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 of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry (the professional commercial recording of which won two GRAMMY Awards) and a world premiere of Don Davis’s Río de Sangre (also available in a commercial recording). 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, Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah as well as touring education operas by nationally renowned arts educator John Davies, including Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, The Billy Goats Gruff, Pinocchio (which was televised by Milwaukee Public Television in April of 2009), Jack and the Beanstalk and, most recently, The Three Little Pigs. 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 fifth year for the Florentine’s 2012-2013 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, most recently for 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 recently presented master classes for Westminster Choir College, Peabody Institute, Capital University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Lake George Opera, the Classical Singer Convention and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. 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, Fort Worth Opera’s McCammon Vocal Competition and he produced, with OPERA America, a singer Training Workshop in Milwaukee in March 2012.
Mr. Florescu has served on the Opera Review Panel and as an on-site reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts.
During the 2012-2013 season, he will judge the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in various US cities and direct a production of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring for the Florentine Opera on the 100th anniversary of Britten’s birth. He serves on the Board of Directors for OPERA America and is a charter Board Director for the Creative Alliance of Milwaukee.
Mr. Florescu currently maintains a blog, The Opera Audition, and is completing a book about auditioning in opera for young singers. He 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.