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 the main roles debuted recently and in the past years we must mention Nerone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea by C.Monteverdi at Theater Aachen (Germany – 2017/2018), Lo Scriba in the oratorio Il Terremoto by A. Draghi, at Chapelle Royale of Versailles and at Chapelle Corneille of Rouen ((France, 2018) with the ensemble Le Pohème Harmonique (Vincent Dumestre, conductor), Il Giovane / Voce Lontana in Superflumina by S.Sciarrino at Teatro Massimo in Palermo (Italy, 2017), Mustafà / Vendetta in Il Girello by J.Melani, with baroque orchestra Auser Musici (Carlo Ipata, conductor) for Teatro Verdi in Pisa (Italy, 2017), the Stabat Mater by A.Vivaldi at the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw with the Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra (Jaroslaw Thiel, conductor – Poland, 2016), Ruggiero in Alcina by G.F.Händel (2016) and Medoro in Orlando by GFHändel (Italy, 2014/2015) both for the Luglio Musicale Trapanese, the Swan in Carmina Burana by C.Orff at Teatro Massimo “V. Bellini” in Catania (Italy, 2015), Nireno in Giulio Cesare in Egitto by G.F.Händel at Teatro Regio in Turin (Alessandro de Marchi, conductor – Italy, 2014), Bacco / Tirsi in Baccanali by A. Steffani (2016), Acheloo in La lotta d’Ercole con Acheloo by A. Steffani (2014) and Orfeo in Orfeo e Euridice by C.W. Gluck (2014), all three roles played at Martina Franca’s Valle d’Itria Festival (Italy), the Spirit in Dido and Aeneas by H.Purcell at Teatro dell ‘Opera in Rome (Johnathan Webb, conductor – Italy, 2013), L’ Innocente in L ‘Arlesiana by F. Cilea for Pergolesi-Spontini  Festival at Teatro G.B. Pergolesi in Jesi (Francesco Cilluffo, conductor – Italy, 2013), Palemone in Gli Orti Esperidi by N.Porpora for Early Music Center Pietà de ‘Turchini in Naples (Stefano Demicheli, conductor – Italy, 2013).

His interest in period performances led him to work with directors specialized in baroque gestures such as Sigrid T’Hooft, Benjamin Lazar and Milo Pablo Momm.

He was also invited to perform in concerts for several Festivals all over the world such as Chateau de Versailles Festival with the ensemble Les Nouveaux Caractères (Sébastien d’Hérin,  conductor – France, 2016); Countertenors from the World Festival in La Habana promoted by Leo Brower, where he also held a masterclass and was a jury member at the Secundo Certamen Mundial de Contratenores (Cuba, 2016), presenting the recital Héroes y Amantes; Martes de Musica y Opera Festival at Degollado Theater in Guadalajara (Mexico, 2015) with the Baroque Kings recital; Festival der Jungen Stimmen (Switzerland, 2014) which allowed him to make his debut at the Tonhalle in Zurich and at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern; Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival (Denmark, 2013); Val di Noto International Festival Magie Barocche (Italy, 2017); Oude Kerk Festival in Amsterdam (Holland, 2010); Dante 2021 Festival where he performed Sicut Umbra by L. Dallapiccola (Italy,2012).

In addition, he extends the sacred repertoire to compositions such as G. Rossini’s Stabat Mater (soprano II), performed in Florence in 2012, invited by a L. Cherubini Conservatory of Music’s production.

In 2015 he began a collaboration, as a solo singer, with the famous contemporary dance company “Compagnia Zappalà Danza” (Roberto Zappalà, choreographer) with which he debuted the show La Nona, dal caos il corpo at Teatro Massimo V. Bellini in Catania (Italy, 2015), replicated at A. Ponchielli Theatre in Cremona (Italy, 2016), at Teatro Comunale in Bologna (Italy, 2017), at Shaanxi Grand Opera Theater in Xi’an (China, 2017) and at LAC Theater in Lugano (Switzerland, 2018).

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 Associazione Musicale Etnea, in Palermo for  Early Music Association Antonio il Verso, in Messina for Filarmonica Laudanum society and in Trapani for Amici della Musica; with the same ensemble he debuted Vivaldi’s Nisi Dominus in Catania. Moreover in 2015 he presented a solo recital of arias written for the famous castrato Farinelli for Società Catanese Amici della Musica in Catania obtaining a great success.

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 in 2017, recorded again by Toccata Classics (London) and  La lotta d’Ercole con Acheloo by A. Steffani (for Bongiovanni, date to be scheduled), where he played the title-roles of Acheloo live recorded at 40th Valle d’Itria Festival in 2014.  In 2018 he’ll record for Farelive (Italy) a new project called #C.I.P. , Counter Irish Project, a solo recital of traditional Irish folk song, for solo voice and classic guitar. 

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 Apollo in the opera Parnasso in Festa by G.F. Haendel at Schlosstheater in Fulda and at Halle Haendel Festspiele (Germany – April the 28th and May the 26th, 27th and 28th 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); Schubert Lieder recital in Bolzano, for BolzanoDanza Festival with Compagnia Zappalà Danza (LiederDuett project – Luca Ballerini, piano and Roberto Zappalà, choreographer – Italy, July the 18th ); role of Lo Scriba in the oratiorio Il Terremoto by A.Draghi for Sablé sur Sarthe baroque festival (France – August the 22nd 2018); role of Hippolito in H.Purcell/Shakespeare pasticcio The Enchanted Island at Theater an Der Wien – Kammeroper ( Austria – September the 29th – October the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 17th, 19th 2018); role of Nireno in the opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto by G.F. Haendel at Dresden Semperoper (Germany – April the 13th, 18th and 21st 2019).