Great things are happening in opera star James Valenti’s life. The New Jersey native has just come off a successful summer run of “Don Carlo,” a role he’ll sing at the Austin Lyric Opera in November.
He’ll also be singing the roles of Don José in “Carmen” and Cavaradossi in “Tosca.”
He’s making his debut with The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of “Madama Butterfly” this month, singing the role of Lt. Pinkerton, a role perfectly suited for both his beautiful voice and his striking good looks. Valenti, who comes from a huge Italian family, has been taking tango lessons in preparation for the starring role in “The Dream of Valentino,” premiering in March at the Minnesota Opera.
And, he’ll make his return to the Met as Pinkerton in their 2014 production of “Madama Butterfly.”
He’s also booked to sing in Germany and Argentina.
It’s all part of a plan Valenti hatched about six months ago.
“I made some key decisions,” he explained during a recent telephone interview while on location in Chicago. “I decided to head in a new direction. I have a new voice teacher, a new publicist and I’m working on a new repertoire.”
Valenti, 36, burst onto the Texas scene in his 2009 role as the romantic Rodolfo in The Dallas Opera’s “La Bohéme,” winning TDO's prestigious Maria Callas Debut Award that year. His popularity with Dallas audiences was cemented with 2011's return as the bad boy Duke in “Rigoletto” and as the passionate Alfredo in 2012's “La Traviata.”
He’s sung in some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, including La Scala, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opera National de Paris, Sydney Opera House and Opernhaus Zurich.
In addition to Rodolfo and Pinkerton, Valenti has sung Mauricio in “Adriana Lecouvrer,” Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Werther in “Werther” and Doctor Faust in “Faust.”
Newly single, Valenti is working to expand his brand outside the opera world. At 6’5” and blessed with dreamy good looks, he is a marketer’s dream.
“I’m looking at some brand endorsements,” he explained. “I might do some more modeling. I’m just trying to decide which paths to take because I want to keep my integrity as a performer and an opera singer.”
Valenti has also decided to go a step further with his charity work. He recently completed a trip to the Dominican Republic on behalf of Children International. A sponsor since 2006, he had been looking to become more involved.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” he noted. “I love, love kids, and wanted to do something out of my normal realm. It’s great being an ambassador for Children International.”
The visit left Valenti with a desire to do even more.
“In between work and opera travels,” he noted, “I’ll be going to the Philippines and Columbia for the charity.”
As for a return to the Dallas opera stage, Valenti is willing, but the project has to be right.
“I would love to come back,” he confessed. “I have a great love and affinity for Dallas. It’s been very good to me.”
In the meantime, follow Valenti’s rising star on Facebook and check out his newly redesigned website, www.jamesvalenti.com.
Click here to watch Valenti sing "La fleur que tu m'avais jetee" from “Carmen” with the Plano Symphony Orchestra.
Click here to watch a video of Valenti being interviewed by Fox & friends. He also sings a beautiful love song to the Fox reporter.
Click here to watch Valenti perform “E lucevan le stelle” from “Tosca” with the Plano Symphony Orchestra.
Click here to purchase tickets, which range from $19 to $200, for "Don Carlo" from Austin Lyric Opera.
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