JEANETTE VECCHIONE’s stardom is on the rise as she becomes an audience favorite, drawing big crowds and conversation over her fearless stage presence and impressive high register. Her engagements include Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Paris National Opera, Theatre des Champs Elysees, Opera Köln among others. Vecchione, a native of New York, is a much sought after soprano with “a beautiful high timbre at an already superior level which mixes together both refinement and spice,” according to Mario Cordova of El Mercurio de Santiago. Vecchione is most famous for her “easy high notes” and “bell like stratospheric register” that show her agility and youth while singing infamous roles like Olympia, Blonde and Zerbinetta. Yet, Vecchione shines the most in her stand out role of the Queen of the Night; having critics rave of her “robust technique,” “precise coloratura,” and “fiery character,” who “commands the stage with confidence.” According to the Sun Post Weekly of Florida Grand Opera’s Magic Flute, Vecchione “delivers an intriguingly complex characterization while handling the intricate arpeggios and trills impressively. She hit the part’s famous high F cleanly and drew a big hand for having done so.” The Palm Beach Arts Paper states “Vecchione… [has]an instrument of remarkable ease that she can apparently make do what she wants without obvious effort…and the audience at the Broward Center went out of its mind, shrieking its approval then and at the curtain call.” With much enthusiasm and love for the art, Jeanette Vecchione is bringing her heart and soul to the stage which the audience and critics alike seem to appreciate and enjoy.
Ms. Vecchione has won numerous awards from Opera Index Competition, George London Foundation, Licia-Albanese Puccini Competition, Palm Beach Opera Competition, the Giulio Gari Competition, Sullivan Awards, National Opera Association, Mario Lanza Competition of Philadelphia, Maria Lanza Competition of Filignano, Italy, and the International Opera Competition of Riccardo Zandonai in Riva del Garda, Italy.
The young American soprano Jeanette Vecchione is foreseen as a rising star. She has great vocal material with especially easy high notes, which she used flawlessly.
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Florida Grand Opera||Jan/Feb 2013|
|Arias and Art Song||Concert Chamber Music||Lira Clube Auditorium||November 2012|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Quincena Musical de San Sebastian||August 2012|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Festival de San Lorenzo Madrid||July 2012|
|Olympia (cover)||Les Contes d’Hoffmann||Teatro alla Scala||January 2012|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Theatre des Champs Elysees||December 2011|
|Arias and Art Song||Concert||Jurere Classic Auditorium||August 2011|
|Flaminia||Il Mondo della Luna||Buenos Aires Lirica||June/July 2011|
|Arias and Duets||Hamburg Orchestra||NDR Radio Philharmonie||February 2011|
|Blondchen||Blondchen||Teatro del Lago de Chile||January 2011|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Oper Köln||December 2010|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Vienna State Opera||October 2010|
|Olympia (cover)||Les Contes d’Hoffmann||Paris Opera Bastille||May/June 2010|
|Florestine||Ghosts of Versailles||Opera Theatre of St. Louis||June 2009|
|Musetta (cover)||La Boheme||Opera Theatre of St. Louis||May 2009|
|Lilla (cover)||Una Cosa Rara||Opera Theatre of St. Louis||June 2008|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Juilliard Opera Theater||February 2008|
|Madame Herz||Der Schauspieldirektor||Juilliard Opera Theater||November 2007|
|La Comtesse Adèle(cover)||Le Comte Ory||Juilliard Opera Theater||October 2007|
|Olympia||Les Contes d’Hoffmann||Chautauqua Opera Institute||July 2007|
|Clorinda||Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda||Juilliard Opera Theater||May 2007|
|Despina||Cosi Fan Tutte||Chautauqua Opera Institute||August 2006|
|Die Königin der Nacht||Die Zauberflöte||Juilliard Opera Theater||February 2006|
|Zerbinetta||Ariadne auf Naxos||Chautauqua Opera Institute||August 2004|
BY: STEVE GLADSTONE ON JANUARY 23, 2013.
