wird, director of the Vienna Boys Choir among others. In 2015, motivated by his passion to learn the profession of stage manager, he became assistant to Maestro Marco Gandini for the staging of the opera La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini at the Teatro alla Scala, since then he has worked hand in hand with Maestro Gandini in operas such as: Carmen by George Bizet, L’italiana in Algeri by Gioacchino Rossini, Idomeneo by W. A Mozart, Mosè in Egitto by Gioacchino Rossini, Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini and I Capuleti e i Montecchi by Vincenzo Bellini.
Dear Jesus, thank you for accepting our accepting our invitation. It’s a pleasure. The semester just ended and you had your last exams. It’s the first “normal” semester after the pandemic situation. How was it? How are the exams at the Academy of Teatro alla Scala? What is the most interesting thing that you learned this semester?
Hello! First of all I want to thank OCM for giving me a space to talk about my experience. It has indeed been a very hard semester since at the beginning there were still so many restrictions… luckily they were finally revoked and this gave us students a little more freedom, especially regarding the human relationships that are so important in the world of theater. The final exam? I must say that it wasn’t easy since it involved a scenario in which I had to replace the stage manager and gather all the essential information from an opera video. It was very complex but I can proudly say that I had the knowledge to pass it. In fact, attending the first year of this course (which is also the first in Italy dedicated to the training of stage managers!), was quite experimental… but of course it still maintained the levels of excellence of an academy of the highest level as is the Academy of the Teatro alla Scala! The main idea was to give the students all the necessary knowledge to fill a role that for years has been “taught” by “throwing people into the ring”: the teachers’ goal was to create a method and I think they succeeded.
Speaking of the Academy, tell us about your experience and what exactly you do there. How did you decide to apply? How did the admissions process went?
The admission process was in two steps: the first one was a written test, and only the candidates that passed it had a motivational interview with the stage manager team of the Teatro alla Scala and the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. In order to go through it successfully you have to have a clear idea of what you want, that’s the secret! The most interesting thing I have learned, without any doubt, is to structure an Opera, to have the complete knowledge of it and above all to have absolute control of the time and to be precise. Being accurate makes you reliable, and a stage manager must be reliable. From a personal point of view, I can say that they exceeded my expectations… I had the privilege to learn from the greatest stage managers of the Italian Theater! In fact, I have been working for a long time as “assistente alla regia”. I didn’t really know the job of Stage Manager: I learned about it while being a student of the academy and I can say that I immediately fell in love. It was fate! I saw on the website of the academy that they had opened applications for this new course and I decided to apply. The process was quite exhausting, at least for me, since I grew up in a country where opera is not such an important part of the culture as it is in Italy. I had to prepare myself for almost two months by reading books about theater history, ballet, prose, stagecraft… at the end it was all worth it and I was admitted!
Read the entire interview here, in the 5th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.0