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Transsexual opera singer Emily De Salvo does male baritones & female sopranos

Updated: 22 Feb 2010
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Gender change: Stefano De Salvo has not yet had the full sex-change operation but has changed his name to Emily

 

When transsexual opera singer Emily De Salvo first applied to one of Italy’s most prestigious music schools, he was rejected as the board was unsure whether to place him among the male or female singers.

 

This week, after three years’ studying with baritone Maurizio Picconi and soprano Amelia Felle, the 29-year-old has won a place at Bari’s Tito Schipa Conservatory after changing his voice.

 

De Salvo, formerly Stefano, who has yet to make his gender change complete with surgery, convinced the jury he can handle both sides of the opera spectrum - from male baritones to female sopranos.

 

The singer believes he has an unusual voice which could help him to claim a niche in opera buffa.

 

‘I’ve been exploring the Baroque repertoire with Felle, exercising my strengthened falsetto,’ he said.

 

‘With Picconi, on the other hand, I’ve been broadening my baritone chords.

 

‘My vocal range is perfect for opera buffa like Donizetti or Rossini,’ he added, stressing how proud he was to be the first transsexual to claim a conservatory spot.

 

De Salvo, whose legal name is still Stefano, also thanked Felle for taking his side at his second audition before the entrance panel.

 

‘She defended me against those who didn’t want me,’ he said.

 

And he thanked a well-known local transgender musician who accompanied him on the piano during his successful recital of the Handel aria ‘Ombra mai fu’ in September.

 

‘I couldn’t have done it without my close friend Luana Ricci,’ who as Marco Della Gatta claimed headlines when he was sacked as Bari Cathedral organist last year.

 

‘She was exceptional,’ he added.

 

SOURCE: www.dailymail.co.uk

 

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