How many people do you know scored 18 points in the last two minutes of a basketball game, sinking a trey to win it? And then at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris nailed “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen” – the Queen’s high-flying mega-challenging aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute? And all before her 30th birthday? Age 27 to be exact.
An athlete both physically and vocally, Jeanette Vecchione possesses some unusual biology. She still holds the Long Island record for the most 3-ball hoops made by a player on a high school basketball team – 150! Her father, an athlete himself, coached her to be “smart and strong.” A self-proclaimed ‘gym rat’ – arriving at the gym before it opened and the last one to leave – Vecchione explained, “I was always working on my game; I was always more focused than everybody else.” Little did she know that she was preparing for the competitive world of show biz.
Vecchione was “joking” around one day after chorus class in 11th grade, and Ms. Levine, her chorus teacher, heard her singing and told her that she should “go to the Juilliard School for opera.” Her father heard her sing and said, “Jeanette, I don’t know. I know you love basketball, but you got a crazy voice… This is pretty serious. You have a really good voice.” That sparked a series of events that led her to the pantheon of music schools.
In the summer after 11th grade, she went to an NCAA college showcase for basketball which included scouts from St. Johns University, University of Pennsylvania and Boston University. Vecchione said she played a couple of games and suddenly said to herself, “Oh my gosh. I don’t want to do this. I do not want to be here… I want to sing.”
She started singing the national anthem at her basketball games. Ms. Levine gave Vecchione a tape of Maria Callas; she started mimicking Callas and Levine moved her from the alto section to coloratura. Her parents bought her a CD of the ABCs of Opera which included the Queen of the Night’s aria. Vecchione’s wide-eyed father mused that singing the Queen’s aria as an audition piece would be her ticket to Juilliard. She said, “I can do that!” When her guidance counselor at school suggested that applying to Juilliard was “aiming too high,” Vecchione’s competitive spirit kicked in and she applied.
She had 5 months to train but didn’t know where to begin. She and her mother went onto the Metropolitan Opera website and checked out the list of teachers and chose the one with “the Italian name.” Loretta DiFranto prepared Vecchione for Juilliard where she auditioned with the Queen’s aria. She was accepted with a full scholarship. Wearing a Juilliard banner across her shirt, Vecchione brought a copy of her acceptance letter and presented it to her high school counselor who apparently was dumbfounded.
Vecchione received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Juilliard School, studying with Marlena Malas. Her first professional gig was in Vienna (Mozart’s town) as the Queen of the Night in the Vienna State Opera’s production of The Magic Flute. “That was just so touching to me. And I was so honored to be there because you’re seeing it where it was born. That’s a lot of pressure but it was really awesome,” Vecchione reflected.
Vecchione has already toured extensively throughout Europe and South America, singing the roles of Blonde in Abduction of the Seraglio, Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Despina in Cosi fan tutte, among other plum soprano parts. Her “easy high notes” have won her numerous awards.
For her final 2011 performance as the Queen of the Night at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, like a seasoned pro who has earned the privilege of freedom, Vecchione told herself “Let go… do what I do and sing it with all I have,” moving beyond her director’s and conductor’s bidding. She remembered, “The audience was deafening. I could not believe the appreciation for me giving my all… That feeling was the same feeling I got when people jumped up when I hit a clutch three pointer.”
Check out Vecchione’s remarkable voice in that Paris performance at:
If you don’t have your ticket yet for Florida Grand Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, you may want one. You will hear Vecchione in her professional American debut singing the Queen of the Night. FGO’s production is sung in German with English and Spanish projected titles, opening this Saturday night, January 26, at the Arsht Center in downtown Miami.
Being Queen helped Vecchione achieve a full scholarship at Juilliard, a world premiere in Vienna, and an American professional debut with FGO.
It’s good to be Queen!
The lighthearted hijinks that high school students engage in between classes appears to often serve as a kabuki-like mating dance that is only decodable by peers, or perhaps, simply as a way to blow off steam. On one such occasion, the adolescent banter proved to be the primordial spark that led a singularly exuberant student to a highly successful career as an international opera star. The student was Jeanette Vecchione. The place was Longwood High School (Middle Island). The time was her late-junior year, 2001.
