Wisconsin Governor Declares Maestro Joseph Rescigno Day Across the State
Governor Scott Walker and Secretary of State Douglas La Follette have issued a state-wide proclamation in honor of the Maestro's 35-year tenure with the Florentine Opera, the nations 6th oldest opera company.
Governor Walker's proclamation states "I, Scott Walker, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, do hereby proclaim Thursday, May 4, 2017 as Maestro Joseph Rescigno Day across the State of Wisconsin".
This spring, Joseph Rescigno is celebrating his 35th anniversary with the Florentine Opera. He is now the longest-serving principal conductor of any company in the United States, with the retirement last year of James Levine from the Metropolitan Opera.
A native of New York City, Rescigno was tapped to guest-conduct a production of La Gioconda in 1981. The Florentine General Director at the time, John Gage, originally wanted Rescigno's uncle, Nicola Rescigno, to conduct the production. The elder Rescigno, who was a founder of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Dallas Opera, was busy with another engagement. He recommended his nephew for the production-and the rest, as they say, is history.
"I had a wonderful time doing that production in the spring of '81, and in August, they called me and offered me the principal conductor position, where I've been ever since," said Rescigno. This spring, he's celebrating his 35th anniversary with the Florentine Opera. He is now the longest-serving principal conductor of any company in the United States, with the retirement last year of James Levine from the Metropolitan Opera. Rescigno said he has welcomed the ability to lend his artistic vision to the company, and collaborate with the three general directors during his more than three-decade tenure. "When I first joined the company, and John Gage was the general director, we did a lot of Italian and French operas, what you'd consider the traditional repertoire.
With Dennis Hanthorn, we branched out in to doing more Wagner and Strauss. And with the arrival of Bill Florescu, the emphasis has been on doing contemporary works, in addition to other repertoire. I think that's a healthy sign, that the company continues to evolve," said Rescigno. Rescigno said the variety of works produced by the Florentine has kept him interested, and wanting to come back season after season."I said when I started that we should try to have one out of the three mainstage productions be something new to Milwaukee," he said. "And all of the general directors have believed in a balance of works between the very popular, and something that Milwaukee wasn't as used to seeing."He says his favorite Florentine Opera productions that he has conducted include Elektra in 1994, Tristan and Isolde in 2004, and The Flying Dutchman in 2014.
The Florentine Opera Company's productions reflect the highest musical and theatrical standards, while supporting community and educational programs. As a leader in Wisconsin's art community and the nation's sixth-oldest opera company, the Florentine Opera seeks to establish a significant presence in the cultural, educational and civic life of the state of Wisconsin and beyond. Audiences enjoy beautiful main stage productions as well as dozens of free and community based performances that include first-rate vocal artistry brought to life by established and emerging international, national and local opera stars.
With a foundation of fiscal responsibility, the company continues to grow its artistic and educational programs. Through its outreach and in-school educational programming, the Florentine provides vital arts education experiences for children, nurtures new audiences, and expands cultural horizons for the next generation. The Florentine Opera is a cornerstone member organization of the United Performing Arts Fund and receives funds from Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin (with support from the National Endowment for the Arts), as well as corporations, foundations and individuals. The Florentine Opera Company is an organizational member of OPERA America.