9 May 2006

Gianna Rolandi Named as New Lyric Opera Center for American Artists Director

Rolandi
© Steve Leonard 2006
Gianna Rolandi has been named as the new director of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, Lyric Opera of Chicago's young artists training program, where she will succeed Richard Pearlman, who passed away on April 8 after serving for more than a decade as the program's director.

Rolandi, who worked closely with Pearlman following her appointment as the Opera Center's director of vocal studies in May 2002, has been serving as acting director of the program since Pearlman's death.

"I am thrilled to accept the position of director of the Opera Center," Rolandi said in a press release issued by the company today. "It brings me great joy to continue the legacy of my dear colleague Richard Pearlman, and it is a privilege to play a part in helping these tremendously talented young singers realize their dreams."

"Gianna has been with us as director of vocal studies for the past four years - no one understands the program and how it functions better than she does," William Mason, Lyric's general director, is quoted as saying. "She brings her personal experience as a singer to the program, and has proven herself to be a superb teacher. Many of the young singers she has worked with have already launched distinguished careers."

Per Rolandi's appointment, her previous duties as director of vocal studies will be incorporated into her new role. The position of director of vocal studies being made obsolete.

As director of the LOCAA, Rolandi will oversee all aspects of the center's activities and operations, the company reports, including traveling to preliminary and final auditions; overseeing each artist's vocal and artistic development; selecting guest teachers and resident faculty for the program's curriculum; planning concert engagements and recitals for the artists in residence; and working closely with the Lyric's administration to cast LOCAA members for the company's mainstage season. In addition, Rolandi will oversee the artistic components of the company's two major educational outreach programs, "Opera in the Neighborhoods," and "Meet the Artists."

Founded in 1973, the LOCAA selects a dozen young singers - out of some 500 applicants - to participate in the program each year. Those selected are given coaching sessions, master classes, and performance and understudy experience in Lyric Opera of Chicago productions.

Rolandi, prior to working as an administrator, led a successful career as a coloratura soprano during the 1980s and early-'90s, singing extensively at New York City Opera, where she took part in productions including Tales of Hoffmann, Ariadne auf Naxos, I Puritani, La Traviata, Rigoletto and Giulio Cesare, as well as singing in Live from Lincoln Center telecasts of the company's Lucia di Lammermoor and The Cunning Little Vixen. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Sophie in the company's 1979 performances of Der Rosenkavalier, and went on to sing Olympia and Zerbinetta at the Met, as well as the title role in the company's 1984 performances of Le Rossignol, part of its Stravinsky triple-bill. She formally retired from the stage after 1993-94 Lyric Opera of Chicago Despinas.

More information can be found at the Lyric Opera Center for American Arists, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Opera News Archives.

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