Bio: Franco Vassallo is a native of Milan where at a very early age he discovered his great enthusiasm for Opera and Classical music.
His unusual singing talent was spotted by a teacher at school who heard him singing in the corridors. The teacher was able to introduce him to his father, the baritone Carlo Meliciani , who had studied singing with the great Carlo Tagliabue and who then became Vassallo’s teacher. Meliciani encouraged him to attend the Civic School of Music in Milan (which is nowadays dedicated to the memory of Claudio Abbado).
Vassallo understood that a developed artist must have broad interests, so later he devoted himself to the study of Literature and Philosophy at the State University of Milan. He was also aware of how very important is the dramatic structure of Opera and how much acting skills can contribute to the intensity of the art form. Accordingly he devoted much time to the study of Stanislavski’s Method.
His singing career really took off in 1994 when he won the international singing competition ‘As. Li. Co’ in Milan.
In 1997 he won the competition for the Verona Arena to sing Ford alongside Renato Bruson in Verdi’s Falstaff.
These performances quickly led on to an outstanding success in the title role in Rossini’s Barber of Seville. For a number of years Vassallo was the performer of choice in that role almost everywhere.
In the following years he specialised in the bel canto roles of Donizetti and Bellini that took him to la Scala Milan, the Staatsoper Vienna, and the Metropolitan Opera New York.
He performed under the baton of such maestri as Riccardo Chailly, Daniele Gatti, Valery Gergiev, Daniel Harding, James Levine, Nello Santi, Jeffrey Tate, James Conlon, Fabio Luisi, Daniel Oren, Anton Guadagno, Marco Armiliato, Marcello Viotti, Michele Mariotti, and Gianandrea Noseda.
He worked as well with great directors as Robert Carsen, David McVicar, Hugo De Ana, Gianfranco De Bosio, Giancarlo Del Monaco, Claus Guth, Denis Krief, Christof Loy, Ermanno Olmi, Pierluigi Pizzi, Toni Servillo, Bartlett Sher, Ferruccio Soleri, Graham Vick, and Franco Zeffirelli.
In his more mature years Vassallo has stayed true to his belcanto roots while developing his career as an interpreter of the great Verdi baritone roles which include Simon Boccanegra, Attila, Un Ballo in Maschera, Don Carlo, Rigoletto, Macbeth, Nabucco, Otello, Il Trovatore and La Forza del Destino, with performances in all the great Opera Houses of the world.
The last two seasons have been characterized by important debuts: Verdi's Luisa Miller and Le Trouvére at the Teatro Regio in Parma, Donizetti's Requiem and Bellini's Pirata.
Vassallo has also approached for the first time the pre-verist and verist repertoire by successfully tackling Puccini‘s leading roles of Scarpiain in Hamburg Staatsoper‘s Tosca and Michele in the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino‘s Tabarro as well as at Barnaba in Ponchielli‘s La Gioconda at La Monnaie in Brussels.
Franco Vassallo happens to be the last descendant of the Marquis of Brignano in Tortona and as such he was recently invested as Knight of Justice in the Spanish noblemen’s association “Capitulo Noble de Fernando VI“, and as Royal Guard of His Royal Highness the Duke of Braganza, the Pretender to the throne of Portugal.