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Rising Stars Angelini hdl 1015
Angelini takes great pleasure in his frequent appearances in Italy. “There are many corners of that country,” he says, “that I know very well.”
© Rebecca Fay

D azzling flexibility and rapid-fire coloratura have always been basic requirements for Rossini tenors. MICHELE ANGELINI, thirty-two, has all of that, plus a warm, inviting timbre that compels close listening. He has more than just a voice; he also has the precise musicianship of a highly skilled instrumentalist — which, as it happens, he is. As a student at Ohio State University, he pursued both voice and bassoon. “I do miss the bassoon,” he says. “But when I started dipping my toe into opera, I couldn’t quite envision myself as a bassoonist, sitting in the same chair on the same stage, night after night. I sort of knew that I needed to have a bit of fluidity in my existence.”

As a young singer, Angelini always had a solid upper extension and never went through a period when he had trouble producing sound; he didn’t have much in the way of low notes, and he worked on developing what he calls his “soft” middle, but the bloom on top was always there. “Early on, I had an extreme falsetto, all the way up to a soprano E,” he says. “I used to sing the Queen of the Night up a half-step. Never quite had an F. I used Zerbinetta as a regular warm-up!” Now, he performs the great florid roles at major theaters around the world. This fall, he’s performing the 1774 Paris version of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, under John Eliot Gardiner, at London’s Royal Opera and at Versailles.

While he’s on the road, Angelini is usually in the middle of three or four books at once. Recently,
he did himself the favor of reading Dante’s complete Divine Comedy in Italian. “I’m by no means an expert,” he says, “but as English-speakers, we go back to Shakespeare to see how he contributed to our modern language. But we don’t always see how Dante, 300 years before Shakespeare, contributed to our language. I love immersing myself in that medieval poetry.”

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