As a performer
Virginia Grasso, a native New Yorker, has been performing since the age of 13. She won her first vocal award at the age of 17 and went on to win seven more.
As a principal artist with the New York City Opera for 8 years, Virginia debuted as the soprano soloist in Orff's "Carmina Burana" and performed such demanding roles as Violetta in "La Traviata," and Donna Anna in "Don Giovanni." She made her European debut in Malaga, Spain singing Bellini's "Norma" to much critical and public acclaim. In 1996, she sang Violetta in the first-ever live telecast from the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Norma and Violetta became Virginia's signature roles. Praised for her bel canto style, Virginia has also excelled in such roles as Alaida in "La Straniera," Elizabetta in "Roberto Devereux" and Lucia in "Lucia di Lammermoor." Roles she performed earlier in her career include Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni," Gilda in "Rigoletto," Musetta in "La Boheme," Micaela in "Carmen," Lauretta in "Gianni Schicchi," Adele in "Der Fledermaus" and Susanna in "Le Nozze di Figaro," and others.
In addition, Virginia has also been a principal artist with The San Francisco Opera; Washington Opera; Teatro Sao Carlo, Lisbon; Grand Theatre of Geneva; Cape Town Opera, South Africa; Alfredo Kraus Theatre, Canary Islands; Teatro Colon, Bogota; Teatro Cervantes, Spain; Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan; Fort Worth Opera, Texas; Gold Coast Opera, Florida; The Sinaloa Festival, Mexico; Opera Orchestra of New York and the NYCO National Tour.
Virginia excelled as a soloist in many concerts and oratorio performances on such stages as The Teatro Rossini in Pesaro, Italy; Palau de la Musica in Barcelona; Casa Verdi in Milan; Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall in New York City; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Bruno Walter Recital Hall; Donnell Library Series; and in concerts with The New Jersey Symphony, Haifa Symphony, The Grace Choral Society, The Collegiate Chorale, The Berkshire Festival, and The Brooklyn Philharmonic, - performing works of Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Haydn, Honegger, Mozart, Poulenc, Schubert, Vivaldi, and others.
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ACCLAIM AS NORMA
"...beautiful, powerful, but at the same time velvety smooth and flexible voice, which is capable of not only dramatic fortes, but also sweet sounding pianissimos. Whether she sings continuous notes onto which a crescendo is turned into a decrescendo or an ensemble with rapid bursts of lengthy legato phrases - she is capable of employing the technique to execute everything with apparent ease while her acting is at the same time totally credible in highly dramatic scenes. She sings the well known "Casta diva" beautifully in true bel canto style." - Die Burger, Cape Town, South Africa
"Virginia Grasso convincingly met the challenges of the role, surpassing herself at each moment, splendid in the dramatic scenes of the second act as well as the duets with Pollione and Adalgisa. In the "Casta diva" (and how difficult to sing this cavatina cold!) she sang with sentiment, and breath to spare throughout the long legato phrases." - Manuel del Campo, Diario Sur, Málaga, Spain
GRASSO TRIUMPHS AS TRAVIATA'S VIOLETTA
"...the exquisite soprano of Virginia Grasso in the role of Violetta. Grasso's opulent sound - round and strong, yet amazingly flexible for such a big voice - was enough to carry the production all by itself. Her "Ah, fors'e lui" and "Sempre libera" in Act I were brilliant, every roulade accurate, every ornamented phrase meticulous - and the ringing sustained high E flat at the aria's end was thrilling. In the last act, the sheer beauty of her voice in "Addio del passato" could wring tears from a stone. And later on her death bed, an angelic quality suffused the aria "Prendi, quest'e l'immagine" as the dying Violetta generously bids Alfredo to marry a pure young virgin after she is gone. But undeniably, what raised this Traviata to its emotionally affective level was the vocal beauty and subtle interpretation of the tragic figure of Violetta Valery by soprano Virginia Grasso." - Florence Fisher, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sarasota, Florida
SOPRANO SOLOIST IN CARMINA BURANA
"The performances by the principal singers Virginia Grasso and John Hancock...are particularly impressive. Both singers are talented actors with powerful voices." - David J. Levin, Kurt Weill Newsletter
"In the current production, the music,under conductor Imre Pallo, and sung magnificently by Virginia Grasso, soars musically..." - Larry S. Ledford, New Jersey Press Journal
AS DONNA ANNA IN DON GIOVANNI
"Virginia Grasso as Donna Anna projected vibrantly and sang with nobility." - Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
"The women on stage in this Harold Prince production were all impeccable, from the energized Donna Anna of Virginia Grasso... The timbre and dark color of the voices of Grasso and... lyric-dramatic sopranos, were tender on the ear." - Franco Borrelli, Oggi 7, New York City