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Among the few women who have made it to the conductor’s podium, Speranza Scappucci is also a brilliant pianist and a graduate from the prestigious Juilliard School and the Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia in Rome. After her debut as a conductor at the Yale Opera with Così Fan Tutte, in the last few years Maestro Scappucci has performed in many international houses across the U.S. and Europe.
Maestro, how and when did your passion for classical music develop?
I have been exposed to music since when I was born. My parents are huge music lovers and made me take music lessons since the age of 4 and a half!
You studied in two of the best academies in the world, at Santa Cecilia in Rome and Juilliard in New York. What are the main differences between them? And how did you like these experiences?
I owe who I am today as a musician to both institutions equally. Without a solid background like the one I had in Rome - not only in piano, but also in chamber music, harmony, music history etc. - I wouldn’t have entered Juilliard and been able to attend the greatest music school in the World, where I developed my skills even more and expanded my horizons!
Are being a pianist and conductor two complementary sides of your artistic personality? Do you have an inclination towards one or the other?
As a conductor, I think it is fundamental to play an instrument, and of course the piano is the most complete instrument of all. Playing the piano allows me not only to be able to sit and read and play a full score in its complete orchestration, but also to play and coach my own singers if I do an opera.
You have worked all over the world and with the greatest artists, including Maestro Riccardo Muti. Is there any collaboration or performance you are particularly attached to or proud of?
I have loved and appreciated working for almost all the institutions in my resume, from Vienna to the Met. I fondly remember my first years at City Opera, Glyndebourne…all of them! The last years in Salzburg, Vienna, and Rome next to Maestro Muti, of course, have been immensely enriching, and it would be difficult to point out just one production!
You’ve recently conducted La Cenerentola (Cinderella) at the Washington National Opera. How would you describe the experience?
Washington D.C. is an amazing city and the Opera is a great institution. It was a beautiful experience in every aspect, I loved every moment of it: the staff, the singers, the chorus, and the orchestra wonderfully responded to my idea of Rossini and his opera. It was great to make music with them.
In 2016, you’ll also debut at the LAOpera with La Boheme. What do you expect from the L.A. public? And what should the audience expect from the show?
I am very excited and proud to make my L.A. debut at the Opera. La Boheme is an absolute favorite of mine, but also of the public. I do not know the show yet, so I can’t say how it will be. But I look forward to working with the LAOpera orchestra and chorus, which are fabulous, thanks to their Music Director James Conlon and Director Placido Domingo!