Entering her perfunctory chorus class on a nondescript spring day, Ms. Vecchione (Miss Baxter at the time) was primarily known as a three-time all-county basketball player with a killer three-pointer. Being actively recruited by such hard-court powerhouses as Georgetown University and the University of Pennsylvania, her future path appeared set. Upon leaving her class, Ms. Vecchione crooned a short tumble of words in an over-the-top operatic fashion. This improvised aria was intended solely as high-spirited fodder for her friends’ amusement. Unbeknownst to the charismatic teen, her much-beloved chorus teacher, Ms. Levine, was listening. Ms. Levine requested that Ms. Vecchione return to the music room, and essentially told her preternaturally gifted student that she was an opera singer above all else. Dissecting her initial disbelief and reticence regarding the implications of her teacher’s words, Ms. Vecchione said, “I thought it was a joke… I was unsure, but I was slowly being enticed through listening to cds… Trying to imitate Maria Callas ignited my competitive spirit.”
Astonishingly, within a year of this synchronistic moment and only five months from when she began formal training in voice, Ms. Vecchione was pre-enrolled at Juilliard—and on a full scholarship, no less. Here, she engaged in the incremental alchemy that transmuted her identity from a shooting-guard to a serenading soprano. The acquisition of the skills and techniques intrinsic to success in the slowly demystifying world of opera was a hard-fought battle. While commenting on her nascent experiences at Juilliard, such as movement class and Italian diction class, Ms. Vecchione said, “The challenge didn’t intimidate me. It made me more excited to move forward.”
Ms. Vecchione’s six years at Juilliard (she also completed her Master’s degree there) were punctuated by a succession of unforeseen and galvanizing milestones. In her junior year, she was one of two female students selected for a tutorial with Luciano Pavarotti. While discussing the intoxicating experience of singing with the great master in his Manhattan apartment, she said, “He was so nice and modest…his apartment was all windows…he told me to look at Central Park and to imagine that it was my audience…It was amazing!” The vigorous demands of her Master’s program did not prevent her from simultaneously winning a bounty of prestigious competitions, including the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation’s Annual International Vocal Competition.
“Juilliard prepared me for a professional career,” is how Ms. Vecchione modestly explained her rapid ascent into opera’s equivalent of the big leagues. In recounting the venues and roles she has played since turning professional in 2009, one could easily surmise that there is a benevolent opera god opening doors while maintaining a humble averted glance. Over this brief time, she has performed in the ornate and storied opera houses of Paris, Vienna, Cologne and Buenos Aires. The “press” Ms. Vecchione has received for taking on such iconic works as the famed aria sung by The Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, has been stellar. Reviews from around the world have lauded her beautiful timbre, ease with high notes and wonderful acting ability. In January, she will perform in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, and cover the role of Olympia, a mechanical doll. The venue will be La Scala, the hallowed ground of opera, located in Milan. Of this, Ms. Vecchione said excitedly, “More than anything else, this is my ultimate dream.”
This past January, Ms. Vecchione, 27, married her “precious” Breno. If traveling the tributaries of the international opera circuit was not enough, together they own and run Piccolo Gelato Bar & Cafe in Ridgefield, CT. When asked about her seemingly endless zeal for life, she said, “I was always very eager…I always wanted to do everything.” Until Ms. Vecchione succeeds in “doing everything,” we’ll have to settle for her sinking game-winning three-pointers in pick-up games and hitting the high notes that leave opera fans around the globe stunned and breathless.
JeanetteVecchione.com for concert dates, recordings and booking inquires.
Jen Herrera with Miami’s ABC Local 10 talks with Jeanette Vecchione, a Long Island basketball star who found her calling in opera during her senior year of high school. Now in Miami to sing the iconic role of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute, she takes some time to talk to local high schoolers about how she found her path to opera.
Conductor: Jean Cristophe Spinosi
Staging: William Kentridge
Pamina: Sandrine Piau
Theatre des Champs Elysees
December 26, 2011
Contact Jeanette at