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Event Details

Tue, June 07, 2022

18:30 and 20:30 PM – 22:00

Limonaia and Continuum Theater
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze


The Sir Harold Acton Anniversary Concert

JUNE 7 – 8:30 PM – The Continuum Theater
Concert Recital – The Sir Harold Acton Concert

Magda Gallo – Soprano
Chiara Guerra – Soprano
Ilaria Alida Quilico – Soprano
Chuanqi Xu – Baritono
Francesco Izzo – Pianist


Preceded by:
6:30 PM – Villa La Pietra
A Pre-Concert Discussion with Young Singers from the Accademia Verdiana in Parma, moderated by Francesco Izzo and Larry Wolff.

Giuseppe Verdi is arguably the most popular composer in the operatic canon. His works are performed regularly around the world, and opera lovers have strong ideas about how singers are supposed to sing Verdi, and the sound a voce verdiana should have. But there are, in fact, many voci verdiane. In a presentation and a concert, Francesco Izzo and students of the Accademia Verdiana at the Teatro Regio Parma explore different vocal types, focussing in particular on the soprano and baritone voices associated with some of the most popular characters in Verdi’s middle-period operas. The event paves the ground for upcoming performances at the Festival Verdi in Parma, which opens on September 22.

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. 
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 2014 Francesco has been scholar-in-residence at Sarasota Opera, and 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 collaborates closely with Festival Verdi’s Music Director Roberto Abbado, and has consulted among others for conductors Daniele Callegari, Michele Mariotti, Francesco Pasqualetti, and Sebastiano Rolli, stage directors Hugo de Ana, Leo Muscato, and Graham Vick, as well as Anna Maria Chiuri, Annick Massis, Michele Pertusi, Antonio Poli, Piero Pretti, Ramon Vargas, Franco Vassallo, Riccardo Zanellato, and many other  singers.  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.
Francesco is frequently invited to deliver lectures, workshops, and masterclasses—including recent visits to the Juilliard School, Princeton University, Conservatorium Maastricht, and the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana.  During the Covid pandemic he has remained committed to teaching and public engagement, leading online talks and activities for a variety of institutions and intervening as guest lecturer in Lisette Oropesa’s popular online masterclasses.  He has an ongoing collaboration with the Accademia Verdiana at Parma’s Teatro Regio, where every year he leads masterclasses for young artists and introduces them to the purposes and use of critical editions of nineteenth-century Italian opera.  At the Teatro Real he has recently been scholarly consultant for the premiere modern performance of Valentín de Zubiaurre’s Don Fernando el Emplazado, of which he has prepared the critical edition for the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales.

Magda Gallo


Magda Gallo, Lima-Peru 12/18/1988, graduated from the Conservatory of Lima, Peru. Before moving to Europe, she won the main Peruvian competition for young opera singers of “Radio Filarmonía”. She subsequently studied in Vienna, where she received lessons from the tenor Juan Diego Flórez. She participated in the Rossiniana Academy in Pesaro. Magda Gallo has given concerts in Peru, Chile, Italy, Austria and Germany. Among the various concerts stands out the one with the orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, directed by maestro Fabio Luisi. She won the Antonio Bazzini International Opera Competition in March 2018 and, in the same competition, she won the role of Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi’s IlTrovatore, staged in Sirmione in August of the same year. She debuted the role of Violetta Valéry in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, in Bordighera, in January 2019. Magda Gallo worked for the Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa as a cover for the roles of Leonora and Mimì, in the productions of Il Trovatore and Bohème in 2019. Also with the Carlo Felice Theater, she participated in the first concert of the summer opera season in Sarzana, in June 2020, interpreting the aria of Leonora in La Forza del Destino, by Giuseppe Verdi. Since November 2017 she has been perfecting her singing under the guidance of Maestro Roberto Sèrvile. In 2021 she was chosen by the Teatro Regio di Parma at the Accademia Verdiana to attend the highly specialized course in Verdi repertoire where she graduated in February 2022. She won the Milton Marelli international opera competition in April 2022. In 2022 she was chosen for the role of Leonora, Il Trovatore, presented in Cengio’s Opera season.

