William Florescu

William Florescu became the General Director of Milwaukee's Florentine Opera Company in May of 2005. During his tenure, he has overseen the expansion of the Company's repertoire, producing works including the Florentine's first Bellini opera (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), first Baroque opera (Handel's Semele), the Midwest premiere and recording on the Naxos label of Aldridge's (2 time winner, and three time nominee for the 2012 Grammy Awards) Elmer Gantry and a world premiere of Don Davis's Río de Sangre (October 2010). The Florentine production of Rio was also released commercially on the Albany Records label. He has also directed main stage operas including The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, Rigoletto, a double bill of Blow's Venus and Adonis and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas as well as touring education operas by nationally renowned arts educator John Davies, including Little Red's Most Unusual Day, The Three Little Pigs, Pinocchio (which was televised by Milwaukee Public Television in April of 2009), Jack and the Beanstalk and, most recently The Billy Goats Gruff . In October of 2008, Mr. Florescu oversaw the creation of the Florentine Opera Studio, a nine-month program for young professional singers, which is in its fourth year for the Florentine's 2011-2012 season.

From 1999 until early 2005, he was the General Director of Lake George Opera (now Opera Saratoga) in Saratoga Springs, New York. Previously, he served as General Director of the Columbus Light Opera. While in Ohio, he was also Associate Dean and Director of Opera/Musical Theatre at the Capital University Conservatory of Music, and served a season as Assistant Artistic Director for Iowa's Dorian Opera Theatre.

Opera audiences around the country have seen his work as a stage director, most recently for Augusta Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Nashville Opera, Opera Columbus and Opera Birmingham. On the operatic stage, he has appeared in leading and supporting roles with Opera Columbus, Columbus Light Opera, Iowa's Dorian Opera, Toledo Opera, National Opera Company and the Whitewater Opera, among others. On the concert stage, he has sung with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, the Indianapolis Summer Pops and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

He has presented master classes for Westminster Choir College , Peabody Institute, Capital University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Lake George Opera. He is also a frequent judge of vocal competitions, most recently for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, The Eastman School of Music, The Montreal International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition, and Fort Worth Opera's McCammon Vocal Competition.

Mr. Florescu has served on the Opera Review Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts, and has served as an on site reporter for the Endowment. He serves on the Strategic Planning Committee as well as the New Works Forum for Opera America, and in June, became a member of the Board of Directors. He also serves as a member of the Board of the Creative Coalition of Greater Milwaukee.

During the 2011-2012 season, he judged the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in various US cities, presented Master classes for the Classical Singer Convention, judged the McCammon Vocal Competition for Fort Worth Opera, and directed Carlisle Floyd's Susannah for the Florentine Opera. In addition, he produced, with Opera America, a singer Training Workshop in Milwaukee in March, 2012. He also maintains an active blog, The Opera Audition. In 2012-13, he will direct a new production of Britten's Albert Herring for the Florentine, celebrating the composers' 100th birthday.

Mr. Florescu received his training at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Trinity College of Music in London, England, Miami University and the Ohio State University.