Italian Conductor Speranza Scappucci debut in Los Angeles

Photo: Speranza Scappucci conducting ©Silvia Lelli

How has the dynamic and talented Speranza Scappucci become one of the rising stars in conducting opera? What are some of the secrets to her success in a career that is predominantly populated by men? How is she applying her diverse international experience to her upcoming West Coast debut in Los Angeles as the conductor of the for the LA Opera production of La bohème ? We learned the answers to these questions during a recent interview.

Speranza's current success as a conductor is derived, in part, from an impressive lineup of engagements as a pianist, repetiteur, and Assistant Conductor.

Her stellar career got off to a great start: she is a graduate of the Juilliard School and the Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia in Rome. She credits her success, in part, to her parent's vision in educating her abroad when she was very young.

That foundation served her well in her appearances as a repetiteur/Assistant Conductor at some of the world's top international houses and with many great conductors : Riccardo Muti (8 years as pianist and repetiteur), James Levine, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta at such major venues as the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera New York, Chicago Lyric Opera, Teatro dell´Opera di Roma, Salzburg Festival, Salzburg Whitsun Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and New York City opera.

Speranza Scappucci: After a few years...I realized that while I was coaching or working for other conductors I felt this urge to voice my own ideas. The way I was playing the piano, lots of singers told me: you lead from the piano and I think you could really conduct. So, I took courage and decided to go for it.

She made her conducting debut at the Yale Opera with Cosi Fan Tutte followed by a very successful production of I Capuleti e Montecchi. Since then, she has had a fabulous trajectory as a conductor with recent debuts at the Teatro Regio in Torino, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, along with her planned debut at the Vienna State Opera later this year.

Apart from her many professional successes, she has increasingly been gaining recognition as one of the more successful women professionals on the world stage, as evidenced by a recent mention on the occasion of International Women's Day in Italian Cosmopolitan.

Speranza Scappucci: When we step onto the podium we are musicians. Whether we are women or men, musicians have their own sensitivity and sensibility as musicians.

Speranza is a very warm, intelligent, yet unassuming artist. She very graciously agreed to share her thoughts on a variety of subjects during the rehearsals prior to the upcoming production of La bohème in Los Angeles. She is enjoying the opportunity to work with the artists on this production, taking a fresh look at this wonderful opera.

Speranza Scappucci: I am working with the revival director Peter Kazaras and we are working on this as if it is a new production. We are working on making it fresh and rediscovering all of the characters the way that Puccini wrote them.

I love the fact that I have a great cast [here in LA] with a good mixture of great stars like Nino Machaidze along with younger singers who have never done La bohème, so we are discovering the production together with the director.

I am really happy that I can make my debut in Los Angeles with this piece because it is a beloved piece for the audience, but I love it, too, and I want to make it very true to what the author wrote.

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