Pop Quiz
Fortunato ’67
Opera/Concert Singer
Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano D’Anna Fortunato has soloed with some of the top American symphonies, including the Philadelphia, Cleveland and Boston orchestras. She teaches voice at the New England Conservatory.
D'anna Fortunato portrait
Images: wikimedia commons
What opera best describes the progression of your career?
Two line of musical notes from Mozart's The Magic Flute
a. Mozart’s The Magic Flute
b. Verdi’s La traviata
c. Bizet’s Carmen
I believe in the humanistic philosophy of The Magic Flute. Mostly, my career has been on a “high note” with a lot of my joy of singing and sharing infused into it. Why perform if you do not communicate something, hopefully of value, to audiences?
Which opera legend do you most admire — and why?
a. Leontyne Price
b. Roberta Peters
c. Renée Fleming
All three for mostly the same reasons. Each lady had/has a glorious instrument. They also worked hard at their craft and were wonderfully charismatic performers who have thrilled and inspired me over the years.
3. When you flip back through your Bucknell yearbook, what comes to mind?
a. I’m glad mini-skirts have gone out of style.
b. Using orange juice cans for curlers was not a good idea.
c. Both of the above.
4. Who should you portray in an opera, and why?
Birgit Nilsson as Lady Macbeth
a. Lady Macbeth
Emmy Destinn as Tosca
b. Tosca
Joan of Arc in painting
c. Joan of Arc
I love heroic, forceful women, and Joan followed her vision and commitment to the end. I have always been influenced by strong women who showed compassion and yet great strength. So often in opera, the soprano leading ladies often come off as damsels in distress. It has been much more engaging for me as a mezzo to present a character who is strong willed and has a lot of dramatic potential written into the libretto.
You often present a lecture-recital about classical women composers to college audiences. Please tell us who your favorite is and why.
I have recently been presenting programs that center on composer Amy Beach. Last year was the sesquicentennial of her birth, and there is much to celebrate in her career and compositions. I was honored to be the first singer to produce a CD of her vocal music, which won many awards and has been one of the centerpieces of my career.
What’s a Bucknell musical memory you share with your students today?
I tell them that Bucknell gave me singing opportunities that you cannot find in most other colleges. I know of no other school that would allow a freshman to sing a leading role in a short baroque opera or a sophomore to sing the alto solos in Handel’s Messiah with full orchestra and chorus. I’m still grateful for the faith Bucknell showed in me!
" "
“Bucknell gave me singing opportunities that you cannot find in most other colleges.”