Biography

Riccardo Angelo Strano, controtenore

Italian countertenor Riccardo Angelo Strano was born in Catania in 1988 and he graduated in Opera Singing at the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of The Hague (Holland) in 2012, after having began singing and hobo studies at Musical Institute “Vincenzo Bellini” in Catania.

He faced his operatic debut in 2009, at only 21 years old, in the opera Agrippina by G.F.Haendel, with the role of Nero, at the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague (Holland) and at L. Pavarotti Theater in Moderna (Italy).

Among his recent most successful debuts as audience and critic can be counted the concert at Queen Marie Antoinette Theatre for the Festival Chateau de Versailles (2016), the recital Heroes y Amantes for the “Countertenors from the World” Festival held by Oficina Leo Brower where he also was a jury member at the “Secundo Certamen   Mundial de Contratenores” (La Habana, Cuba – 2016); the concert as contralto solo in A.Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater at the National Forum of Music. in Wroclaw (Poland – 2016);  the recital at the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara in Mexico (2015) and the operatic roles performed at the Festival della Valle d’Itria of Martina Franca: Bacco / Tirsi in Bacchanali by A. Steffani (2016),  Acheloo in La lotta d’Ercole con Acheloo by A. Steffani and Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice by C.W. Gluck (2014). In March 2017 he made his debut with Auser Musici Baroque Orchestra (Carlo Ipata, conductor) with the opera Il Girello by Jacopo Melani at Teatro Verdi (Pisa, Italy) staged by Eugenio Monti Colla (Puppets Company Fratelli Colla & Figli).

He collaborated with conductors such as Alessandro De Marchi, Jonathan Webb, Hilary Griffiths, Jaroslaw Thiel,  Alevtina Ioffe, Hernan Schwartzman, Carlo Ipata, Stefano De Micheli, Francesco Cilluffo and with stage directors as Laurie Feldman, Juliette Dechamps, Rudolf Frey, Floris Visser, Eugenio Monti Colla, Chiara Muti, Benedetto Sicca, Maria Paola Viano, singing at the side of artists like Sonia Prina, Jessica Pratt, Sara Mingardo, Maria Grazia Schiavo, Giorgio Caoduro.

He has been regularly invited to perform for important auditoriums and festivals in Italy and abroad such as the Tonhalle in Zurich and the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern for the Festival der Jungen Stimmen 2014, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma (role of the Spirit in Dido and Aeneas by H.Purcell), Teatro Regio di Torino (Nireno in Giulio Cesare in Egitto by G.F.Haendel), Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival, Teatro GB Pergolesi in Jesi (The Innocent in L’Arlesiana by F. Cilea), Early Music Centre Pietà de ‘Turchini in Naples (Palemone in Gli Orti Esperidi by N.Porpora ), Teatro Massimo “V. Bellini “in Catania (Swan in Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and unique soloist in La Nona, dal caos il corpo, new contemporary production of Zappala Dance Company, replicated at the             “A. Ponchielli“ Theatre in Cremona), International Baroque Festival “Magie Barocche” (Catania), Festival Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, Grandezze&Meraviglie Festival in Modena, Ravenna Festival 2021 Dante (Sicut Umbra by L. Dallapiccola). In addition, among the sacred music repertoire, he performed Vivaldi’s Stabat Mater and Magnificat at the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw (Poland) with the Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, going so far even to Rossini’s Stabat Mater (soprano II) in Florence, directed by Paolo Ponziano Ciardi.

The intent of promoting baroque repertoire in his land, Sicily, brought him to sing for the main concerts’ associations and festivals of the isle: in 2014, with the Baroque Ensemble Les Elements, he performed in a concert tour in Catania for the Associazione Musicale Etnea, in Palermo for the Association for Early Music Antonio il Verso, in Messina for the Filarmonica Laudanum and in Trapani for Amici della Musica; with the same ensemble he debuted Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus in Catania ; in 2015 he presented a solo recital of arias written for the famous castrato Farinelli for the Società Catanese Amici della Musica in Catania obtaining a great success; for the Luglio Musicale Trapanese Opera Festival in Trapani he performed the role of Medoro in the opera Orlando G.F.Haendel (2014/2015) and the role of Ruggiero in Alcina by G.F.Haendel (2016).

In September 2016, the British label Toccata Classics released his first solo CD Francesco Nicola Fago: cantatas and arias for solo voice and continuo, a world premiere recording of vocal pieces by Nicola Fago (1677-1745) performed with the Santa Teresa dei Maschi Baroque Ensemble (Bari, Italy) and in 2015 Dynamic published in CD and DVD the opera L ‘Arlesiana by F.Cilea where he sang the role of L’Innocente (live recorded at Pergolesi-SpontiniFestival 2013 at Jesi Opera House in Italy). In 2017 Dynamic released on CD the opera Baccanali by A. Steffani (for Dynamic), where he played the title-roles of Bacco/Tirsi, live recorded at 42nd Valle d’Itria Festival in 2016.

Future releasing include the 2nd solo CD about Francesco Nicola Fago solo voice baroque cantatas, recorded again by Toccata Classics (London) and  La lotta d’Ercole con Acheloo by A. Steffani (for Bongiovanni), where he played the title-roles of Acheloo live recorded at 40th Valle d’Itria Festival in 2014.

Among the prizes obtained: II prize at the the International Baroque Singing Competition “F.Provenzale” organized by the Early Music Center Pietà de’ Turchini (Neaples, 2012); Best Singer Prize for two consecutive years at the baroque singing masterclass held by Sonia Prina, his actual teacher (Bari, Italy– 2013/2014); “Honorary distinction” at the VII International Baroque Singing Competition “Principe Francesco Maria Ruspoli” organized by the “Centro Studi Santa Giacinta Marescotti” in Vignanello (Italy, 2015); III prize at the XVIII International Competition for Opera Singers “Città di Alcamo” (Italy, 2015); Special Prize “National Forum of Music & Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra” at the 3rd International Early Music Vocal Competition “Canticum Gaudium” in Poznan (Poland, 2015). Moreover, he was a finalist at International Sacred Music Vocal Competition in Rome (2011) and at the International Baroque Singing Competition in Froville (France, 2015).

Future engagements include: role of Nerone in C.Monteverdi opera Incoronation of Poppea at Aachen Opera House in Germany (September the 24thh 2017 – October the 5th, 14th, 18th  2017 – November the 17th  2017 – December the 30th 2017 – January  the 19th 2018); La Nona, dal caos il corpo at Bologna Opera House (Italy – September the 28th, 29th, 30th 2017), at Shaanxi Grand Theater in Xi’an (China, October the 7th and 8th 2017) and at L.A.C. Theater in Lugano (Switzerland – Lugano In Scena Festival, February the 24th 2018); roles of Mustafà and Vendetta in the opera Il Girello by Jacopo Melani at Verdi Opera House in Pisa (Italy, December the 3rd 2017); role of the Scriba in the oratorio Il Terremoto by Antonio Draghi, in France at Versailles Chapelle Royale (March the 28th 2018) and at Chapelle Corneille in Rouen (April the 7th 2018); solo recital at Chateau de Versailles Festival (France, June the 10th 2018); role of Cleopatra in the serenata for two voices Marco Antonio e Cleopatra by Johann Adolf Hasse at Ekhof Theater in Gotha (Germany – June the 29th and 30th 2018 – July the 6th, 7th, 13th,14th, 20th, 21st, 22nd 2018 – August the 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th 2018).