Jerold Siena is a tenor of international acclaim who has appeared regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, and the world's leading opera houses, including Lyric Opera of Chicago, La Monnaie in Brussels, The Bayerische Staatsoper, Rome Opera, New York City Opera and Teatro di San Carlo of Naples. He has appeared under such conductors as James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Andre Previn, Seiji Ozawa, Zubin Mehta, Robert Shaw, James Conlon, George Szell, and Erich Leinsdorf. Stage directors with whom Professor Siena has collaborated include Franco Zeffirelli, Harold Prince, Jonathan Miller, Frank Corsaro and Jean-Pierre Ponnelle. In concert and oratorio he has appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Oratorio Society of New York, the Bach Festivals of Carmel, Bethlehem and Baldwin Wallace and with the National Symphony of Washington. He has performed over 30 different recital programs and has sung important premiers of works by Benjamin Britten, Ned Rorem and Dominick Argento.
Before coming to the University of Illinois, Professor Siena held professorships at the University of Arizona and the Yale School of Music. Professor Siena is recognized internationally as a master teacher who teaches each summer in Salzburg, Austria and Urbania, Italy. He is much in demand for master classes, which he has presented for the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, the American Opera Center of Chicago Lyric Opera and Westminster Choir College. Several of his students appear regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and major opera and concert venues around the world. Professor Siena is a 2004 recipient of a College of Fine and Applied Arts Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Most recently, he participated as a Master Teacher in the national NATS Internship Program held at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
As an operatic stage director, Professor Siena has a long list of productions to his credit: For Arizona Opera he directed productions of “La Traviata”, “The Love for Three Oranges,” and “Lohengrin. “For the University of Arizona Opera Program “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and the World Premier of Thomas Pasatieri’s “Maria Elena” in which he also sang the principal tenor role. This production won glowing reviews from Opera News.
For Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd College) he did three productions: Benjamin Britten’s “Burning Fiery Furnace” and “Curlew River’, as well as Handel’s “Acis and Galatea”.
At Yale University Siena directed Britten’s “Rape of Lucretia”, and a program of operatic scenes for Yale’s Norfolk Festival. He has also done productions of “Il Tabarro” and “The Old Maid and the Thief” for his opera workshop in Westchester, New York.
For the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program Professor Siena has directed scenes from “Lohengrin,” “Carmen” and “Don Carlo.” More recently he directed “L’Elisir d’Amore” for the Pacific Opera Institute and the Bear Valley Music Festival.
Here at the University of Illinois Jerold Siena completely revamped the opera training program, creating the Opera Studio, which is now in the able hands of Professors Herrera and Harris. In addition to his staging of Hugo Wolf’s “Italienisches Liederbuch” professor Siena is remembered for his recent production of “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, his moving production of “Madama Butterfly” and the “Jerry Hadley Memorial Concert” which he conceived and directed, conducted by Eduardo Diazmunoz, with the participation of Siena’s operatic colleagues, Frederica von Stade, Elizabeth Futral, Thomas Hampson, Samuel Ramey and Richard Leech.
How do you get from Champaign/Urbana to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera? The old joke says: "practice, man, practice!" I believe that serious vocal study demands an understanding of all the elements and influences that are contained in the music that we sing. The first element is, of course, a flawless vocal technique, one that insures vocal health, longevity, and the ability to express the most subtle and also the most dramatic meanings of a song or aria. Each piece contains within it not only the notes on the page, but the meaning behind the music, within its proper historical and stylistic context and expressed with idiomatic diction and a complete understanding of the text and/or operatic character portrayed. Our goal is ultimately a performance in which the singer seems to have written the music himself, a spontaneous outpouring of soul and intellect which inspires audience members to a new awareness of their humanity and their place in the world.