Internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti has a voice of Italianate lustre and is part of the long-standing tradition of great Italian tenors. The sought after 6’5″ tenor, has built a global reputation for his elegant musicianship, commanding stage presence and ardent vocal style.
A native of Clinton, N.J., Valenti earned a bachelor’s degree in music from WVU in 2000. He studied with former music professor and artist-in-residence, Augusto Paglialunga, as well as Opera Program Director Robert Thieme, and former choral director Kathleen Shannon. They were the first to notice the young singer’s raw talent.
Mr. Valenti experienced exceptional growth artistically and culturally while at the Creative Arts Center, going from a fresh-faced 18-year-old attending his first opera in Pittsburgh on a WVU trip, to auditioning for national opera apprenticeships upon graduation.
Mr. Valenti trained at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and, at age 25, made his professional debut at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma where he played Rodolfo in the Franco Zeffirelli production of “La Bohême.” Since his debut, he has scored one triumphal role after another and has had the opportunity to perform in many of the most celebrated citadels of opera in the world including Teatro alla Scala Milan, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House London, Opera National de Paris, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Sydney Opera House, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Opera House Munich, among others. Mr. Valenti also has performed at the Baden-Baden Festival, Caramoor Festival, Salzburg Festival, Ravinia Festival, St. Bart’s Music Festival as well as the Napa Valley Festival del Sole and was a guest soloist during the 2013 Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He has showcased his vocal ability and acting versatility in a variety of roles such as Don José in “Carmen,” Don Carlo in “Don Carlo,” Cavaradossi in “Tosca,” Alfredo Germont in “La Traviata,” Duke of Mantua in “Rigoletto,” and Lt. Pinkerton in “Madama Butterfly,” among others. Mr. Valenti has performed with some of the greatest opera voices and maestros in the industry including Anna Netrebko, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Thomas Hampson, Simon Keenlyside, Ana Maria Martinez, Bryn Terfel, Placido Domingo, Leo Nucci, Maestro Gustavo Dudamel, Maestro Antonio Pappano, Maestro Daniele Gatti and Maestro Carlo Rizzi, to name a few. He has recorded with fellow opera star Angela Gheorghiu at Abbey Road Studios in London for her “Tribute to Maria Callas” CD on Virgin/EMI.
In the summer of 2014, Mr. Valenti traveled to Prague to record his debut album with world-renowned Maestro Steven Mercurio, which will be released in 2015. Mr. Valenti has received numerous accolades in his young career including the New York City Opera’s Outstanding Debut Artist Award in 2008, the Maria Callas Debut Artist Award in 2009 and the Richard Tucker Award in 2010.
When he is not performing, Mr. Valenti is an active humanitarian and gives his time to a number of charitable organizations, including Children International, serving as celebrity ambassador. Mr. Valenti always makes time in between his rigorous performance schedule to also give back to young emerging artists and has given master classes at University of Texas, University of Arizona, Northwestern, St. Olaf College, University of Minnesota, and most recently, at his alma mater, West Virginia University, where he shared his knowledge and experience as an artist-in-residence. In 2104 he received the College of Creative Arts Distinguished Alumnus Award.