with Francesca Chiejina (soprano)
accompanied by Natalie Burch
Italian conductor Renato Balsadonna was Chorus Director of the Royal Opera Chorus 2004–16, during which time he prepared the Royal Opera Chorus for all their productions with The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet. This morning, he joins American soprano Francesca Chiejina who participated on the Jette Parker Young Artist’s Programme in 2016 and sang solo roles in Rigoletto and Macbeth. She will lead Renato in discussion about his time at ROH under Antonio Pappano and explore how his international career as a conductor has evolved with appearances across Europe and multiple recordings.
In addition to his positions as Chorus Director of the Royal Opera Chorus, Renato Balsadonna conducted I due Foscari and Nabucco on the main stage and was second conductor in The Minotaur. He conducted the Chorus at the 2012 ‘Our Extraordinary World’ gala in celebration of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and has led the Chorus in choral concerts at St Paul’s Covent Garden, in the Paul Hamlyn Hall and for Insight evenings with the Royal Opera House’s Learning and Participation Department. Since leaving the Royal Opera House he has returned to conduct Madama Butterfly.
Balsadonna was born in Venice and studied philosophy, piano and composition. He worked as a répétiteur in Italy before becoming Assistant Chorus Master in Basle and later at La Monnaie, Brussels. He was appointed Chorus Director at La Monnaie in 1997 under Antonio Pappano and later joined Pappano with The Royal Opera.
Balsadonna’s engagements away from the Royal Opera House have included conducting Don Quichotte for Grange Park Opera and Tosca for Opéra de Nice, assisting Norbert Balatsch at the Bayreuth Festival, and appearances as a guest conductor with Frankfurt Opera Chorus, BBC Singers, Netherlands Radio Choir, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Chorus and the Grant Park Festival Chorus, Chicago. He has participated in numerous recordings for EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics, Opera Rara and Chandos. Balsadonna regularly conducts the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
American soprano Francesca Chiejina studied at the University of Michigan with Martha Sheil and James Paterson, and later at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Sue McCulloch. She has participated in masterclasses with Martin Katz, Kamal Khan, Gianna Rolandi, Joyce DiDonato, Brigitte Fassbänder, Edith Wiens and Felicity Lott.
She was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme at Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House, 2016–18. Francesca’s roles at the Royal Opera House included Countess Ceprano/Rigoletto, Melantho/Ulysses, and Lady-in-Waiting/Macbeth. She has also recently appeared at the Last Night of the BBC Proms in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music. This season will see her make her debut with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal as Serena in Porgy and Bess.
Duration: approx. 2 hours
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