Francisco Casanova (1957-2019) went on to obtain international success in 1996 when he replaced Luciano Pavarotti in a concert with the New York Philharmonic and went on to make his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2001. He performed 39 times with the company including a highly praised revival of “I Vespri Sicilianni,” and productions of “Tosca” and “Il Trovatore.”He also performed at the Wiener Staatsoper, Berlin State Opera, Teatro Alla Scala, Rome Opera Theater, Arena di Verona, the Concertgebuow (Amsterdam); the Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova, the ABAO theatre of Bilbao, The Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires, The Opera of Tel-Aviv, Teatro Massimo, Opera Orchestra of New York, and Carnegie Hall, among others. In total, he went onto sing 56 leading tenor roles including 22 by Giuseppe Verdi.Casanova went on to receive such distinguished awards as the Beniamino Gigli d’Oro 2004 (Recanati) and the Beniamino Gigli d”Oro (Helsinki 2007) becoming the first non-Italian singer ever to receive this award. He also won Singer of the Year 2002 by the Berlin Opera, The First Grand Prize for Male Voices of the 28th Edition of the Francisco Viñas Singing Competition, as well as the Special Prize La Traviata (Barcelona 1990), the Second Prize for Male Voices of the Bilbao III Singing Competition (Bilbao 1990). He was also a National Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera Guild Singing Competition in 1989.
Elena Greco (Elena Greco Multimedia Production)
"What an inspiring concert I saw tonight! “In Memory of Francisco” was a tribute to the great tenor Francisco Casanova. I studied with him for a time, and I miss this wonderful man who had such a sunny presence and the most beautiful vocal instrument I have ever heard live. The concert, presented by Matthew Laifer Artists Management and Grandi Voci Concert Agency, showcased Matthew Laifer’s singers, including one of Francisco’s students, as well as other talented singers, some of whom had known and worked with Francisco. It turns out that Mr. Laifer was an old friend of his who loved him very much, and this concert was his way of honoring Francisco. I'm very grateful to Mr. Laifer and to Natasha Novitskaia Adams for presenting this stunning concert. All of the personnel performed for free, giving their time and talent in honor of Francisco. The singing was brilliant and the pianists were stellar. A couple of the singers were truly striking and I’m certain they have big careers in their future, and several are already enjoying major success at the very top of the profession. The audience enjoyed two and half hours of beautiful solos and five ensembles. Producing a concert of this scale couldn’t have been easy! When soprano Brianne Roney sang “Vissi d’arte,” I welled up as I thought how proud Francisco would have been of his former student tonight, and I felt his presence for a moment as the tears flowed. I was not the only one who wept when a video of Francisco singing was played at the end of the show. It was a wonderful finish to the evening, bringing us together with Francisco and enjoying being with him one last time. ----- Thank you again for a beautiful concert, Natasha!"