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Ermonela Jaho

Idioma disponible: inglés
Soprano Ermonela Jaho is among Albania's most prominent musical artists. She has made several recordings of obscure operatic repertory for the Opera Rara label. Jaho was born in Albania in 1974 and moved to the capital of Tirana with her family when she was two. Her mother was a frustrated opera singer who had successfully applied to the Tirana Conservatory but had been forbidden to study music by her family. Jaho took up singing at six and was encouraged by her father, a member of the Albanian military, as well as by her mother. She studied at the Jordan Misja Artistic Lyceum in Tirana, graduating in 1992. The following year, she entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. While there, she took a master class with Italian soprano Katia Ricciarelli, who invited her to study in Italy for two months. Desperate to escape still-Communist Albania, where singing in languages other than Albanian was strongly discouraged, Jaho stayed on in Italy, financing her education at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome by working as an au pair and living in a low-cost hostel operated by nuns. She made her debut in a production of Puccini's La bohème in Bologna, Italy. Jaho's career took off after wins at the Giacomo Puccini Competition in Milan, Italy, in 1997, the Spontini International Competition in Ancona, Italy, in 1998, and after being named Best Singer at the Wexford Festival in Britain in 2000. In 2003, she made her recording debut with an appearance on the album Una furtiva lagrima: Donizetti and Bellini Arias by tenor Juan Diego Flórez. Her initial success in Bologna led her to move to that city, and there, she reconnected with childhood friend Ervin Stafa, who had emigrated to New York. The two married, and Jaho moved there as well. She has appeared at major opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, the Staatsoper in Berlin, and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Jaho was trained in the bel canto tradition but has also sung many verismo operas. Her first starring role on recordings came in 2016 in Leoncavallo's Zazà on the Opera Rara label, which specializes in unusual operatic repertory. Jaho made several more appearances on Opera Rara, including one in a production of Puccini's early opera Le Willis. In 2023, she moved to the Warner Classics label for a recording of Puccini's Turandot with the Orchestra dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia conducted by Antonio Pappano; she played the slave girl Liù.
© James Manheim /TiVo
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