Share This Event

Event Details

Thu, June 22, 2023

18:30 – 22:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italy

Please indicate if you will be coming to the discussion and concert, or for the concert-only. Thank you

Francesco Izzo and Singers from the Accademia Verdiana in Parma.


6:30 PM – Limonaia

Pre-Concert Discussion

with Young Singers from the Accademia Verdiana in Parma, moderated by Francesco Izzo and Larry Wolff.


8:30 PM – Limonaia

Concert Recital – The Sir Harold Acton Concert

Carmen Lopez, soprano
Licia Piermatteo, soprano
Zizhao Chen, tenor
Fernando Cisneros, baritone
Francesco Izzo, piano



“Son pur queste mie membra… Dio di Giuda”

I lombardi alla prima crociata
“Ave Maria”
“La mia letizia infondere”
“Non fu sogno!”

“Sul fil d’un soffio etesio”

La traviata
“Lunge da lei . . . De’ miei bollenti spiriti . . . O mio rimorso, o infamia”

“Gualtier Maldè . . . Caro nome, che il mio cor”
“Pari siamo . . . Figlia! Mio padre! . . . Deh! non parlare al misero . . . Veglia, o donna, questo fiore”

Featured Biographies

Francesco Izzo



Francesco Izzo is a musicologist and pianist specialising in 19th-century opera and vocal music.  He has performed widely as a soloist, with orchestra, and in a variety of chamber ensembles.  Most importantly, as collaborative pianist and keen researcher of vocal performance practices of the 19th century, he has accompanied performances by Barry Banks, Rockwell Blake, Kevin Short, and Giuseppe Taddei, and has coached and consulted for countless more.  He recently accompanied to great acclaim soprano Lisette Oropesa in a recital for the Festival Verdi at Parma’s Teatro Regio, as well as performances by Leo Nucci and Juan Jesús Rodriguez at the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao.
He is Professor of Music at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), where he teaches courses and supervises research projects in opera, vocal performance practice, and textual criticism.  He is the author of the monograph Laughter between Two Revolutions: Opera buffa in Italy, 1831-1848 (University of Rochester Press), and serves as General Editor of the critical edition The Works of Giuseppe Verdi (University of Chicago Press and Casa Ricordi).
Since 2017 he has served as Direttore Scientifico of Festival Verdi Parma, which in the first year of his scholarly leadership achieved the prestigious award for best festival at the International Opera Awards.  He also serves as Direttore Didattico of the Accademia Verdiana.   He has lectured and written for some of the world’s leading opera companies and festivals, including the Salzburg Festival, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Donizetti Festival, the Royal Opera House, the Welsh National Opera, and the opera houses of Bilbao, Madrid, Munich, Naples, Palermo, Rome, and Venice.  Since 2014 he has been scholar-in-residence at Sarasota Opera.

Fernando Cisneros


Fernando is a young baritone born in Mexico City. He began his musical studies as a pianist, holds a bachelor’s degree in Digital Music Production Engineering in Mexico, a masters degree in classical voice from the Manhattan School of Music, attended the Opera Institute Boston University, studied at the Accademia D’Altro Canto in Italy and was a member of the Classic Lyric Arts organization in New York.
In 2022 he won First prize at the Premio Lirico Internazionale Umberto Giordano, was a finalist at the Concorso Lirico Internazionale Ottavio Ziino, won First prize ex-aequo for an original composition by the Fundación Victoria de los Ángeles in Barcelona and the “Best Latin American male voice” award sponsored by Ocuri Investments. He was a finalist at the 58o Concorso Internazionale Voci Verdiane, won Third prize at the 26è Concurs Josep Mirabent I Magrans and Third prize at the Zenith Opera Competition. In 2021 he won both First prize and the Ópera de Bellas Artes prize at the 38o Concurso Nacional de Canto Carlo Morelli and First prize in the Zarzuela division at the Concorso SOI Fiorenza Cedolins. In 2017 he won Third prize at the Alan M. and Joan Taub Ades Vocal Competition in New York, and as a pianist, in 2005 he won Second prize at the Concurso Nacional de Piano Ollin Yoliztli in Mexico.
His repertoire includes the title roles in Don Giovanni and Gianni Schicchi, Le nozze di Figaro (Figaro and Conte Almaviva), Così fan tutte (Guglielmo), Il barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro), La Cenerentola (Dandini), Il signor Bruschino (Gaudenzio), L’elisir d’amore (Belcore), Don Pasquale (Dottor Malatesta), La traviata (Giorgio Germont), Carmen (Escamillo), Pagliacci (Silvio), Cavalleria Rusticana (Alfio), La bohème (Marcello and Schaunard), Madama Butterfly (Sharpless), Pelléas et Mélisande (Golaud), L’enfant et les sortilèges (Le fauteuil) and Albert Herring (Sid)

