Anton Coppola to lead Master Class at Patel Conservatory | Arts & Culture
I began to love the art form of opera about 10 years ago when I first saw Anton Coppola direct his first Straz Center opera, "Carmen." I've seen him direct several since and now, the Straz Center is known for creating fabulous operas right here in Tampa. The Straz Center’s president, Judith Lisi, is even a former opera singer and her passion for this art form is evident.
So maybe it’s no surprise that the Straz Center with Opera Tampa is becoming known nationwide for its master classes led by famous conductors, singers and other professionals in the opera community. Career seeking singers around the country audition for these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to work with some of the world’s greatest operatic legends.
On Tuesday, Feb. 22, world-renowned American conductor, composer and Opera Tampa Artistic Director, Anton Coppola, will lead a master class, allowing audience members a behind-the-scenes view of singers performing under his direction, at the Patel Conservatory.
Participating in this master class will be an incredible experience for the singers and fascinating for the audience, says Vice President/Associate General Director of Opera Tampa, Maria Zouves, who is a singer herself. “The abundant and profound knowledge that Maestro Coppola has is invaluable to a young singer, especially about these composers, like Puccini, is significant. He worked directly with Puccini’s rehearsal pianist, and knows how Puccini changed and arranged everything in his rehearsals – way beyond the written score,” Zouves explained, adding that Coppola has even been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Puccini Foundation.
Coppola’s career began at age eight, in 1925, with the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus. During World War II, he served as an army bandmaster, as a conductor at Radio City Music Hall and as director of both the Symphony and Opera Departments at the Manhattan School of Music. From the Manhattan School of Music, Coppola earned a bachelor's degree in 1964 and a master's degree a year later. He has also received honorary doctorates from the University of Tampa and Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University.
Among his works are a violin concerto, a symphony and Sacco and Vanzetti, an opera in mixed Italian and English about the famous Italian immigrants of that name. He conducted the film score and appeared in the film, The Godfather: Part III, and also conducted the score for the movie Dracula. In the 1950s and 1960s, he served as musical director for six Broadway shows, including Bravo Giovanni, which earned him a Tony® Award nomination for Best Conductor and Musical Director.
In collaboration with the Royal Opera Orchestra and soprano Angela Gheorghiu, Coppola released a recording of Puccini works. An interesting side note is that he is the uncle of film director Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, and is the great-uncle of Nicolas Cage and Sofia Coppola.
Tickets for this master class are free for Opera Tampa season subscribers and $15 for nonsubscribers. Tickets may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at www.strazcenter.org.