Fernando del Valle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Fernando del Valle
del Valle in 2010
del Valle in 2010
Background information
Birth nameBrian Stephen Skinner
Born(1964-02-28)February 28, 1964
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Occupation(s)Opera singer

Fernando del Valle (né Brian Stephen Skinner; February 28, 1964) is an American operatic tenor. He is the son of Edward King Skinner II, a Korean War veteran[1] and Concha Marina Meléndez del Valle the cousin of George Melendez Wright. He is the grandson of Aranka Bischitz great great granddaughter of Baroness Johanna Bischitz von Heves and niece of Hungarian radiochemist and Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate George de Hevesy. He is the nephew of the Architect Manuel Roberto Meléndez Bischitz.


He took the name del Valle in honour of his grandfather, Fernando Meléndez del Valle,[2][3] who was also a tenor and diplomat for El Salvador at the consulate of El Salvador in New Orleans.[4][5]

He is the great-great-grandson of Andrés del Valle[6] President of El Salvador in 1876[7] and a direct descendant of Colonel José María San Martín, President of El Salvador (1854–56) and founder of Santa Tecla, El Salvador.[8][9][10]

A fourth generation New Orleanian, He is the grandson of the Honorable Judge Robert J. Skinner,[11][1] former recorder and treasurer (for the City of New Orleans), a regimental sergeant-major in World War I, and the great grandson of Judge Edward King Skinner, who served on the city, criminal and civil district court benches, successively, over a total period of 52 years[12][13][14]

In 1880, he was appointed to first district court after the Civil War. A year after his retirement attorneys gave civil district court a portrait in oils of Judge Skinner.[15]

The portrait by John Paul Parker, was presented to the court by United States Attorney Rene A. Viosca, who was then president of the New Orleans Bar Association.[16][17]


He was born in New Orleans.[18] A graduate of Brother Martin High School, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tulane University as the recipient of the Treville Scholarship in Voice, and the Artists Diploma from Southern Methodist University as the Haggar Scholar where he studied under Thomas Hayward. As a winner of the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition he was awarded a Career Grant from The Dallas Opera, the winner of the Stewart Award, the Austin Lyric Opera Vocal Competition, the Fort Worth Opera Competition and the Vocal Competition of the San Antonio Opera judged by Evelyn Lear and Richard Gaddes.

In 1986 he won the "Bel Canto" competition of Chicago, under the direction of the legendary tenor Carlo Bergonzi. He remained in Busseto, Italy and subsequently relocated to Europe where he studied for years with Regina Resnik and later Nicolai Gedda.

He is an alumnus of the San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program and Western Opera Theater in 1992 and 1993.

Early years[edit]

Del Valle made his operatic debut at the age of seventeen (1981), as the First Shepherd in John Blow's Venus and Adonis (Blow), at Loyola University followed by roles in La rondine, conducted by Maurice Peress, Brigadoon, Shenandoah and The Merry Widow.

The next year, after advice of his Tulane professor, Deborah Drattell, he became tenor soloist in Bach's "St Matthew Passion" with the New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Massey, conducting. In 1986, he made his Boston debut in that composer's Christmas Oratorio in Jordan Hall as the winner of the Boston Premiere Ensembles Young Artist Competition. The following spring, his New York debut took place at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, with the Beethoven Society of New York, Lorna Cooke deVaron conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

He continued his career as a concert tenor with a repertoire that included Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and the Requiems of Verdi, Britten and Lloyd Webber. The tenor's Carnegie Hall debut occurred in 1993, with Mozart's "Great" Mass in C minor with the American Symphony Orchestra. He performed the tenor solos in George Frideric Handel's Messiah for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in 1994. He made his European debut in 1995, singing in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Alun Francis, conducting.

Del Valle's European operatic debut took place with the role of "Don José" in the Hugo de Ana production of Carmen at the Teatro Comunale di Treviso under the vocal direction of Regina Resnik and conducted by Peter Maag. In 1996, he appeared as Rodolfo in La bohème, at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Vladimir Jurowski, conducting.


