For those of you who saw AVA’s opening production last season, Il barbiere di Siviglia, you might remember Michael Szczesniak in the role of Count Almaviva. He also sang in the Eugene Onegin concert in December, and then left for engagements in Europe.
I’ve kept up with Michael and saw him during a recent visit to Philadelphia where we caught up on his travels.
2007 has been a very good year for Michael, which he began by singing Roderigo in Rossini’s Otello with Opera Orchestra of NY. He then made his debut at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in Beussels, Belgium, where he premiered and created the role of Hänschen Rilow in Benoit Mernier's opera Frühlings Erwachen. While there he received a call from the Teatro Communale in Bologna, Italy, where he replaced an ailing singer as Lindoro in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri.
Michael will debut with Connecticut Opera as Don Ramiro in Rossini's La Cenerentola in March, 2008.
You might have trouble figuring out the title to this blog. If you are planning on seeing Michael perform in the future don’t look for his name, because he will be using the stage name of Michele Angelini.
Michael wrote to say; “The name change is something that's been in the works for a year already...I'd been debating it for a long time. We did try the reduced spelling of my actual last name, but both my management and I felt that it just didn't look right - it seemed unnatural. I had wanted to use an Italian name for a while, and ultimately I decided to go with Angelini, and Michele just felt more natural (plus I always would say to my mother that I would prefer to have been named Michele over Michael!). There were a few things that happened here even in Brussels with my real last name that caused some trouble, including people assuming that I'm Polish - which I'm not. It just seems that, for someone who sings primarily Italian bel canto repertoire, an Italian name sells much better, and many Italian companies who are very interested in me were worried about my last name getting in the way - now it's not a problem.”