Carmen Giannattasio was born on April 24th in Avellino in Southern Italy. At the early age of two she overheard a nun playing Chopin on the piano in the Kindergarten she attended. From that moment music was her passion; she would creep out of the playroom at every opportunity to listen and begged her parents to buy her a piano. But it was singing that later took over her life after taking part in an audition and being accepted at the Conservatoire Domenico Cimarosa of Avellino, where she studied under vocal teachers Cecilia Valdenassi, Barbara Lazotti and Marilena Laurenza, simultaneously obtaining a degree in Russian and English Literatures from the University of Salerno.
Whilst attending the school for young opera singers (L’Accademia di Perfezionamento) at Teatro alla Scala, Milan from 1999-2001, she came under the formative influence of the school’s principal, the legendary Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer, who was to become her mentor. They were reunited the following year in Paris, when Ms Giannattasio won First and Audience Prize in Operalia 2002, the prestigious competition founded by Plácido Domingo to discover and promote the most talented young opera singers of the future.
Major roles in the world’s leading opera houses quickly followed, identifying her as ideally suited to 18th and 19th operatic repertoire Rossini and as one of the rare breed of sopranos gifted with the vocal technique and compelling stage presence necessary to scale the formidable challenges posed by the great bel canto composers. In 2006, only a few years after her success at Operalia 2002, Financial Times critic Andrew Clark greeted her performance as Elena in Rossini’s LA DONNA DEL LAGO at the Edinburgh Festival (recorded live by Opera Rara) with the words ‘Behold, a prima donna is born...’ Rupert Christiansen of The Daily Telegraph is not alone in comparing her acting to the forceful Italian ‘neorealistic’ stage and film actress Anna Magnani and with regard to her voice reference has been made to Ileana Cotrubas and Renata Scotto.
She recently performed in LA BOHÈME at Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, with ROBERT LE DIABLE in Salerno, DON GIOVANNI in Verona, IL TROVATORE at Metropolitan Opera and LA CLEMENZA DI TITO at Aix en Provence Festival, in Naples and Hong Kong with LA TRAVIATA, Berlin with DON CARLOS, at Teatro alla Scala with FALSTAFF, in Vienna with IL TROVATORE and recently in Buenos Aires for her debut in OTELLO.
Highlights for the future seasons are MARIA STUARDA in Berlin and London, PAGLIACCI in Berlin, VIAGGIO A REIMS in Amsterdam, LA BOHÈME in Berlin and San Francisco.