Chiara Guerra


Chiara Guerra, young Italian opera soprano, began studying singing at the Liceo Musicale in Pesaro, continuing her training with Francesca Ziveri at the Conservatory “A. Boito” in Parma, attending at the same time the sheet music reading courses with the pianists Stefano Giannini and Raffaele Cortesi, obtaining the First Level Academic Diploma with full marks and honors and the II Level Academic Diploma with full marks praise and honorable mention. She was Serpina in La Serva Padrona under the direction of Riccardo Mascia at the Auditorium del Carmine in Parma. She has interpreted the role of the Mother in Hänsel and Gretel by E. Humperdinck at the Teatro Regio in Parma with the Arturo Toscanini Orchestra under the direction of Michele Spotti and directed by Rosetta Cucchi. She performed G. Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Arturo Toscanini Orchestra at the Paganini Auditorium in Parma. You played the role of Clorinda in Rossini’s Cinderella at the Opera Studio of the Fiorenza Cedolins Italian Opera School, performing in Milan and Parma. From June 2021 to February 2022 she studied at the Academy of high specialization in the Verdi repertoire of the Teatro Regio di Parma. She performed at the Verdi 2021 Festival in Un Rave in Maschera directed by Enrico Melozzi and at the presentation of the Verdi 2022 Festival. Since March 2022 she has been a student of the Opera School of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna. She will make her debut in the role of “A handmaid of Amelia” in Simon Boccanegra at the Verdi 2022 Festival. She has participated in Masterclasses with internationally renowned artists such as Barbara Frittoli, Giovanna Casolla, Roberto De Candia, Fiorenza Cedolins, Federico Longhi, Sonia Ganassi, and many others.

Ilaria Alida Quilico


Ilaria Alida Quilico was born in Aosta on 03/03/1995. After approaching music through the study of pop singing, at the age of 16 she began studying opera singing at the Liceo Musicale in Ivrea and then continued at the Conservatoire de la Vallée d ‘Aoste. Since 2016 she has continued her studies at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory in Milan where she graduated in 2019 with full marks and honors and in the same year she joined the AMO del Teatro Academy Coccia of Novara. In 2021 you took part in the first edition of the Mascagni Academy of the Goldoni Theater in Livorno. She now attends the Highly Specialized Academy in Verdian Repertoire of the Teatro Regio di Parma (2021/2022). She is studying and improving under the guidance of the baritone Federico Longhi. She has participated in numerous Opera Singing Masterclasses with internationally renowned artists and personalities such as Barbara Frittoli, Donato Renzetti, Luisa Castellani, Giovanna Lomazzi, Alberto Gazale, Renata Lamanda. In 2016, at the European Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Montepulciano founded by the University of Music in Cologne, she took part in the summer Masterclass held by soprano Edda Moser organized in the prestigious Palazzo Ricci; she then participated in two concerts organized by the Academy, finally winning a scholarship. In 2019 she obtained the third place at the “G. Verdi” Conservatory Award in Milan, the second place at the National Arts Award held in Cesena and she won the first prize at the First International “Mario Orlandoni” Opera Singing Competition in Como. Having been one of the winners for the role competition in the Capri Opera Festival, in September 2019 she made her debut on the homonymous island as “Lauretta” in Gianni Schicchi by G. Puccini. In November 2019 she gave voice to the character of “Maguelonne” in Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon staged for the Luglio Musicale in Trapani in co-production with the Coccia Theater where she performed in December of the same year. In February 2020, in the role of “Paesana 1”, she sang at the world premiere of Marco Podda’s opera Donna di Veleni at the Coccia Theater in Novara. In July 2020 she made her debut as “Berta” in Il Barbiere di Seviglia by G. Rossini in a production by the Coccia Theater for the Novara summer program.
Thanks to her academic experiences in July 2021 she performed in the city of Jerusalem and made her debut at the Teatro Regio di Parma in the concert Un Rave in Maschera, the closing show of the Verdi Festival.

Chuanqi Xu


Chuanqi Xu, a 28-year-old baritone, frequented the “Xinghai” Conservatory in Canton, China and the “G.B. Martini ”of Bologna, where he graduated 110 cum laude in two years. In 2019, he studied at the Osimo Academy of Opera. In June 2021 he won the audition for “Academy of high specialization in Verdi’s repertoire” at the Teatro Regio in Parma, perfecting himself with internationally renowned artists. In October 2018, he performed the concert Tutto cangia il ciel s’abbella, in collaboration with the Budrio Theater Laboratory, in homage to Rossini at the Teatro Consorziale di Budrio. In November 2018, he performed for the concert “A Family Story GIOACCHINO ROSSINI” at Palazzo Belloni in Bologna. In December 2019, he performed at the “Christmas Songs” concert at the La Nuova Fenice Theater in Osimo. In June 2020, he performed for tribute concert to Giulio Neri opera singing gala at Torrita di Siena. In February 2022, he performed in the Presentation of the Verdi 2022 Festival at the Teatro Regio Parma.

Larry Wolff


Larry Wolff is Julius Silver Professor of History at NYU and Co-Director of NYU Florence. His books include Venice and the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment (2001), Paolina’s Innocence: Child Abuse in Casanova’s Venice (2012), and The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and writes frequently about opera.