23rd-25th June 2018: 1st Opera singing international competition in Penne, Italy

The Auditorium San Giovanni in Penne, Abruzzo, Italy

My mentor, in Opera matter, Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and my beloved fraternal friend, Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini were invited by Maestro Michela De Amicis to participate in the jury of the 1st Opera singing international competition of Penne, which took place from 23rd to 25th June 2018 in this lovely little town of Abruzzo, near Pescara on the Adriatic Coast.

Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, Maestro Michela de Amicis, Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini and Maestro Piergiorgio Del Nunzio

The participants came from allover the world, from Mexico to Japan, China and Italy. In the meantime, other classical music competitions involved young talents from Russia and other countries, among which…. Cambodia !

Posing with the six finalists of the competition

We were received by dynamic and cheerful Professor Lidia Dutillo, President of Le Muse Music School, who accompanied us to a lovely little cottage, Villa Emma, where the owners, Stefania and Giancarlo Delle Monache took care of us the way only Italians can do: with charm, discretion and warmth, and above all, an unforgettable breakfast, made of the utmost fresh products of the surrounding countryside.

At Villa Emma, His Highness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong with Stefania and Giancarlo Delle Monache, the owners, Maestro Michela de Amicis and Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini

On the first evening, Maestro Michela De Amicis, together with her two friends, Maestro Rosella Masciarelli and Maestro Angela Petaccia, brought us a marvellous gift: A concert with their six hands, entitled “Trio pianiste all’Opera”, three fantasies inspired by “Rigoletto”, “Traviata” and many Puccini’s Opera Arias. I was in heaven…. We ended up to have dinner together and as I was telling my admiration, Maestro Rosella Masciarelli held me their CD: such a special moment !

From left to right: Professor Lidia Dutillo, Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, Maestro Rosella Masciarelli, Maestro Angela Petaccia, Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini. Seated: Maestro Michela de Amicis and His Higness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong

The jury of the Opera competition was presided by Maestro Leone Magiera, best friend of late world wide famous Luciano Pavarotti, and I had the occasion to meet with him and his very nice wife, Dottoressa Lidia La Marca as well as energetic and smiling Soprano Patrizia Orciani, accompanied by handsome tenor Carlo Baricelli. Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini and Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini completed with their respective competences this pannel of the highest level. The singers were accompanied all along the competition by young and talented Maestro Piergiorgio Del Nunzio.

The Opera jury: Maestro Carlo Baricelli, Maestro Patrizia Orciani, Maestro Leone Magiera, Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini

The three Opera singers who robbed my heart (and were selected as well by the jury) were Mariana Valdés from Mexico, Mae Hayashi from Yokohama and Ruiyang Xu from China. Not only were they exceptional voices, with a variety of colours and sensual shades, but they are three marvellously beautiful ladies. We all fell under their charms !

His Highness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong with the adorable Mariana Valdés and the gorgeous Mae Hayashi, the two winners of the first Prize
With beautiful Ruiyang Xu, the winner of the third Prize

At the final evening, I was granted the pleasure to meet with 17 year-old Cambodian violonist, Sokhema Di Croce, originally from Battambang and who was adopted by her Roman parents when she was only 11 months. I was raptured by the power of her interpretation and I hope to re-meet her very soon in Rome. Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini already promised her to organise a concert at Ariadimusica, in which she will be able to show her great talents.

From left to right: Mr. and Mrs. Di Croce, Maestro Gianni Maria Ferrini, Sokhema Di Croce, His Higness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong, Maestro Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini



After the gala concert, we got together with the “Happy Few” and had a funny and relaxing dinner in a place called “il Chicco Verde” and finished with a delicious ice-cream at “La Regina”, property of Signora Irma where my friends, Maestro Sacha De Ritis and his student, Mattia Carugno explained to me some tricks to play their favourite instrument: the traverse flute.

Mattia Carugno, His Highness Prince Sisowath Ravivaddhana Monipong, Maestro Sacha De Ritis