In 1997, del Valle appeared as 'don José' at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Isaac Karabtchevsky, conducting 'Pinkerton' in Madama Butterfly with the Palm Beach Opera, Anton Guadagno, conducting and 'Faust' in Colmar, France. He made his German debut in 1998 as 'Rodolfo' with the Frankfurt Opera, under the direction of the venerated pedagogue/conductor, Klauspeter Seibel, immediately following he appeared to critical acclaim,[19][20] at the Wexford Festival in Ireland as 'Paolo' in Fosca (opera) by Antônio Carlos Gomes. A series of important engagements followed, and since 1999, del Valle has appeared around the world, including performances in Frankfurt Alte Oper, Strasbourg (Beethoven 9th Symphony, op. 125, with John Storgards conducting), Maastricht, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Theater Augsburg, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Theater Dortmund, Teatro Carlo Felice, Bremen, Bergen, Costa Rica, Munich Gasteig, Finnish National Opera, Helsinki, Belo Horizonte in Brazil, the HIFA Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe,[21] Malmö, Sweden, New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria, Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, Torino, Baveno, Inaugural concert of the Umberto Giordano Festival with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Paolo Vaglieri conducting, National Theatre Mannheim, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Staatstheater Kassel, Hamburg and Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden.

For three years, del Valle was engaged as the Principal Tenor at the Staatstheater Darmstadt,[22] at the invitation of Marc Albrecht.[23][24] His career followed by performances in Israel, Korea, Catania, Sydney (recording Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius at the Sydney Opera House), Lisbon and Prague.

He has collaborated with some of the most notable conductors in the world including, Vladimir Jurowski, Ralf Otto, Asher Fisch, Anton Guadagno, Claudio Abbado, Eduardo Mata, Benjamin Zander, Isaac Karabtchevsky, Peter Maag, John DeMain, Carl St. Clair, JoAnn Falletta, John Nelson, Dan Ettinger, Carlo Maria Giulini, Alexander Lazarev.Alexander Anissimov, Patrick Summers, Philippe Entremont, Joseph Rescigno and Richard Bonynge.[25][26][27]

In 2003 his portrait was realised by Ricarda Jaccobi protégé of Oskar Kokoschka.

Fernando del Valle by Ricarda Jacobi

On the occasion of the 150th (1854–2004) Anniversary of Santa Tecla, El Salvador, Mr. del Valle was invited by former Salvadoran Ambassador Ernesto Rivas-Gallont to present 2 Concerts. A devotee of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the Tenor requested that the first performance take place on September 23, the feast-day of Saint Thecla, the Saint for whom the city is named.[28]

Since 2011, due to health issues, he does not perform in large scale staged productions, concentrating on benefit and charity events instead.[29][30][31]


In 1995, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 31 years old, and treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital.[32][24] Legally blind, he suffers from diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma,[33] macular degeneration, ocular ischemic syndrome, cataracts, macular edema, diabetic cardiomyopathy and diabetic neuropathy.[34]

Roles sung on stage[edit]







