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Italy, the USA, and the universal value of opera in conversation at Villa Firenze with the Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera, Francesca Zambello.

Date:

12/13/2022


Italy, the USA, and the universal value of opera in conversation at Villa Firenze with the Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera, Francesca Zambello.

Washington, DC (December 13, 2022) – Villa Firenze, residence of the Ambassador of Italy in Washington, hosted a conversation yesterday with Francesca Zambello, Artistic Director of the Washington National Opera and a leading figure in the Italian and international music scene. Author and professor Antonio Monda interviewed her.

“Francesca Zambello is appreciated not only for the quality of her productions, but also for her commitment to the promotion of young talents, as well as for her attention to diversity and her support for women,” said Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, introducing the Director. “Through the narrative power of her productions and her music, she is able to address complex issues and involve an audience of all ages. Her work provides an important contribution to the promotion of Italian musical and operatic heritage in the world and also stands as a cultural bridge between Italy and the United States.”

In addition to recalling her family’s Italian origins, Francesca Zambello stressed the importance of Italy as opera’s cradle: “Opera was born in Italy and many Italians have worked to share it with the world and to launch opera houses in America, such as in San Francisco or Chicago.” Italy was also the source of the first opportunities the acclaimed Artistic Director of the WNO had in pursuing a career in theatre: “It wasn’t easy to build a career in the world of culture, especially in leadership roles. I owe a lot to Italy, where I held many of my first positions.” Francesca Zambello - awarded the title of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy in 2020 with a ceremony held at Villa Firenze - also stressed how the Washington National Opera is at the forefront of the US landscape in terms of diversity and female presence in leadership, artistic, and craft roles: It can be said, she noted, that Washington’s opera “reflects society, the America of today.” The Director focused on opera’s universality, also recalling her sources of inspiration, her teacher Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the challenges connected with artistic direction, and the opportunities technology offers. She spoke of the difficulty of bringing the audience back to the theaters after the pandemic and of efforts to attract a young audience, even with reduced prices.

Francesca Zambello has collaborated with numerous opera houses around the world, including La Scala, the Met, the Paris Opera, the Munich Opera, the Bolshoi, and the Covent Garden Opera, and has made several cinematic works for the BBC, Sony, and PBS.


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