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Jess Crawford


PDX OPERAbeat | A Company Blog is the blog for all things Portland Opera, featuring a variety of guest contributors who will provide insider's tidbits on all we do to celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera. Jess Crawford is our primary blogger. Jess spends much of her time eating enormous amounts of cake, making long lists of books she'll probably never read, and challenging people to arm-wrestling contests. During the day (and sometimes at night) she is Portland Opera's music librarian. She writes more about her escapades at her personal blog:
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Meet the Staff (sort of): Francesco Milioto, Interim Chorusmaster & Assistant Conductor

This week I bring you a little interview with our most recent chorusmaster/assistant conductor candidate, Francesco Milioto. I was curious about what it's like to come in and have what essentially amounts to a month-long audition. Francesco was great to work with, and I appreciate the time he took to answer my questions.



Where are you from?

Born in Toronto, Ontario CANADA but I now live in Chicago.


What's your background? Where did you go to school, and what did you study?

My background, Sicilian.  Started playing piano at 6 or 7. Came home from school and my father had bought me an upright piano and put it in my bedroom. I never asked to play an instrument, never played one. He had already signed me up for lessons. I guess it worked out. I went to the University of Western Ontario for my undergrad in piano performance where I studied with Ron Turini, a former pupil of Horowitz. Then for a Masters in Orchestral Conducting and Opera repetition at the University of McGill in Montreal.


You came to join us mid-season, and were thrown right in. You didn't meet the Tosca chorus until the first rehearsal, and then hit the ground running with chorus rehearsals, staging rehearsals, artist coachings, previews, a recital. Can you tell me a little bit about this experience? What is it like? Is there a particularly unique challenge to this situation, or is it pretty much par for the course for anyone who guest conducts?

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