American tenor James Valenti has been hailed for having a voice of Italianate beauty, for his handsome stage presence, ardent singing and for his elegant musicianship in performances with the leading opera companies of the world. His repertoire encompasses the romantic leading roles of both Italian and French repertoire. Considered one of his generation’s brightest rising stars, Valenti received the prestigious Richard Tucker Award in April 2010, recognizing an American singer poised on the edge of international stardom.
The announcement of the award coincided with Valenti’s auspicious debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Alfredo in the Zeffirelli production of La traviata opposite Angela Gheorghiu and Thomas Hampson. He also sang Alfredo for his Royal Opera debut at Covent Garden. Of these debuts The New York Times noted the 6’ 5” tenor’s “dashing presence and virile voice” and London’s Observer called his Alfredo “glorious.”
James Valenti opens the 2013-2014 season with his debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago where he will perform his critically acclaimed portrayal of Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. He then makes his return to the Metropolitan Opera House to perform as Pinkerton in the Anthony Minghella production of Madama Butterfly. Mr. Valenti will also be seen in the title role of Rudolph Valentino in Minnesota Opera’s new production of Dominick Argento’s The Dream of Valentino as well as Don Carlo at Austin Lyric Opera.
The 2012 - 2013 season commenced with a return to the role of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor for his debut at the Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia, where press raved, “James Valenti’s tenor is like honey, while being as commanding as his physical stature. His, too, was a flawless performance, distinguished by theatrical capability and a voice as firm and handsome as his chiselled, chesty Bond visage.” His schedule continued with several concert performances across the globe and a debut at the Opernhaus Zürich as B.F. Pinkerton.
During the 2011-12 season Valenti reprised his role as Alfredo in La Traviata at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, opposite the Violetta of Marina Poplavskaya, with whom he made his Bavarian State Opera debut in the same role. Other season highlights included the title role of Werther with Minnesota Opera, Pinkerton with Palm Beach Opera, and Alfredo in a return to Dallas Opera. Concert engagements include appearances at the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, the Venetian Ball in Toronto and a New Year’s Eve Gala with Vasily Petrenko in St. Petersburg Russia. The American tenor appears as a guest artist on Angela Gheorghiu’s fall 2011 EMI Classics recording.
Among major highlights of 2010/11 Valenti traveled to Japan with the Royal Opera’s production of La Traviata, opposite Anna Netrebko and Simon Keenlyside under the direction of Antonio Pappano, and returned to Covent Garden as Lt. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (conducted by Andris Nelsons). The production was filmed in 3D and distributed to theaters worldwide and released on DVD. He made his debut at the Paris Opera Bastille as Pinkerton, and was the honoree at the Richard Tucker Foundation Gala at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. He also sang Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur in Washington DC, and portrayed the Duke in Rigoletto in Michigan and Dallas.
Valenti was named Dallas Opera’s 2009 Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year, recognizing his outstanding debut in La bohème. He also sang Rodolfo in Japan under Myung-Whun Chung, gave his first performances of the Verdi Requiem in Bergen, Norway, debuted at the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Alfredo, and sang Mercadante’s rarely heard Il Giuramento in his Washington Concert Opera debut under Antony Walker. Additionally in 2009/10 he portrayed the Duke in Florence, performed Massenet’s Werther for the first time with Opera National de Lyon in Tokyo, sang a gala concert at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, portrayed Rodolfo in Minnesota and Santander, Spain, and Pinkerton in Vancouver.
Valenti made his debut in 2009 at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala as Rodolfo under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. He has sung this role at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste, Dresden’s Semperoper, New York City Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and for his professional debut in 2003 at the Teatro dell’Opera, Rome. He has portrayed Pinkerton at San Francisco Opera, the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa (conducted by Daniel Oren and directed by Renata Scotto), New York City Opera (including an Emmy Award-winning PBS telecast), the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival (under James Conlon), the Opéra de Marseille, Michigan Opera Theater and Palm Beach Opera. His Salzburg Festival debut was as Alfredo in a new Willy Decker production of La traviata opposite Anna Netrebko and Thomas Hampson, conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Other performances of this signature role have been presented at the Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels, the Canadian Opera Company, the Hamburg Staatsoper, and the Teatro Comunale in Bologna (under Daniele Gatti). Valenti has sung Faust in Trieste and North Carolina, Roméo with Minnesota Opera, and Nemorino in Hamburg. His repertoire extends to Bernstein’s Candide (Genoa), and he has also given a recital for the Rosenblatt Series at St. John’s Smith Square in London.
James Valenti studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. In addition to the 2010 Richard Tucker Award, he is the recipient many other awards, including the 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2002 Licia Albanese-Puccini, 2003 Opera Index, 2003 Mario Lanza, 2004 Violetta Du Pont/Opera Florham, 2004 George London Foundation, 2004 Loren Zachary, and 2004 Caruso International voice competitions. He has received grants from the Singer’s Development Foundation, Sergio Franchi Music Foundation and the Sullivan Foundation. He has performed on German and Austrian national television, in Italy on RAI’s Prima della Prima and in the USA Live from Lincoln Center. Valenti resides in West Palm Beach, Florida.