General Director, Florentine Opera Company
William Florescu became the General Director of Milwaukee’s Florentine Opera Company in May of 2005. During his tenure, he has overseen the expansion of the Company’s repertoire, producing works including the Florentine’s first Bellini opera (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), first Baroque opera (Handel’s Semele), the Midwest premiere and recording on the Naxos label of Aldridge’s (2 Grammy Award-winning) Elmer Gantry and a world premiere of Don Davis’s Río de Sangre (October 2010). The Florentine production of Rio was also released commercially on the Albany Records label, and won a 2013 Grammy. He has also directed main stage operas including The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, Rigoletto, a double bill of Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Susannah – as well as touring education operas by nationally renowned arts educator John Davies, including Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, The Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio (which was televised by Milwaukee Public Television in April of 2009), Jack and the Beanstalk and The Billy Goats Gruff. In October of 2008, Mr. Florescu oversaw the creation of the Florentine Opera Studio, a nine-month program for young professional singers, which is in its seventh year for the Florentine’s 2014-2015 season.
From 1999 until early 2005, he was the General Director of Lake George Opera (now Opera Saratoga) in Saratoga Springs, New York. Previously, he served as General Director of the Columbus Light Opera. While in Ohio, he was also Associate Dean and Director of Opera/Musical Theatre at the Capital University Conservatory of Music, and served a season as Assistant Artistic Director for Iowa’s Dorian Opera Theatre.
Opera audiences around the country have seen his work as a stage director, including Augusta Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus and Opera Birmingham. On the operatic stage, he has appeared in leading and supporting roles with Opera Columbus, Columbus Light Opera, Iowa’s Dorian Opera, Toledo Opera, National Opera Company and the Whitewater Opera, among others. On the concert stage, he has sung with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, the Indianapolis Summer Pops and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
He has presented master classes for Westminster Choir College, Peabody Institute, Capital University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Opera Saratoga. He is also a frequent judge of vocal competitions, most recently for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, The Eastman School of Music, The Montreal International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition, and Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Vocal Competition.
Mr. Florescu has served on the Opera Review Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and has served as an on site reporter for the Endowment. He serves as an officer on the Board of Directors of Opera America, as well as their Strategic Planning Committee and New Works Forum.
During the past two seasons, he directed a new production of Britten’s Albert Herring (2013), celebrating the composers’ 100th birthday for the Florentine, judged both the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition and the Metropolitan Opera regional Auditions in St. Louis, and presented Master Classes at Rutgers University in New Jersey. In July 2013, he directed The Tales of Hoffman for The Festival of International Opera of the Americas in Brazil, and presented masterclasses in Novafeltria, Italy. He directed both La Traviata (2013) and La Bohème (2014) for the Florentine Opera, as well as Candide (2014) for the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and will continue to serve as judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in various cities. He also maintains an active blog, The Opera Audition.
In addition to directing the world premiere of Goldie B. Locks and the Three Singing Bears and L’Elisir d’Amore for the Florentine this season, he has judged the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Shreveport Singer of the Year Competition, the Schmidt Vocal Competition in Indianapolis, and presented masterclasses for the Classical Singer Convention in Chicago. This spring he also taught The Business of Opera Course for New Jersey’s Rutgers University via Skype in an innovative pilot program.
Mr. Florescu received his training at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Trinity College of Music in London, England, Miami University and the Ohio State University.