James Valenti (born September 2, 1977) is an American operatic tenor with an active international career specializing in leading roles in the Italian and French repertoire. Born and raised in New Jersey, in the United States, he is a graduate of West Virginia University and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Valenti made his professional debut in 2003 as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Rome Opera, and was the 2010 winner of the Richard Tucker Award.
Life and career
Born in Summit, New Jersey, he was raised in Clinton. He developed an interest in performing as a student at North Hunterdon High School. Valenti is a graduate of West Virginia University and the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. In the course of his studies he received grants from the Singer's Development Foundation, the Sullivan Foundation, and the Sergio Franchi Music Foundation.
He made his professional debut at age 25 as Rodolfo in the Franco Zeffirelli production La bohème at the Rome Opera. He went on to perform in many of the world's major opera houses, including La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Sydney Opera House, Opernhaus Zürich and Teatro Colón. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in March 2010 as Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata in a cast that included Angela Gheorghiu and Thomas Hampson, and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in the same role in June 2010. His roles include Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don José in Carmen, Don Carlo in Don Carlo, the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto, Lt. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther in Werther and Doctor Faust in Faust.
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- 2002 The Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation – 1st place award
- 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – winner
- 2002, 2003 Opera Index Vocal Competition – winner
- 2003 Loren Zachary Competition – 1st-place winner
- 2003 Enrico Caruso Competition – 1st-place winner
- 2003 Mario Lanza Opera Competition – 1st-place winner
- 2008 New York City Opera – Outstanding Debut Artist
- 2009 Dallas Opera – Maria Callas Debut Artist Award
- 2010 Richard Tucker Award
- 2014 West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Distinguished Alumnus Award
- 2015 West Virginia University Induction into Academy of Distinguished Alumni 
- Mario Cavaradossi in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca – Lyric Opera Kansas City (2015)
- Don José in Bizet's Carmen – Hamburg Staatsoper (2014)
- Rudolph Valentino in Argento's The Dream of Valentino – Minnesota Opera (2014)
- Maurizio in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur – Washington Concert Opera (2010)
- Nemorino in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore – Hamburg State Opera (2008)
- Edgardo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor – Sydney Opera House (2012), Florida Grand Opera (2005)
- Faust in Gounod's Faust – Royal Opera House (2011), Opera Carolina (2008), Teatro Verdi (2005)
- Roméo in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette – Minnesota Opera (2008),
- Werther in Massenet's Werther – Minnesota Opera (2012), Opera Lyon in Bunkamura Concert Hall, Tokyo (2009), Opéra Bastille (2010)
- Viscardo in Mercadante's Il giuramento – Washington Concert Opera (2009)
- Rodolfo in Puccini's La bohème – The Minnesota Opera (2010), Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria (2010), Dallas Opera (2009), La Scala (2009), Aubade Hall (2008), Florida Grand Opera (2008), Semperoper (2007), New York City Opera (2006), Teatro Verdi ( 2006)
- Lt. Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly – Teatro Colón (2014), Metropolitan Opera (2014), Opernhaus Zürich (2013), Lyric Opera of Chicago (2013), Opéra Bastille (2011), Vancouver Opera (2010), Michigan Opera Theatre (2008), New York City Opera (2008), San Francisco Opera (2007), Opéra de Marseille (2007), Semperoper (2007), Palm Beach Opera (2007), Teatro Carlo Felice (2006)
- Don Carlo in Verdi's Don Carlo – Caramoor Festival (2013), Austin Lyric Opera (2013)
- Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata – Bavarian State Opera (2012), Dallas Opera (2012), Royal Opera House (2011, 2010), Metropolitan Opera (2010), Deutsche Oper Berlin (2009), Korean Opera (2007), Teatro Pérez Galdós de Las Palmas (2007), Canadian Opera Company (2007), La Monnaie (2006), Hamburg State Opera (2006), Teatro Comunale di Bologna (2005)
- Duke of Mantua in Verdi's Rigoletto – Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (2009), Palm Beach Opera (2008), Opera Carolina (2007), Academy of Vocal Arts (2006)
- Reich, Ronni. "NJ tenor James Valenti sings at the Richard Tucker Gala", The Star-Ledger, November 15, 2010. Accessed June 29, 2018. "He sang pop songs in high school — he's a Billy Joel fan, and he still often pays tribute to his Jersey roots by making Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" his karaoke anthem — but it was his choir teacher at North Hunterdon High School, David Lockart, who convinced him to try out the role of Lt. Cable in South Pacific."
- Reich, Ronni. "NJ tenor James Valenti sings at the Richard Tucker Gala", The Star-Ledger, November 15, 2010. Accessed February 18, 2011. "Originally from Summit, Valenti grew up primarily in Clinton. (He now lives in Palm Beach, Fla.)"
- Tommasini, Anthony: "In Revival of Verdi, a New Note of Drama ", The New York Times, March 30, 2010
- Kellaway, Kate: "The Duchess of Malfi; La traviata", The Observer, July 18, 2010
- "Emotional performances and orchestral energy in Lyric Opera’s ‘Tosca’ ", The Kansas City Star, April 18, 2015
- Children International (11 September 2013). Don Carlos in the D.R."
- Cooper, Michael (11 November 2015). "Effort to Revive City Opera Includes a 'Tosca' Staging". Retrieved 5 November 2017 – via www.nytimes.com.
- Met Concert/Gala April 21, 2002, Metropolitan Opera Archives
- Opera Index Vocal Competition. Previous winners
- Tommasini, Anthony: "When Opera Stars Show Their Frisky Side", The New York Times, November 15, 2010
- West Virginia University College of Creative Arts (9 April 2014). "Acclaimed tenor James Valenti to return to CAC as visiting artist".
- West Virginia University College of Creative Arts. "Music alumnus James Valenti named to WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni", February 2, 2015.
- "Staatsoper Hamburg". www.hamburgische-staatsoper.de. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Birge, John: "'Romeo and Juliet' come home", MPR News, January 31, 2008
- Midgette, Anne: "'Il Giuramento': No Rust on This Missing Link", The Washington Post, June 2, 2009
- Smith, Janet: "'A Madama Butterfly like this wings its way into town once in a lifetime'", Straight.com, May 30, 2010
- Schweirzer, Vivien: "'On a Minimal Set, Maximizing Puccini'", The New York Times, May 30, 2010
- Fonseca-Wollheim, Corinna da (21 July 2013). "'Don Carlos,' in Its Original Tongue, Reveals Intricacies". Retrieved 5 November 2017 – via www.nytimes.com.