André Ernest Modeste Grétry







Jacques Offenbach


Johann Strauss



Richard Wagner



  1. ^ a b "Edward Skinner Obituary - Metairie, Louisiana - Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemeteries". www.tributes.com.
  2. ^ [1] Archived 2014-12-08 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/index.php/talent/detail/14159/Melndez_del_Valle_Fernando_vocalist_tenor_vocal
  4. ^ "Santa Tecla, Cronología" ISBN 99923-0-141-4 Recopilada por Dr. Juan José Contreras Callejas, Mauricio Alvarado Cea Campo, Ángela Margarita Alvarado: Consejo National para la Cultura y el Arte, Concultura, San Salvador 2004: Page 14, "El Diario de Hoy", November 30, 1985.
  5. ^ New Orleans Magazine, July 1999.
  6. ^ Smith, Joanne (1995). Cuisine, Texas: A Multiethnic Feast. ISBN 9780292776821.
  7. ^ Cuisine, Texas: a multiethnic feast, page 258, Joanne Smith, University of Texas Press (September 1, 2010), ISBN 978-0292728516
  8. ^ "La distinguida genealogía de los San Martín", Prensa Grafica, August 22, 2004.
  9. ^ Morena Azucena, "Un tenor lírico con raíces tecleñas", elsalvador.com, September 22, 2004, pg. 106
  10. ^ Gobernantes de El Salvador, Maria y Freddy Leistenschneider, 1980, pg. 137 (A. del Valle) & pg. 97 (J.M. San Martin) Publicaciones Del MinisterIo Del Interior, Imprenta Nacional, San Salvador, El Salvador.
  11. ^ Gary Krist, Empire of Sin, New York Times Sunday Book Review, November 6, 2014.
  12. ^ John C. Kelly, "R.J. Skinner Taken by Death", The New Orleans Item, July 18, 1949.
  13. ^ Library Archives Analyst II, The Times-Picayune.
  14. ^ Thomas K. Griffin, "Skinner's Ward is on the Way", The Times-Picayune Library Archives.
  15. ^ 'E.K. Skinner retired Judge of Civil Court Dies" The Times Picayune/New Orleans States Volume C---NO. 134, New Orleans, Sunday, June 7, 1936, pg. 6
  16. ^ 'E.K. Skinner retired Judge of Civil Court Dies" The Times Picayune/New Orleans States Volume C---NO. 134, New Orleans, Sunday, June 7, 1936, Pages 1 and 6
  17. ^ "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Louisiana", Volume 2, pp. 388-89, Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, 1892.
  18. ^ Richard Siklos, "New Orleans: "Big year for the Big Easy", January 17, 2003.
  19. ^ Andrew Porter, Financial Times, October 26, 1998.
    "This Fosca was Wexford at its best. It brought forward a tenor of uncommon merit: del Valle was as firm as Domingo in his pure, true utterance but also able and eager, Bergonzi-wise, to "melt" from note to note in shapely phrases. (Caruso's splendour plus Gigli's charm make a good model)"
  20. ^ Rodney Milnes, The Times, October 28, 1998.
    "....an exciting tenor, especially at the top of the register, who can shape a phrase with real sensitivity."
  21. ^ Maxwell Sibanda, "Zimbabwe: International Acts Set to Flavour Hifa", The Harare Daily News, April 29, 2003.
  22. ^ Orpheus Oper International, Rittersstrasse 11, D-10969 Berlin, Heft 5, June 2001: Thema: "Tenöre!" A 4848 E
  23. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau, August 3, 2004.
  24. ^ a b "Wer? Wann? Was?", Darmstädter Echo, October 9, 2001.
  25. ^ "Malen wie ein Vogel, der sein Lied Pfeift" - Interview Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ de:Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  27. ^ * Literature by and about Fernando del Valle in the German National Library catalogue
  28. ^ Eugenia Velásquez, [metro@elsalvador.com "Santa Tecla con 150 años"], El Diario de Hoy, August 9, 2004.
  29. ^ "Darmstädter Echo, February 20, 2015". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  30. ^ Tanz und Toene fuer fluechlings, October 21, 2015.
  31. ^ "Freund, greift ein!" Benefitzkonzert Muskier des Staatstheater Darmstadt sammeln 21,000 Euro an Spender fuer Fluechtlingshlfe.(in German)
  32. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau, 3 August 2004.
  33. ^ "You searched for fernando del valle - Icaretonometer". Icaretonometer.
  34. ^ GmbH, Echo Zeitungen. "Mutmacher mit starker Stimme". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  35. ^ https://books.google.de/books?id=sJjHbguwR1oC&pg=RA1-PA7&lpg=RA1-PA7&dq=fernando+del+valle+TENOR&source=bl&ots=QV3hQHHrr7&sig=0PWTdWgtnHuk8mOEyiFYD-6e2bY&hl=de&sa=X&ei=TIobVaC-OMTnarLPgogJ&ved=0CEAQ6AEwBjgK#v=onepage&q=fernando%20del%20valle%20TENOR&f=false seite 6,

External links[edit]