Carmen Lopez


Carmen Lopez is an opera soprano from Puglia.
She majored in Foreign Languages and Literature and graduated in Opera Singing with highest honors from the “N. Piccinni” Conservatory of Bari, after which she continued her studies with M° Sara Allegretta.
Very active as a concert performer, she has built a repertoire ranging from 18th to 20th century opera, associated with an increasingly refined study of Italian, French,Spanish, and German chamber music.
She debuted in several operas, such as Il Cavaliere Errante by T. Traetta, Suor Angelica by G. Puccini, and has played the roles of Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Violetta Valery in Verdi’s La Traviata, Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, and Suzel in L’ Amico Fritz by P. Mascagni.
She specialized in the French repertoire at the Conservatoire d’Avignon.
She has performed as soloist the entire cycle of Claude Debussy’s chamber arias Les Ariettes Oubliées at the Nino Rota Auditorium in Bari.
She won the “Città di Molfetta” International Opera Competition II edition, winning the prize of the press and audience. Finalist in the 5th edition of the “Elsa Respighi” International Competition, earning the prestigious “Museo Fioroni” Prize; and finalist in the 9th edition of the International Opera Competition “Matera: City of the Sassi” 2020, which earned her the the role of Nella in the production of Gianni Schicchi. She attended the “Mascagni Academy 2021”, the masterclass in opera singing at Palazzo Pesce in Mola di Bari, curated by M° Maria Grazia Pani, with famous Puccini arias, and participated in Daniela Barcellona’s masterclass in opera singing, in Trieste, performing in the final concert at Teatro Verdi.
She has won second prize at the “Corsica Lirica” International Opera Singing Competition.
She performs with the orchestra of the Teatro Verdi in Trieste conducted by Maestro Vitiello. 
She is currently a student at the Accademia Verdiana of the Teatro Regio di Parma, where she will debut in the role of Ines in Il Trovatore at the 2023 Verdi Festival.

Licia Piermatteo


Licia Piermatteo was born in Pescara on January 30, 1996, and graduated in July 2019 from the five-year advanced training course in opera singing at the Luisa D’Annunzio Conservatory of Pescara with the highest honors and a special mention.
She immediately made her mark on the music scene by debuting at the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale in 2017. Since 2018, she has collaborated with prominent musicians and boasts several solo concerts, winning various prizes in important international competitions.
In 2020 she debuted in the role of Suor Genovieffa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica at the Teatro Marrucino in Chieti under the direction of Maestro Walter Attanasi and director Riccardo Canessa. 
She has played Berta in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia under the direction of M° Roberto Molinelli and director Danilo Proia, Annina in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata under the direction of M° Daniel Oren and director Riccardo Canessa, and Giannetta in Donizetti’s opera L’elisir d’amore under the direction of M° Patrik David Murray and director Aldo Tarabella.
In 2022 she was selected for the Puccini Festival Academy in Torre del Lago and made her debut in the role of Cousin in Madama Butterfly in the opera season of the prestigious Festival.
She is currently training at the Accademia Verdiana of the Teatro Regio in Parma, where she will be involved in the events of the 2023 Verdi Festival.
Among her upcoming engagements she will make her debut in the role of Sofia in Rossini’s “Il Signor Bruschino” in Pesaro.

Chen Zizhao


Tenor Chen Zizhao was born in China’s Province of Heilongjiang on October 10, 1996; he  completed his three-year studies in Singing at the Shenyang Conservatory of Music where he graduated in 2018 with highest honors. 
In order to improve his Italian and to get acquainted with the national opera repertoire, he moved to Italy and attended first a three-year course and then entered the Biennium of Lyrical Singing at the Conservatory of Parma, where he studies under the guidance of Maestros Rosy Orani and Giuliana Panza. As a student he has always distinguished himself in the events promoted by the Conservatory. He was chosen by Chris Merrit for the Final Concert of his Masterclass, sang at the Ridotto of the Teatro Regio in Parma, was a finalist in the Gaetano Zinetti Competition and was selected for the Academic Events. He also took part in the “Falstaff Project” promoted by the Conservatory of Parma.