Florentine Opera Company Board of Directors extends contract for General Director William Florescu by six years.
MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin—July 31, 2013— (photo by Jeff Zmania) The Florentine Opera Company Board of Directors has extended the contract for the company’s general director William Florescu for an additional six years of service. Under Florescu’s leadership, the company has established milestones, including: the Midwest-Premiere of a two-time Grammy Award-winning new opera; the World Premiere of a Grammy Award-winning new opera; the expansion of the Company’s repertory to include Baroque works, and works by Bellini, Blow, and revered American opera composers, bringing these genres to Milwaukee audiences for the first time; and the expansion of the Company’s community engagement to include public performances throughout the region.
Mr. Florescu accepted the proposed contract extension with the Florentine through June 30, 2019, on the heels of directing The Tales of Hoffman and presenting master classes for The Festival of International Opera of the Americas in Brazil, in addition to master classes in Novafeltria, Italy, earlier this month.
During his eight year tenure, Mr. Florescu has expanded the Florentine’s repertoire and community engagement. Under his leadership, the Company presented its 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 Elmer Gantry (two-time winner, and three-time nominee for the 2012 Grammy Awards) and a world premiere and recording on the Albany Records label of Don Davis’s Río de Sangre (a 2013 Grammy Award-winner).
Mr. Florescu has also directed Florentine 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, and Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah. In addition, Mr. Florescu has directed the Company’s touring educational operas by nationally renowned arts educator John Davies, including The Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio (televised by Milwaukee Public Television in April of 2009, and returning to the stage in 2014), and Jack and the Beanstalk. During the 2012-2013 season, Mr. Florescu directed Britten’s Albert Herring, celebrating the composers’ 100th birthday, and a reprise of Little Red’s Most Unusual Day, 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 October of 2008, Mr. Florescu oversaw the creation of the Florentine Opera Studio Artist Program, a nine-month program for young professional singers, which will begin its sixth year during the Florentine’s 2013-2014 80th Anniversary Season.
From 1999 until early 2005, William Florescu 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 Mr. Florescu’s 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 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 Lake George Opera. 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. In addition, he produced, with OperaAmerica, a singer Training Workshop in Milwaukee in March 2012.
Mr. Florescu has served on the Opera Review Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and has served as an onsite reporter for the Endowment. He serves on the Strategic Planning Committee as well as the New Works Forum for OperaAmerica (the national service organization representing North America’s professional opera companies), and in June 2012, became a member of the Board of Directors. He also serves as a member of the Board of the Creative Alliance of Greater Milwaukee. He maintains an active blog entitled The Opera Audition.
This season, he will direct both La Traviata and La Bohème for the Florentine, and oversee the company’s new @ The Center Series, community engagement initiative at the Wayne & Kristine Lueders Florentine Opera Center in Riverwest–as the company celebrates 80 years of performances in Milwaukee.
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.
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ABOUT THE FLORENTINE OPERA COMPANY
Florentine Opera Company’s productions reflect the highest musical and
theatrical standards, while supporting community and educational programs. As a
leader in Wisconsin's art community and the nation’s sixth-oldest opera
company, the Florentine Opera seeks to establish a significant presence in the
cultural, educational and civic life of the state of Wisconsin and beyond.
Audiences enjoy beautiful mainstage productions that include first-rate vocal
artistry brought to life by established and emerging international, national
and local opera stars. With a foundation of fiscal responsibility, the company
continues to grow its artistic and educational programs. Through its outreach
and in-school educational programming, the Florentine provides vital arts
education experiences for children, nurtures new audiences, and expands
cultural horizons for the next generation. The Florentine Opera is a cornerstone
member organization of the United Performing Arts Fund and receives support
from Milwaukee County CAMPAC and the Wisconsin Arts Board, with additional
support from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support from
corporations, foundations and individuals. The Florentine Opera Company is a
member of OperaAmerica.
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